“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He said to wear a brown tie.” – Rodney Dangerfield
It seems like everywhere we turn, we are exposed to yet another onslaught of what society considers a new trend in beauty. It is a constant struggle to try to keep up with the ever-changing beauty requirements imposed upon us. Whether we are flipping through our favorite magazines or watching our favorite celebrities on the screen, we are constantly surrounded by beautiful people. And while we may not all be able to be tall, svelte human beings, there is one thing that is possible to attain for even the commonest of folk: a gorgeous mouth full of white teeth.
Now I know what you’re thinking…”My teeth are FAR from being pearly white! What can I do to have one of those fantastic celebrity smiles?” As we all know, proper dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist will always help, but is there anything else we can do to keep our ivories sparkling? The answer is yes. Take a quick look at your diet.
There are a couple of reasons that the food or drinks we consume tend to tinge our teeth a bit. Some foods and/or drinks are naturally a darker color, while others have a lot of acidity. And it’s these acids that start to wear down the enamel in our teeth so much that the dentin (which is a slightly yellower layer of our teeth) begins to show through. The more enamel you lose throughout your life, the yellower your teeth will become. Let’s take a look at some of these dental culprits:
First, we’ll start with the drinks. Because our teeth are very porous, it is easy for things to begin to change their hue. The darker the drink, the worse the stain so drinks like coffees, teas and red wines are always going to be somewhat rough on your teeth. In fact, even dark fruit juices can have a staining effect. On the other hand, carbonated drinks aren’t your friends either. Not only can dark sodas stain your teeth, but the acidity in them will start to erode your teeth enamel, exposing the dentin quicker than you’d like. Soda is definitely bringing two pistols to the gunfight.
When it comes to foods or spices, the rule of thumb is pretty easy. If it stains your mouth when you eat it, or your carpet when you spill it (think popsicles or spicy anything), it will stain your teeth. Dark sauces, like balsamic vinegars or curries, will leave remnants. Even healthy fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, blueberries and beets, all contribute to the discoloring of your teeth. The point is not to knock these delicious foods completely out of your diet; just keep in mind that they are all part of the problem and take some preventative measures upon consumption.
So, now that we know which kinds of foods are slowly changing the color of our smiles, what can we do to help deflect their influences? I know first reaction is to grab a toothbrush after you partake in one of these tarnishing foods, but make sure you wait an hour so you give your weakened enamel a chance to harden again. A surprising protector of your pearly whites is lettuce. For one magical reason or another, leafy veggies leave a protective film over your teeth that actually helps prevent staining altogether. But if you don’t have any salad hanging around, taking a gulp of water or popping in a piece of stevia-based gum afterwards will also help cleanse your teeth so the stains don’t have a chance. The more saliva you have in your mouth, the cleaner your teeth will remain.
If you are looking for a brighter whiter smile, call Riverside dentist Dr. Gerald Middleton at (951) 688-3442 for more information on teeth whitening. Visit the website at www.gmdental.com.