September 26, 2017

Give These Foods a Miss If You like Your White Smile

© Lisa Norwood

Having a white smile can make you feel great, and the chances are you’ll want to keep it that way for as long as possible, so what can you do to help keep your pearly whites gleaming? The answer is quite a lot. Although there is no escaping the fact they will eventually darken up to their original color, making a few smart choices about what you eat will help slow down this process. Below is a list of foods to avoid, or to eat in moderation, and although most are well known offenders, some others might surprise you.

Top of the list is a nice cup of tea. Although tea has a reputation of being a healthier drink than coffee, it’s no better for your teeth, and some researchers think it might be even worse for causing staining. This is especially true if you like to drink fruit tea. This highly colored liquid causes staining and can also be quite acidic. The acid will gradually erode your tooth enamel, increasing the level of staining.

If you don’t want to give up your tea then try switching to green or white tea. White tea in particular is regarded as being very healthy as it contains fluoride and high levels of antioxidants, helping to reduce the numbers of bacteria in the mouth.

Red wine is a well-known culprit, as although it may be heart healthy in moderation, it also contains high levels of tannins. If you’ve ever noticed you have a stained tongue after drinking a glass of red wine then you can be sure it’s also staining your teeth. It might be tempting to switch to white wine, but this isn’t perfect as it can be very acidic, and just like fruit tea will help weaken your tooth enamel.

Sodas and carbonated drinks have a well-deserved reputation for being bad for teeth. Many contain high levels of sugar, and even the diet versions contain high levels of acid and colorings. If you want to enjoy a soda then try drinking it through a straw as this will minimize the amount of time it spends in contact with your teeth. Otherwise it’s best to try and drink it quickly rather than to sip it over a longer period of time.

Rich tomato sauces and other dark colored foods may taste great but aren’t so good for your teeth. If you want whiter teeth then try not to eat these sauces too often or choose a white colored sauce that will be far less staining.

Hard candies not only contain high levels of sugar but also tend to be highly colored and could stain your teeth over time. Even worse they can do a lot of long-term damage as these sticky candies tend to stick to the teeth. This is great for the bacteria that live in your mouth as they can feed at their leisure, creating acid over a longer period of time. This acid will weaken your tooth enamel, increasing the rate of staining.

Berries are a tasty summer treat and are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants that make them difficult to resist. They might be healthy for your body, but they are not so great for your teeth as the juices are likely to leave stains. You could try switching to white berries such as grapes and cranberries, but these still contain high levels of acid and should be enjoyed in moderation.

In short, any food containing high levels of coloring is likely to stain your teeth, but equally highly acidic foods can be just as bad. It would be very boring to cut out all these foods, and obviously it’s always healthier to eat a varied diet. However some foods such as carbonated drinks and sodas, as well as those hard candies have very little nutritional value. Cutting out these items from your diet will really help your teeth, while everything else should just be enjoyed in moderation.

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