Top Tips for White Teeth
Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments, but its effects are not permanent; and the cost of repeat treatments can eventually add up. So instead of figuring out how to get rid of discoloration, why not take steps to avoid it in the first place?
There are a number of simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to help keep your teeth looking healthy and white. Here are Consumer Guide to Dentistry’s top seven tips for keeping those pearly whites white.
1. Raw Fruits and Veggies
An apple a day keeps the doctor away… it just might keep your teeth sparkling white as well. Fruits and raw vegetables like apples, celery and carrots can actually help to remove surface stains from the teeth. Although not as effective as actually brushing your teeth after a meal, eating these sorts of foods can actually work as a sort of natural toothbrush that wipes the teeth clean. In addition, they can help to stimulate the gums and produce saliva that washes harmful decay-causing bacteria from the mouth.
2. Vitamin C Rinsing
Eating Vitamin-C-rich fruits like oranges, lemons and limes is great for the immune system and circulatory health. But it can actually have a damaging effect on the teeth. These fruits are packed with citric acid that can eat away at tooth enamel which helps protect the teeth. If enamel erodes, the teeth are more susceptible to staining. The solution? Rinse your mouth with water after eating these fruits to help wash away the acid. Get the healthful benefits while keeping your teeth sparkling white.
3. Sugar-free Gum
Sugar is an enemy of the teeth. It creates a breeding ground for bacteria that causes all sorts of dental problems including tooth decay. Opting for sugar-free alternatives therefore makes sense for your health. Beyond that, chewing sugar-free gum can actually help keep your teeth stain-free. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps to stimulate the flow of saliva which washes away the harmful bacteria that causes superficial staining. Xylitol-based sugar-free gums are even better.
4. Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk and cheese indirectly help to keep the teeth white. Rather than stimulating saliva or washing away bacteria, calcium-rich dairy foods strengthen tooth enamel, an essential defense against staining.
5. Replace Your Toothbrush
How often do you replace your toothbrush? In all likelihood, not often enough. If you overuse a toothbrush, the bristles responsible for thorough cleaning can be rendered useless. Worse still, your old toothbrush might simply be transferring bacteria into your mouth rather than getting rid of it. Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every two or three months (or sooner if you notice bristle wear).
6. Invest in a Tongue Scraper
The tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria. In addition to causing bad breath, the accumulation of bacteria could lead to tooth discoloration. If you have a gag reflex that makes brushing your tongue with your toothbrush too difficult, invest in a tongue scraper.
7. Floss, Floss, Floss
Brushing and flossing twice a day is a good start, but what about all the eating and snacking that happens throughout the day? Foods can become lodged in the gaps between the teeth and bacteria can form. Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol after eating helps, but if you get in the habit of flossing after you eat, even better.
If your teeth are already discolored then bleaching might be the best option for restoring them to their bright, white norm. Check out our list of 5 foods and beverages to avoid after teeth whitening.