There is no doubt that a bright smile can make for a killer first impression. It is aesthetically pleasing, it represents good personal hygiene, and it exudes confidence. When people feel uncomfortable with the color of their teeth, they may shy away from flashing a big smile, which directly affects the kind of impression they give the people around them. As a dentist in Hoover, Alabama, I have seen how a self-conscious smile can directly affect a person’s self esteem. No matter how happy, confident, or kind you are, if you are hesitant to let loose and smile, people may get the wrong impression.
The good news is that there are ways to naturally brighten your smile with slight changes to your diet.
Foods That Whiten Teeth (and How)!
No one can deny the power that fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds have on our health. Along with helping our vital organs function properly and helping us fight off sickness, some of these foods can be used to naturally whiten your teeth!
Malic Acid – Strawberries’ dark red color may give you the impression that they would stain your teeth, but that would be false. Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid, which aids in removing tooth discoloration! Add some extra strawberries into your diet, and see if it works for you, but take caution – malic acid is an acidic molecule which demineralizes tooth structure. If one was to rub strawberries all over their teeth, the strawberries would whiten their teeth by demineralizing the enamel This can be damaging if you don’t remineralize with a fluoride mouth rinse or other protective agent.
(Current in office whitening techniques use peroxide-type material to whiten/demineralize enamel, but that same paste has fluoride added to it to help protect tooth enamel. If enamel is not remineralize after whitening process, it can be easily removed with an abrasive and/or mechanical agent.)
Scrubbers – Not every food contains an ingredient that actively works to remove stains like strawberries do, but some can be used to help rinse and clean your mouth. Apples, celery, and carrots all help increase the production of saliva inside our mouths. Saliva is our mouth’s natural rinsing agent, and it can neutralize the acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Finally, the crunch factor of these foods (along with the crunch of nuts and seeds) scrubs away food debris and strengthens gums. Think of these foods as nature’s toothbrush!
Dairy – We all know dairy is good for our bones. This is because it contains high levels of vitamin D. For teeth, vitamin D protects the tooth enamel from erosion and decay!
Foods to Avoid
If you already consume most of the above foods frequently, and you are still dissatisfied with the color of your teeth, you may be eating too many foods that cause staining. Even though strawberries are great for naturally whitening, other dark berries, like blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries, can darken your teeth. If you can’t give up your berries, try eating them with water and rinsing them down quickly.
Tomato sauce is another type of food that can quickly stain your teeth. If your diet consists of mainly Italian cuisine, it may be a good idea to eat spinach or broccoli prior to dining. These foods can build a protective film over your teeth to protect them from the acid in the sauce.
Other foods may cause slight discoloration, but the biggest culprit of yellow-toned teeth comes from what we drink. Tea, coffee, sodas, wine, and sports drinks can significantly fade the luster of your teeth. Try to reduce or eliminate drinking these drinks altogether, and boost your consumption of water and milk!
Visit Your Dentist in Hoover, Alabama
As a Dentist in Hoover, Alabama, we are committed to bringing our patients health and confidence, starting with their smile. The best way to guarantee your mouth stays in tip-top shape is to remember to schedule an appointment with your dentist at least once a year (more if you are prone to cavities). Have you had your yearly appointment yet?