Food Fight

coffeespill1-600Want to keep your teeth white? Watch what you eat.
By Colleen Oakley

It’s a fact of life: You do two things every day that stain and yellow your teeth–eat and drink. “Teeth are porous by nature, so they’re prone to hang on to the microscopic bits of food and beverage that come in contact with them,” says Peter Boulden, DMD, fellow of the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics and co-owner of Atlanta Dental Spa.

Barring a starvation diet, how can you keep our pearly whites, well, pearly white? “A good rule of thumb is, if it would stain a white t-shirt, it would probably stain your teeth,” says Boulden.
A lot of those foods are also good for you, so don’t avoid them altogether. Instead, consider these tips to help reduce their staining potential.

Wait before brushing.
After eating dark-colored, acidic foods like tomato sauces and fruits, you may be tempted to immediately pick up your toothbrush. Resist the urge. Some research suggests that the acids in foods may soften your enamel, and brushing immediately after eating them can cause more harm than good. Experts recommend waiting at least an hour before brushing.

Rinse off.
While you shouldn’t brush right away, rinse your mouth out with water immediately after an especially pigmented meal, or after sipping on red wine and coffee–two beverages notorious for staining teeth.

Use a straw.
The same tannins in tea that can help fight cancer can also stain your teeth, says Boulden. Drink through a straw to help keep the beverage away from your front teeth and avoid unsightly discoloring.

Skip sodas and sports drinks.
The acidic content of your favorite daily soft drink or beverages you have after exercising can erode the enamel of your teeth, making them even more prone to staining. It’s a double whammy for your choppers, Boulden says. Your best bet? Just stick with water.

From Magazine, March/Arpil 2013 issue.

Written by: | July 10, 2013

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