8 Ways to Whiten Your Smile

Young woman biting into an appleDid you know you can have a whiter, brighter smile just by changing what you eat? While some foods and drinks can stain teeth, others can help remove those stains or even prevent them from happening. Taking a few from this article, we’ve compiled a short list of 8 beverages and foods to embrace or avoid for a more dazzling smile.

Foods to Reach For:

1. Cheese: Rich in protein, phosphorus, and calcium, cheese helps keep teeth healthy and strong. It also forms a protective coating of calcium that helps prevent staining, and its high pH level fights enamel erosion. Natural cheeses have an antibacterial effect if consumed after meals or as a snack.

2. Mushrooms: These fungi help reduce plaque by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that cause it. Try them raw in salads, or cooked in soups and stews. Grill Portobello mushrooms on top of steak to add a rich, hearty flavor.

3. Raw, fibrous vegetables: Crunching on raw carrots and celery increases saliva production and naturally cleans between teeth. Vigorous chewing also stimulates gums and teeth, improving circulation and keeping them healthy and strong. Fibrous fruits like apples have the same qualities. There’s a bit of truth in the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

4. Sesame seeds: These seeds reduce plaque and are full of tooth-building calcium. Try sesame seed bagels or buns, or spread some tahini on a pita.

Beverages to Avoid:

5. Wine (red and white): Wine has a one-two-three punch that makes it a potent source of stains. The acid in wine softens enamel, allowing tannins to sink below the surface of teeth. Once they’re there, they bond to proteins in enamel and also bond with chromogens, pigment-rich molecules that cause discoloration. Once your enamel has re-hardened, the stains are impossible to reach while brushing. Rinse well with water after having wine; white wine doesn’t stain as badly as red, but causes problems when you follow it with tea or coffee.

6. Tea: Tea is rich in tannins and chromogens, and most people aren’t aware that it is worse than coffee for causing stains. Reduce tea’s acidity with a little milk, and always rinse with water after you have a cup.

7. Coffee: While it looks darker than tea, it causes less discoloration. Add milk or creamer to make it less acidic and follow your java with water.

8. Soda: These fizzy drinks are loaded with sugar and acid, and dark-colored colas contain chromogens. Cut back on soda when you can—your wallet and your waistline will join your teeth in thanking you! When you do drink a pop, follow it with plenty of water.

Changing your diet can help prevent stains, but only professional whitening can remove what brushing can’t. Dr. Richard Kobak offers both in-office and at-home whitening for a dazzling smile. Call Syosset Dental today at (516) 433-2211 to schedule your consultation.