Whitening treatments have become all the rage of late. Big surprise, they do not permanently whiten teeth. If we consistently expose our teeth to foods and beverages that stain, our pearly whites can start to fade to a less then glossy shade of opaque… within a month of treatment. Those who can manage to go through life avoiding foods and beverages that stain, like coffee and teas, may be able to wait quite a bit longer before getting a touch up.
Perfecting Those Pearlies One Bite at a Time
The most obvious thing is to avoid eating and drinking any products that stain our teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, cocoa, nicotine, etc. If caffeine is necessary, try using a straw to make the liquid bypass the front teeth.
Try to maintain a healthier diet. Start by cutting back on sugar, along with anything that sticks to teeth, from raisins to caramels, to crackers. Each one increases the risk of tooth decay, which discolors and eventually destroys our teeth. Eating less of the sweet and sticky stuff, and increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables not only perks up our physical health, but also our oral health. Research has shown that the higher our consumption of folic acid from food, the lower our risk of a painful bleeding gum disease. Foods like yogurt can help keep us smiling healthy, using probiotics that compete with cavity-causing oral bacteria.
Pure, Clear Water
The best way to help fight staining is to rinse right after consuming stain-causing beverages or foods. The simple act of rinsing our mouth after every meal seems almost irrelevant, but makes a big difference. Drinking water with meals at the table helps minimize residue, staining, and tooth decay as well. If red wine is on our mind, follow it up with a glass of crystal clear water. It is essential, but wine has enamel penetrating acids. They allow staining and decaying food particles to penetrate more easily.
Scrub Those Stains Away
Follow up a meal with good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice each day and try to floss at least once as well, to remove plaque. There are whitening toothpaste available to remove surface stains and prevent yellowing, but it is recommended to only use them once or twice each week. The rest of the time, use regular toothpaste.
Brushing With the Right Brush
Hard bristle brushes do not “scrub better”. It is best to use a soft-bristle brush. The proper way to brush and prevent gum erosion is to clean teeth in a short, vertical sweeping motion. Do not brush in a horizontal scrubbing pattern. There are many dentists who recommend using an electric toothbrush, though with sensitive teeth the movement can be distressing. When flossing, slide the thread down under the gum line, not just between your teeth. It may be painful, but plaque and bacteria can get stuck in those hidden recesses, eventually causing painful inflammation and decay.
Visit the Dentist
Taking care of our teeth can save us a life time of pain, but getting a professional touch still helps. It is important that we consider the occasional clean and check up with a qualified family dentist in Toronto. Follow up appointments are a bonus for those using whitening treatments at the office.