Stained teeth can get in the way of a great smile. Truth is, what people eat and drink has a big impact on the whiteness of their teeth. Although some foods and drinks stain teeth, others can help keep a smile bright.
Anything that leaves a mark on hands or clothes can also stain teeth. Some favorites may be on this list including coffee, tea, soda, red and white wine, grape or cranberry juice, blueberries, beets, soy sauce and tomato sauce.
People can still enjoy these foods, but it’s a good idea to brush or rinse their mouth thoroughly afterwards.
Surprise; some common fruits and vegetables scrub teeth gently while people chew them. They also help make saliva, which counteracts acid and cleans a mouth. Stain-preventing fruits and vegetables include apples, carrots, celery and cauliflower. Hard cheeses also give teeth a scrub.
Other ways to keep teeth white are drink with a straw. When drinking soda, juice, or iced coffee or tea, using a straw helps keep the liquid away from the visible front surfaces of teeth.
Brush, floss and rinse. Plaque makes teeth sticky and gives stains something to hold on to. Brush twice daily, floss and use an antibacterial mouth rinse twice a day, that will help fight plaque, making teeth less likely to stain.
Get teeth professionally cleaned. At least twice a year, go to a dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning. Clean teeth look brighter. Don’t smoke. Whether people chew it or smoke it, tobacco stains teeth.
When to whiten
Still seeing stains? There are other options. Bleaching can be a good way to brighten teeth. Tooth whitening works well on teeth that are yellow, but teeth that are brown or gray often have problems that bleach can’t fix.
And while people can re-whiten if stains return, overdoing it can permanently damage the outer surface of your teeth, called enamel. Read the label and use the products correctly.
Talk with a dentist to find out if tooth whitening is a good idea. If so, the following options to choose from. At-home whitening kits can be purchased at a local drugstore. Keep in mind that teeth may become sensitive, a side effect that usually goes away after the bleaching period is over. If gums become irritated, talk with a dentist.
Some toothpastes and mouth rinses help whiten teeth. Follow the instructions on the label. Some people develop sensitive teeth if they use whitening toothpastes.
If people have their teeth bleached at a dentist’s office, it may take one or more visits. The dentist will put a protective gel or rubber shield on the gums and then apply a bleaching agent to teeth. They may use lasers or lights to enhance the whitening process.
Proper tooth care can help keep teeth bright. So eat, drink, be merry and brush teeth regularly.