The holiday and winter seasons are upon us, bringing with them the opportunity to indulge in an array of rich foods and drinks. Colder weather means warm beverages, coffee and spiced tea, chocolate desserts, and especially red wine. All of these are culprits when it comes to tooth staining.
But don't feel like you have to forgo your favorite indulgences to maintain the brightness of your smile. Here's what you need to know to keep your teeth white all year round.
Types of Tooth Stains
When your teeth are discolored, dentists will identify it as one of two main types: extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are on a tooth's surface, sometimes as a residue build-up that holds the staining properties of certain foods and drinks. You can impact these stains with regular brushing and routine dental cleanings.
Intrinsic stains are more embedded in the enamel of your tooth. These are caused more by long-term exposure to food and drink that contain both acids and staining agents. The acidity creates pockets of wear in your tooth enamel where the stains accumulate. At this level, you may want to seek professional teeth whitening treatments to penetrate and dislodge the stain-causing particles.
Help Prevent Teeth Stains
If you're concerned about stains on your teeth, your first step should be prevention. It's far easier to take a few simple actions early on than to wait and try solving the problem when it's become deeply engrained. This is especially true during celebrations when you may be exposed to lots of staining agents at one time.
Here are a few things you can try:
- Brush first – an hour or so before you expect to indulge, brush your teeth thoroughly as the plaque and debris you remove will not be discolored.
- Drink sparkling water during – as you enjoy yourself, drink an occasional glass of sparkling water. The bubbling action can help loosen the precursors of stains, and rinsing the water around your mouth will wash it away.
- Eat cheese or fibrous foods – cheese complements red wine in more than just flavor. Cheese helps neutralize the acidity of the wine and scrub your teeth, while fiber-rich foods like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli help your mouth produce saliva and physically dislodge debris as you chew.
- Chew sugar-free gum afterward – similar to fibrous foods; gum both physically removes food debris while it increases your saliva production to rinse your mouth and neutralize excess acidity.
Whiter Teeth Tips in Sartell, MN
If you love red wine, coffee, and other teeth-staining foods, you can still keep your smile white. Along with a bit of prevention, regular dental visits will maintain your oral health. To learn more, give us a call today.