How to Safely Enjoy Foods That Stain Your TeethDec 14 2017

Heading into the holidays, not a lot of people are probably thinking about which foods to avoid!  But as we age, our teeth become more and more vulnerable to staining from food and beverages.

First of all, it helps to know that our teeth are not really the smooth surfaces that they seem to be.  They are actually made up of tiny pores, where just about anything small enough can stay long enough to be absorbed.  As you can guess, this causes the staining that we all want to avoid.

It is not hard to imagine that some foods are worse than others when it comes to staining our teeth.  These include foods like tomatoes (especially in pasta sauce), berries, and strong spices. Any berry has the potential to stain your teeth, but articularly potent ones are blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries. You might be surprised to learn that spices such as curry and turmeric can also cause your teeth to have a yellow or brownish tinge.  Other foods that could stain are balsamic vinegar and candies that contain food dye.

Besides the foods listed above, there are also beverages that can wreak havoc on your pearly white smile.  In fact, sometimes they are even worse culprits.  Pretty much everyone knows about coffee and tea, but you may have overlooked red wine.  Also, certain juices can stain your teeth, such as cranberry juice and cherry juice.

Does this mean we have to give up all of these foods?  After all, we know that the more colorful the foods, the higher its nutritional content.  Luckily there are steps you can take to minimize the damage these foods can cause.

  1. Drink water!  Not will it rinse the offending food and beverages from your teeth, but it can actually add beneficial minerals that can help strengthen your enamel.
  2. Brush you teeth.  Waiting a half hour after eating is best, but after that, gently brushing your teeth will help remove surface stains and stop any additional staining from setting in.
  3. Use a straw.  Drinking through a straw can help you to partially bypass the surfaces of your teeth.  Well, some of them.
  4. See your dentist.  Regular cleanings and checkups are your best defense against the stains that you may not be able to remove yourself.  Your dentist can also recommend the best procedures and products that will help you restore your smile to its whitest and brightest.

So eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season!

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