Do you ever feel like your smile is stained, yellow or dull? While many people feel this way, most are not aware that some of the foods they eat are what’s causing tooth discoloration. To combat general staining and yellowing over time, many people choose at-home or in-office whitening treatments. Both can help brighten your pearly whites, but avoiding certain foods can help protect your smile as well.
In addition, there are actually several foods that can be good for your smile. Certain foods are known to strengthen your enamel, stimulate your gums and even brighten your smile naturally. Try some of the following foods to help keep your smile brilliant.
Don’t let these brightly colored berries fool you! Strawberries are great for your teeth. They contain malic acid and vitamin C, both nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Malic acid helps naturally remove discoloration from your teeth. Vitamin C promotes healthy gums, helping to stave off gingivitis (early-stage gum disease). You can include strawberries in your diet by adding them to salads or yogurt or by enjoying them as a snack by themselves. Your teeth will sparkle in no time.
In general, vegetables are great for your oral health. Broccoli just happens to offer extra oral health benefits.
Broccoli is packed with fiber and iron. Eating a lot of fiber can help reduce inflammation, both in your mouth and in your body in general. The iron in broccoli helps protect your teeth against enamel-wearing acid that can be caused by bacteria in your mouth. While you still need your actual toothbrush to do the heavy lifting, fresh broccoli has also been shown to help clean and polish your teeth.
While it’s true that onions are notorious for causing bad breath, it’s also true that they can be beneficial for your teeth. Also, onions contain antibacterial compounds found to help protect against certain oral health problems. Eating onions reduces the bacteria in your mouth that can cause tooth decay, and their pale color means that they will not cause tooth stains. Raw onions are best for you and your oral health, but cooked onions will do the trick if raw ones are not your thing.
Studies show that cheese protects your teeth from acid erosion. While our saliva does its best to protect our teeth against this erosion by acting as neutralizing agent, research shows that eating even a 1/3-ounce serving of cheese can protect your teeth even more. Cheese also contains casein phosphate that strengthens your teeth. Try eating a small slice of cheese midway through your meal and again at the end to protect your mouth from stains and enamel erosion — especially if you are drinking red wine with your meal.
It’s no secret that dark sodas and bright fruit juices are bad for your teeth. Not only do they contain plenty of sugar that can wear on enamel and cause cavities, but their dark color stains teeth as well. Water does just the opposite. Water will never stain your teeth, and drinking water regularly throughout the day encourages saliva production, which helps clean and protect your teeth. Drinking water also helps rinse your mouth of any plaque or food remnants after a big meal.
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Foods to Avoid
In addition to eating certain foods to boost oral health and keep tooth stains at bay, it is helpful to protect your teeth by limiting your intake of certain other foods and liquids.
Coffee and red wine are both major staining culprits. Your teeth are porous and absorb liquids into their surface easily. If you are not quite ready to give up your morning caffeine kick, you can dilute your coffee with milk to help minimize discoloration.
Unlike their cousin the strawberry, most berries are not great for your smile. Their deep color pigment stains your teeth; although flushing your mouth with water after eating can be a big help.
Lastly, indulging in sugary drinks and candy can considerably wear down your enamel over time and cause tooth decay or cavities. Most dentists recommend that you avoid food and drinks like these, but, if you do eat them, it is best to brush your teeth as soon as possible after you eat them. Regular brushing and flossing, along with topical fluoride treatments, are imperative in protecting your teeth from sugar-related decay.