As we all know, there are many of foods that can damage your teeth – but you shouldn’t have to live without them. There are plenty of ways you can still have these foods while maintaining a healthy smile.
Coffee tends to stain your teeth much worse than other foods. Coffee stains are often resistant to brushing and sometimes come back even after whitening.
How to drink coffee and maintain a white smile:
- Drinking water or eating vegetables or other foods with a high water content immediately following coffee can help to wash away the acids before they stain
- Cold drinks won’t stain your teeth as bad as hot drinks, so iced coffee would be a better option for your teeth
- Unfortunately, none of these will leave you completely stain-free, but the stains will be less intense than they would have been otherwise
Alternative: If you need that pick-me-up in the middle of the day, try eating power foods that will give you energy such as spinach, brown rice, apples, bananas or almonds. These will all give you energy without the teeth-staining effects of coffee.
Sticky or Hard Candies
Candies contain high amounts of sugar that will quickly attach to your teeth during consumption. This not only stains your teeth, but cause cavities as well. Once you eat a piece of candy, all of the stickiness the sugar causes just sits on your teeth waiting for cavity-causing bacteria to latch on and begin the decaying process.
Ways to prevent cavities:
- Brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating candy and brush them well to remove all of the sticky residue and bacteria
- Carry a travel size toothbrush or mouthwash (or even floss if you’re dedicated) around with you to brush immediately after consumption
Alternative: Aside from cutting back on the candy – or cutting it out all together – try eating candies with reduced sugar or try healthier snacks.
It’s obvious that sugary sodas can harm your teeth the same way anything else with high sugar content does. However, many people don’t realize that even diet sodas, which have little or no sugar, can also harm your teeth. They still contain acids that can erode tooth enamel.
How to preserve your tooth enamel:
- Aside from regularly brushing your teeth, use a fluoride mouthwash to strengthen enamel
- When drinking soft drinks, drink out of a straw whenever possible – the straw will push most of the drink past your teeth, giving the acid less access to the teeth
- Eat food while drinking soda in order to offset the acids and help remove excess sugars from the mouth
Alternative: If you want to drink something carbonated, try something less acidic than soda, such as sparkling water (you can even add a splash of fruit juice to it for flavor). Other flavored drinks that are non-carbonated like juice or drinks high in electrolytes still have acid in them, but they aren’t nearly as acidic as sodas and will do less damage to your teeth.
Although fruits are good for you, some of them contain high levels of acid that can erode enamel the same way soda does. These acidic fruits include grapefruit, lemon and kiwi.
How to protect your teeth from fruit acid:
- Rinsing or brushing your teeth with baking soda can tame the acid left on your teeth after exposure to acidic fruits
- Make sure you ingest enough calcium every day to strengthen your enamel, making it more resistant to the damage of acidic fruits
Alternatives: Unfortunately, there is no way to make acidic fruits less acidic, but eating them in moderation won’t do too much damage. You can also eat fruits that are similar, but less acidic, like oranges. As long as you keep your enamel strong and don’t let acidic fruits be the only fruits you eat, it shouldn’t have too bad of an effect on your teeth.
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Although this isn’t a perfect world where you can eat anything you want and have perfect teeth, you can come pretty close. With the moderation of sugary and stain-causing foods and drinks and by taking the necessary precautions, you can still have a healthy, strong white smile.