Having whiter, brighter teeth is an increasingly popular way to improve not only your smile but your entire appearance. That’s because a whiter smile doesn’t just look more attractive — it looks healthier and more youthful, too.
Of course, once you have your teeth whitened, you want to enjoy your results for as long as possible. Changing a few personal habits — including watching what you eat and drink — can help.
Marvin Taylor, DDS, understands the importance of a beautiful, white smile, offering two, state-of-the-art, in-office whitening treatments for patients at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center in Waterford, Michigan. In this post, learn how your dietary choices affect your tooth color, and what foods and drinks you should avoid to keep your teeth looking their best.
How your diet affects tooth color
Lots of factors can contribute to yellowing and discoloration, including smoking, genetics, and age. As we get older, years of chewing, biting, and grinding can wear down your enamel, allowing the underlying yellowish dentin to show through. Some people are born with a thinner layer of enamel to start with.
Even your brushing habits play a role. Plaque contains bacteria that release acids as they grow. If you don’t remove all that plaque when you brush and floss, those acids can weaken tooth enamel, making staining more likely.
But for most people, what you eat and drink plays a major role in the color of your teeth. That’s because many foods and drinks contain pigments that penetrate your teeth, resulting in teeth that look yellow, gray, and discolored.
Foods and drinks to avoid (or limit)
Some foods and drinks are pretty obvious: Coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries, and purple grape juice have deep pigments, and over time, those pigments can penetrate your tooth enamel, leaving discoloration behind.
But other, less obvious foods and drinks can also stain your teeth. These include:
- Dark spices, like turmeric and curry powder
- Blackberries, strawberries, and other darkly pigmented fruits
- Chewable vitamins and supplements
- Sports drinks
- Popsicles and other colored ice products
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
Citrus fruits and drinks can also play a role in staining your teeth. While these foods and drinks may not stain teeth directly, they do weaken your enamel temporarily, making it easier for other pigments to penetrate and stain the tooth.
Completely avoiding the foods and beverages on this list might not be practical, especially if the list includes some of your favorites. Plus, many of these foods offer important health benefits, and cutting them out of your diet isn’t always wise from a nutritional perspective.
If you do indulge, you can counteract some of the potential staining effects by rinsing your mouth well after consuming these foods and drinks (a good habit after any meal or snack). Don’t brush, since brushing right after eating or drinking could damage your tooth enamel.
Maintain those beautiful results
Professional teeth whitening offers benefits that last a lot longer than over-the-counter bleaching kits, and because it’s overseen by Dr. Taylor, it can be adjusted for your needs and goals. Better still, it’s repeatable, which means when your results start to fade, you can schedule another treatment to ensure your smile looks its best.
To learn more about professional teeth whitening or to schedule a whitening treatment to improve your smile, call 248-681-8100 or request an appointment online at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center today.