You’ve had your teeth whitened at your dentist or using an over-the-counter method; now what? You may think that once your teeth have been professionally whitened, you can hit snooze on your dental hygiene routine. But keeping your teeth white is an ongoing process that requires daily commitment. If you’re ready to keep your teeth white, read on for the best-kept secrets of people with white teeth.
Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes.
Yes, the whole two minutes. We’d all love it if there were a simple, one-time solution that could keep your teeth white forever, but to the dismay of those with poor oral hygiene, brushing your teeth twice a day for two full minutes each is still by far the best way to keep your teeth white, protect against cavities and gum disease, and keep your mouth healthy. Don’t forget to floss daily and use a fluoride mouthwash to get the nooks and crannies and keep bad bacteria at bay.
Use a straw.
True, you might get a few weird looks. But when you explain the reasoning behind the method, you’ll probably be met with admiration instead of judgment. Beverages – especially sodas, energy drinks, juices, and coffee and tea – can cause some of the darkest stains on your teeth. A big part of this staining process is the moment your drink hits your front teeth when you take a sip. Bypassing your front teeth by using a straw can keep those front-facing chompers pearly white.
Watch out for the sneaky culprits.
We all know coffee and tea are two of the worst teeth-stainers, but did you know that white wine, berries, and pasta sauce can be just as damaging? Wines, both red and white, are highly acidic and can leave your enamel vulnerable to decay, whereas berries and red sauces can heavily stain your teeth. Think of it this way: if it can stain your carpet, it can stain your teeth. Ask your dentist for a full list of foods to eat with caution, and make sure you brush your teeth after meals or snacks.
Change your medications.
Antihistamines like Benadryl or some antipsychotic drugs have been shown to increase teeth yellowing in some studies. If you’re taking medications regularly, talk to your dentist about whether they could be contributing to the yellowing of your teeth. You may be able to switch to a different medication, like a different type of antihistamine or antidepressant, that will still do its job without hurting your teeth.
Chew gum after consuming damaging food and drink, like coffee or tea.
Chewing gum or sucking on a sugarless lozenge helps stimulate saliva in your mouth, which is a natural defender against acids and bad bacteria. Not only will this protect your teeth from decay, but it will also protect your friends and coworkers against the dreaded morning coffee breath. Some foods, like apples, are natural teeth-cleaners that help your mouth produce saliva and can polish your teeth while you chew.
Okay, don’t chug, either, but be careful about the amount of time you devote to drinking your coffee or tea each morning. If you’re sipping a cup of coffee over the course of an hour, you’re exposing your teeth to the sugars and acids for that entire period of time. Even if you brush your teeth or chew gum immediately afterward, the damage has likely already been done. If you like to enjoy your coffee over the course of several hours every morning, consider using a straw.
Questions about how to protect your teeth from stains, or about which foods cause the worst stains? Call our dental office today!Return to Blog