5 Tips for a Whiter Smile

It may seem like a never-ending battle: no matter how hard you try, the yellowish stain to your teeth just keeps creeping back in. Stains happen for a variety of reasons—sugary food, acidic food, pigmented food, enamel that is simply too weak to stand up against the onslaught of damaging foods. But combatting these seemingly ever-present stains can be simpler than you think. Keeping your pearly whites whiter involves practicing proper oral hygiene: brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentist consistently. Beyond that, here are a few tricks that can help keep your teeth whiter and the stains at bay.

1. Just Add Milk

You may love to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book, but unfortunately, your teeth aren’t such a fan. Tea is made with ingredients known as tannins, infamous for their staining properties. But if you add milk to your favorite drink, you could reduce its effect. Research has proven that “…adding 2 percent milk to tea can significantly reduce the ability of tea to stain teeth. More specifically, researchers determined that casein, a protein in milk, was responsible for preventing tea-induced stains.” It’s not only milk that contains this helpful protein. Other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt also contain casein. Similarly, an ingredient known as lactic acid can be found in milk, cheese, and yogurt, and it’s known to lighten your enamel, producing a whitening effect.

2. Swish the Stains Away

Brushing your teeth after you eat is always the best practice. But sometimes, that’s not realistic. An on-the-go lifestyle might prevent that more often than you’d like. Even if that’s the case, it’s still best to swish water around in your mouth to displace any remains that might have clung on to your teeth! While no substitute for brushing, it is a helpful habit to keep.
Dr. Mark S. Wolff, a professor at the New York University College of Dentistry, noted that, “Even water is better than leaving all that material behind.”

3. Eat Your Calcium

Did you ever wonder why you were told as a child that foods like milk and cheese were so good for your teeth? Well, sometimes, tooth discoloration is simply a result of the protective outer layer known as enamel being worn away, revealing the yellow dentin underneath. In addition to lactic acid and casein, foods like yogurt and milk are high in calcium. Calcium strengthens the enamel. Eating a calcium-rich diet, as it turns out, really does have important benefits!

4. Avoid Contact

Basic as it may seem, one of the best methods you can use to prevent further staining of your teeth is to use a straw, particularly when drinking beverages prone to staining, such as coffee or soda. It simply reduces the contact that the offending drink makes with the teeth, thereby keeping teeth whiter overall.

5. Do NOT…

· Brush your teeth too soon. While it is, of course, important to brush your teeth after eating, you can do more harm than good if you brush them too soon after eating acidic foods. These foods, such as sodas, citrus, salad dressings, and much more, tend to weaken your enamel. If you brush your teeth directly after, you’ll simply brush away enamel instead of cleaning it.

· Use apple cider vinegar as mouthwash. For starters, who can take the taste of that much apple cider vinegar? But even if you’re someone who can handle it, that’s a home-whitening remedy you’re better off skipping. Data from the National Institute of Health found that far from whitening your teeth, apple cider vinegar actually weakens your enamel and may even increase tooth decay.

· Enjoy a high volume of acidic, pigmented, or sugary foods and drinks. Highly acidic items such as soda or deeply pigmented items such as tomato sauce, wine, or coffee all cause staining. The more you consume them, the more you invite stains.

Each of these tips is a good habit to have in place if you want to have whiter teeth. However, home remedies are less powerful than professional-grade whitening. If you would like the most potent whitening treatment, consider in-office whitening.

Call our office today, and we would be happy to schedule an appointment for professional treatment.

For more tips and tricks to keep your smile healthy and bright, read The Most Common Dental Problems & Prevention Tips.

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