Research and our own experience suggests that other people notice our teeth when they first meet us. It only makes sense to want the best and brightest smile we can have in order to ace that all important first impression.
Professional teeth whitening produces incredible results fast. The multitude of over-the-counter teeth whitening products available are generally the “poor cousins” of professional procedures, less effective and taking longer to achieve results. Both take time and money and may be something we use occasionally but what can we do every day to keep our pearlies white?
As you know, whatever you put into your mouth comes in contact with your teeth. You may not be aware that your teeth are like little stain magnets, taking on stains from the food or drink swishing past them. Take tea for instance. Tea is considered a healthy drink, depending on what you put in it of course, but black tea will stain enamel and most teas are acidic and can eat away at your enamel if you are not a careful tea granny.
The secret to drinking tea is to pour yourself a cuppa, sit down and enjoy it, then move on. Don’t nurse it for hours, sipping at intervals even though it’s cold. Prolonged exposure is the problem with the “staining” beverages like tea, coffee, soft drinks, sports drinks and wine. It’s best to finish the cup (or glass or mug or bottle), rinse your mouth with big sip of water to get rid of the acid and residual liquid, and give your teeth a rest for a while. Unless you’re 2 years old you don’t need to have something in your mouth ALL the time.
If you are indulging in a carbonated beverage, juice or iced tea you might try drinking with a straw (lips to throat) and bypass your teeth altogether. A simple, effective solution that, BTW, does not work well with hot beverages. Straws are also thought to contribute to lip wrinkles and landfills so use in moderation or buy a reusable glass or stainless steel straw. Hmm….gift idea!
Many fruits and berries can create a rainbow of stains in your mouth. Blueberries, blackberries (free for the taking here on Vancouver Island), cherries, pomegranates (not free for the taking on VI) etc. can all stain your teeth. But since bright coloured fruits have lots of phytochemicals that are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals and fiber in whole foods to promote good health you should not cut them out of your diet but rinse and brush after eating to avoid stains (and floss to get rid of those darned blackberry seeds).
Italian tomato sauces, luscious Indian curries and soy sauce based Asian food can all stain your teeth but are oh-so-good you may want to throw caution to the wind. Indulge yourself and then brush after. It’s called the best of both worlds and you can have it with a little mindful eating and follow-up tooth brushing.
Eat! Rinse! Brush! Hey, we could do a t-shirt.
Ask Dr. Babin or your dental hygienist what your teeth really look like, on the inside where you can’t see them, and get an idea of what kind of job you’re doing avoiding stains and acid erosion. If you have an issue you now have some tools to combat food and drink stains. Contact Babin Dentistry for more information or to make an appointment.