The Worst and Best Foods for Whiter Teeth

Keep your new smile sparkling white!

roy_orthodontics_faqs-1-e1433537419625Coffee, tea, wine, berries. All of these are foods and drinks that we love, but did you know that these foods can damage your perfect smile?

Studies have shown that people with whiter teeth are perceived as more competent, more satisfied in relationships, and more psychologically rounded. Whether these are true or not is unimportant. What matters is that having white teeth affects how your peers perceive you.

So how do you keep your teeth in prime condition without having to schedule a cleaning every week? Whitening kits are expensive, and sometimes contain chemicals that can potentially damage your teeth if left on for too long. It’s much easier, not to mention cheaper, to attack the problem at its root by controlling the types of food entering your body!

Foods to Avoid

Although the old adage that “sugar will rot your teeth” is not strictly true, it is a fact that sugar will stain your teeth, and possibly cause other dental health problems. As a rule of thumb, foods in this category are either high in sugar content, have dark juices, or are acidic.

  • Berries – Berries are delicious and have many purported health benefits, but they are one of the worst foods for staining. The dark colors stain fabric and teeth. Below are some berries you should avoid:
    • Cherries
    • Blueberries
    • Blackberries
    • Grapes
    • Pomegranates
  • Sweets – Candies like caramel and gummies taste great, and are of limited damage to your health in moderation. Unfortunately, if you want to keep your teeth as white as possible, then you should cut out sweets entirely. The sugar in sweets attaches to the enamel of your teeth, and cause discoloration even with brushing.
  • Citrus and Acidic Foods – If you’ve ever noticed yellow portions on your teeth, then citrus might be to blame. Fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can expose the dentin (yellow portion of the teeth under enamel) due to their high acid content. In a similar vein, watch out for tomatoes

Drinks to Avoid

The same rules apply for drinks to avoid. If you have any doubt, then just think about whether it would stain cloth. If so, then it’s a drink to avoid!

  • Coffee & Tea – Sorry caffeine junkies! These popular, naturally-caffeinated beverages contain chemicals called tannins which are very acidic and can dissolve enamel. Even worse, these tannins alter the pH balance of the mouth, causing food eaten afterward to cause even more damage!
  • Soda – If you were thinking about switching to soda to get your caffeine fix, think again! Even when sodas don’t contain sugar, they are still carbonated, and therefore have an acidic effect on your teeth.
  • Wine – You have probably heard that red wine can stain teeth, but did you know that white wine can be just as bad? It won’t stain your teeth in the same way that red wine does, but white wine is acidic and can erode enamel.

What to Eat Instead

So, now that you know that certain foods and drinks can have an adverse effect on dental health, you’re probably wondering if there are foods that have the opposite effect. That is to say, foods that are good for your teeth. You are correct in these assumptions! Read below to find out which foods can have a positive effect on your dental health and smile.

  • Strawberries – Although these fruits might seem dangerous to teeth with their bright red juices, strawberries contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener. Be prudent with flossing though! The tiny seeds on strawberries are prone to getting stuck between teeth.
  • High-Fiber Foods – Foods with a high fiber content, like leafy vegetables, are great for your dietary health and for your teeth! The excess saliva produced when chewing these tough foods helps to scrub teeth of excess food and loose plaque.
  • Water – It may seem obvious, but water is an often overlooked component of dental hygiene. Water cleans teeth of sugars and excess acids. In addition, most water in the United States contains fluoride, which is important for keeping teeth strong! For best results, try to gargle with water or mouthwash twice a day.
  • Sugar-Free Gum – Chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to increase saliva production, and therefore dissolve foreign material lodged on and around the teeth. Just make sure not to chew too much! Most sugar-free gums contain sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, which can have laxative properties in high doses.

Sources
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Authors: Kershaw S, Newton JT, Williams DM (Scholarly Article) Retrieved From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18297050
http://greatist.com Author: Alexandra Duron (Article) Retrieved From: http://greatist.com/grow/foods-that-stain-teeth

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