How To Protect Your Teeth From Your Own Healthy Habits.
Superfoods like blueberries, kale, and turmeric are full of nutrients, but unless you take the proper precautions, eating the rainbow can leave your teeth looking yellow. “There are two ingredients that are the most notorious for staining: tannins and chromogens,” explains New York dentist, Gerry Curatola, DDS, “Green tea is very high in antioxidant value, but also rich in stain-causing tannins, while chromogen-containing foods include green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, berries and curry powder,” he says.
Heat from cooking triggers these foods to release even more potentially stain-causing pigment, and popular juicing recipes can multiply the amount of culprits in one drink. But don’t toss those delicious fruits and veggies aside. Follow these simple strategies to minimize and reverse staining:
Drink and swish. Drinking water isn’t just hydrating, it also washes stain-causing debris from teeth. “Simply drinking water and swishing it in your mouth after eating can prevent staining,” says Curatola.
Use a straw. You can enjoy your favorite green juice without risk if you sip it through a straw. “Teeth contain tiny tubules that soak up stains, but if you drink through a straw, the food is directed past your teeth,” explains Chicago dentist, Jessica Emery, DDS.
Chew sugarless gum. Combine a breath refreshment with stain prevention by popping a piece of xylitol gum after your meal. “Chewing gum generates saliva production to wash away stains before they adhere,” explains Emery.
Crunch on fiber. Fruits and vegetables that are full of fiber are Mother Nature’s dental tools. “Crunchy fiber acts like tiny toothbrushes on the surface of your teeth to help remove stains,” explains Curatola. When you don’t have time to brush right away, finish meals with an apple or snack on crisp celery or nuts throughout the day to keep teeth clean.
Get regular cleanings. New stains can easily be removed with professional cleanings every 6 months. “It’s when stains accumulate over time that they penetrate the enamel and then become difficult to remove,” says Los Angeles dentist, Anoosheh Shahkarami, DDS.
Treat acid reflux. Acidic foods like lemons can cause enamel erosion, but Shahkarami says you’d have to consume a very large quantity to damage your teeth this way. “The much more common danger is from overnight acid reflux, which can sit on your teeth for hours,” she says. See your doctor or nutritionist for help solving this condition, so you can rest and smile easy.