Eat Right–Keep Your Teeth White

Eat Right–Keep Your Teeth White

Eat right, keep your teeth white–Prevent stains and discolored teeth

It’s natural to want to look good. A bright smile is certainly part of that picture. Unfortunately many social gatherings present a staggering number of food and drink options that are contrary to maintaining a white smile. Learn these tips for white teeth, despite your social engagements.

Stop discoloring and staining. Load your arsenal now with a bag of tricks to help compensate. Choose carefully and you may stop or even prevent stains. In some cases you can reverse staining from indulgent social gatherings.

Know your foe

Understanding the most likely culprits at risk for causing staining to tooth enamel helps you make an informed decision on foods to avoid. You can bet that a food that stains carpeting or clothing will also stain porous enamel. Acidic foods, tomatoes for example, make enamel softer. Soft enamel stains more readily than dense, hard enamel.

Foods that stain include, wine (red and white) blackberries, pomegranates, cranberry juice, cola, plums, blueberries, curries, vinegars (particularly dark ones,) tomato and tomato based foods. Potentially any other dark colored food with staining powers will also leave stains on your teeth.

Indirect staining -vs- direct staining

Foods can stain teeth because of their pigment. Chemical reactions contribute to staining also. Some chemical reactions from food, softens or weakens enamel . Foods that stain teeth through some combo of deep pigments and corrosive action pose an even bigger risk.

Armor for your teeth

Not all “whitening” foods directly whiten teeth. A number of foods help whiten your smile by fortifying enamel. Enamel, the hardest substance in the human body, has a porous surface. The porous surface makes teeth vulnerable to absorbing and staining causing foods we eat.

Foods that protect enamel:

  • water
  • cheese
  • walnuts, almonds and other seeds and nuts
  • sesame oil and virgin coconut oil
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • raw onion and garlic
  • salmon
  • herbs, particularly basil

These foods neutralize plaque, neutralize corrosive foods, promote saliva or remineralize enamel.

Foods that erase stains:

  • nuts and seeds
  • celery
  • carrots
  • apples
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • water
  • pineapple
  • strawberries

Fortunately all of these foods are delicious and readily available. Keep teeth white and smiles sparkling with routine brushing, flossing, and cleanings with your dentist. Add these foods in for the best defense against stains and the best offense of keeping teeth strong.

Your Strongest Smile (Part 1)

Part 1

Your Strongest Defense For Your Best Smile

There are so many things that contribute to the health and well being of our teeth. In this two part series I am intent on both reiterating the importance of (and the often, overlooked benefits of the mundane and expected,) at the same time I hope I can shine some light on a few new things you might not have considered.

1.) Brushing

I guess we can start with the most obvious. Often we feel like we are doing an adequate job with our brushing but it’s my experience that most people will cut short their standard “two minute” brush times, everyday or almost everyday. If you are an ardent follower of this rule then pat yourself on the back. The next most common brushing failure is cutting out one of your normal brushes (recommended twice daily) Patients who will admit this say it happens rarely once or twice a month.

Get the most out of your brushing. Don’t cut short your brush times, don’t skip it on a late night,  don’t’ skip replacing your toothbrush at regular intervals, all of these abuses take a toll on our mouths over time. Finally a reminder that you can skip all the fancy, fangled toothpaste with sparkles, added colors, gimmicks and chemicals to help you think it works better, try an easy, really good homemade brush paste to get your whitest smile without chemicals.

2.) Flossing

Again another obvious step to a healthy mouth. While flossing might seem unsurprising and should be a routine part of our daily hygiene, it is largely ignored or skipped by patients. Note that flossing can remove as much plaque, food particles and biofilm from teeth as brushing AFTER you’ve finished brushing.

When done properly flossing involves wrapping the floss around three sides of the tooth being flossed and using a “sawing” motion up and down the surface of the tooth all the way into the gum line. Flossing can play a big factor in stopping gum recession and periodontal disease. Floss your teeth, all of them, at least one time daily.

3.) Drink More Water.

Maybe this grabbed you by surprise.  Water is perhaps our greatest asset in our whole body’s defense against disease and this analogy holds true even more so inside our mouths. Adequate amounts of saliva are your mouth’s best defense against the food particles feeding bacteria and against the bacteria themselves. The best way to make sure you have enough fresh, slippery, slimy, beneficial saliva?  Take your body weight and divide it by two, this give you the recommended number of ounces you need to drink of water, daily to stay adequately hydrated, more if you sweat, its really hot outside or you drink caffeine. Go and get a glass of water to drink while you finish the rest of this article. I’ll wait.

4.) Cut Down on Alcohol, Quit using Nicotine.

Smoking has an immediate and lasting effect on the bodies circulatory system. Changes in blood pressure and heart rate can affect your overall health but in your mouth these processes comprise the tissues and the blood flow to vital nerves and tissues. The tar and smoke and nicotine interrupt the natural process that saliva plays in keeping your gums and teeth healthy.  Pair this with the increased temperature from the inhalation of smoke (if you are smoking vs other nicotine forms) and it is the perfect storm to impede the natural ability of the mouth to heal itself.

Drinking alcohol also introduces harmful chemicals to the body. Alcohol, like smoking dries the oral tissues and impairs the natural process of the saliva that is there to protect the teeth. The acidic nature of alcohol invariably weakens and erodes away the protective enamel on the outside of the teeth, thus teeth become even more susceptible to decay. Decay leads to gum disease and bone loss.

Limit alcohol consumption and stop smoking. Long term these are two of the most measurable things you can do for your body’s overall health AND your mouth’s health.

5.) Sleep!

In a four year study of over two hundred patients the largest factor contributing to gum/periodontal disease after smoking was lack of sleep. Those patients receiving six or less hours of sleep had a more rapid progression of disease and inflammation.  Surprisingly when subjects increased their average hours of sleep up to seven or eight hours of sleep their gum disease decreased or slowed measurably.

Next Time

In Part 2 of your Strongest Smile we will be talking about supplements or nutrients that have the largest impact on your pearly whites, a quick refresher on some foods that seem healthy but actually hurt your teeth, and a few other interestingly easy things you need to start doing (if you’re not already) for your teeth.

Call our office now at (713) 785-7767 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to meeting you and earning your trust.