It won’t hit you as a surprise that our society is obsessed with bright white teeth. In every commercial and every billboard, you’ll see models with pearly whites flashing you with irresistibly charming smiles. The dental industry has gone from the health service we dreaded the most, to a sanctuary of attractiveness and beauty. Some would say it’s just secondary to the spa!
In-office tooth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure and can cost you more than a pretty penny. The market has evolved to offer more accessible alternatives like whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes, gels, strips, and more. The drugstore tooth aisle is dominated by whitening alternatives, the importance of which seems to dwarf that of regular oral health.
However, the best and most cost effective way of whitening your teeth is not staining them in the first place! Even if you decide to professionally whiten your teeth, you’ll find that your teeth eventually revert to their original state over time. Why is that exactly?
It’s most likely that you are indulging in one or more of the following teeth-staining foods or beverages:
Coffee is full of tannins, a polyphenol which allows for color components to create a film on your teeth and eventually discolor them over time. Even one cup a day is enough to wreak havoc, and we wish that the situation was different with black tea but unfortunately it’s not.
Wine, especially red wine, ranks poorly on the “recommended beverages for whiter teeth” list. If you have ever spilled some on a white tablecloth and then tried to wash it out, you can appreciate how difficult getting that burgundy hue out is. Picture your teeth as a white canvas and now submerging them in wine. Yes, it’s that bad. However, is that enough to stop you?
- Tomato Sauce
While we all love Italian food, if you want to keep your teeth dazzling while, it might be worth limiting your intake of tomato sauce. The acidity of it weakens our enamel while the bright red color stains it. The other tricky thing is that tomatoes have a tendency of sticking to our teeth, making them even worse offenders. If you want to counter balance this effect, chewing dark green leafy vegetables can create a protective film on your enamel before you hit the pasta dish. Wait? Is that why they serve salads as appetizers?
This delicious spice which steals the spotlight in many Asian and Indian dishes is actually something that we should eat with caution if we are hoping to maintain white teeth. If you have ever cooked with curry, you know that it has the ability to even stain your skin for a while, so over time it can definitely give your teeth a more yellow pigment than you would desire.
- Balsamic Vinegar
What is usually seen as the savior of salad dressing and the finishing touch on many dishes may actually be one of the reasons your dazzling smile is looking a little dim. Balsamic vinegar also clings to your teeth, so if you are able to, try brushing them shortly after meals where it has made an appearance.
So while avoiding these 5 Foods and beverages may lead to less staining and whiter teeth, don’t let that become a reason to skip dental appointments. Though white teeth are usually an indicator of oral health, they could be hiding other conditions like cavities, enamel erosion or worse. But in the meantime, enjoy blinding your friends and strangers with the brightness of your smile.