7 Surprising Foods That Are Staining Your Teeth

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And How to Keep Eating Them While Reducing Their Impact on Your Pearly Whites

Wine, coffee and tea – it's the trifecta of tooth-staining foods that almost everyone knows to avoid in order to protect their pearly whites. These beverages, however, are just the beginning of a long list of foods that can sabotage your smile, and chances are that many are flying undetected right under your very nose! From condiments to candy, put these sneaky offenders on your radar to keep tooth discoloration at bay.

Common Tooth-Staining Foods

1. Tomato-Based Meals
The high acidity level of tomatoes coupled with their bright red color can pack quite the punch on the enamel of your teeth. From your mom's homemade spaghetti sauce or soup, or your favorite brand of ketchup, constant exposure to even the smallest of doses can be damaging.

2. Curries
As rich in color as they are in flavor, many spice blends rank high in staining power, due to brightly colored ingredients such as turmeric and saffron. Over time, their pigments can leave a yellowish tint on your teeth.

3. Dark Sauces
Whether it's food infused with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, or other dark liquid, you can bet that eating enough of it will also dim your smile. If it's the base of your meal, there's a definite risk to the enamel of your teeth, but even side dips can be just as harmful because they are often more concentrated.

4. Clear Soda
Dark sodas already get a lot of notoriety for discoloring teeth, but don't switch to clear soda just yet! While its lighter color can make it seem like the better choice for those who love soda, it's still high in sugars that can eat away at tooth enamel and leave them prone to staining.

5. Fruit Juices and Berries
Fruit is undeniably nutritious, and many juices now come with no sugar added, but fructose is still a form of sugar, and it is bad news for tooth enamel. In fact, the darker color of certain fruits and juices – such as blueberry or grape – can have a staining effect similar to wine.

6. Sports Drinks
Because their makers often do a masterful job of promoting rehydration and electrolyte replacement, it's easy to overlook the sugar content and bright, fluorescent colors. Similar to soda and fruit juice, however, both the pigment and sugary nature of these drinks can leave your teeth less than white in no time.

7. Hard Candies and Popsicles
If they can turn your tongue into a rainbow of colors in a matter of seconds, just think of what they can do to your teeth! Even if consumed occasionally, prolonged sucking puts the surface of your teeth in direct contact with sugar, acid and dye – resulting in tooth decay as well as discoloration.

Tips To Prevent Tooth Staining

Cutting out many of these problem foods can go a long way in keeping your smile sparkling, but it may be unrealistic to avoid certain foods completely. Here's how you can help protect your teeth from sugary, acidic and/or colorful food:

Eat thoroughly, but quickly to minimize any contact with the tooth's surface

Use a straw to help bypass most of your teeth when drinking beverages

Drink plenty of water during and after meals to wash away food particles

Brush and floss your teeth after meals to help prevent stains from setting in

Use whitening toothpaste to help remove stains and keep teeth sparkling

Professional Treatment Options

In addition to practicing good hygiene and being more mindful about your diet choices, professional dental care can do wonders in keeping your smile bright. Seeing your dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup can help prevent and detect tooth staining, and there are many cosmetic whitening procedures that can remedy existing discoloration, whether mild or severe. Schedule a visit with your dentist for the optimal treatment plan for you.

 

Sources: Women’s Health Magazine, WebMD

 

 

Think Before You Gulp That Sports or Energy Drink

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , ,

They Rehydrate and Recharge but Wreak Havoc on Your Teeth

You just finished a strenuous workout or you’ve got a long day ahead – so what do you reach for? If you’re like a lot of people, you chug a sports drink or gulp down an energy drink. It may make you feel better short-term, but your teeth definitely won’t feel better long term. Research has shown that prolonged consumption of sports or energy drinks could lead to erosive wear on teeth, according to studies by the International Association for Dental Research and Academy of General Dentistry

The studies found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks. With a reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it is important that parents and young adults know about the downside of these drinks. Research looked specifically at the way sports drinks affected dentin, the dental tissue under enamel that determines the size and shape of teeth.

Studies found that sports and energy beverages can damage tooth enamel more so than soda -- due to a combination of acid components, sugars, and additives. Any beverage that has high acid content can weaken the enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to bacteria that can sneak into the cracks and crevices in the teeth. Sugar can exacerbate the situation, encouraging the bacterial growth. Sugar is bad, and acid is bad and many of these drinks have both. The combination can cause irreparable damage. 

Harmful effects include:

 

Tooth enamel erosion, corrupting the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

Sensitive teeth to touch and temperature changes.

Susceptibility to cavities and decay.

The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. Bacteria convert sugar to acid, and it's the acid bath that damages enamel, not the sugar directly. By incorporating a high acid load in a drink, we are just cutting out the middleman on the way to tooth decay.

If sports drinks become your soft drink of choice (your fluid), you run the real risk of very significant effects because they are very acidic. You could see etching on teeth which is actually eroding the dentin if you have exposed roots.

There may be a role for sports drinks for rehydration among endurance athletes under intense training conditions, but they make little sense for anyone else.

Athletes and even sports enthusiasts don't have to give up their sports drinks completely. The most important factor is exposure. Drinking a sports beverage in one sitting is not as damaging to your teeth as sipping on one throughout the day.

How to displace harmful Sports Drink effects:

 

Sip through a straw to help bypass tooth surfaces.

Drink plenty of water to flush the mouth. 

Wait at least an hour to brush teeth, otherwise you will be spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces, increasing the erosive action.

Energy drinks are the worst culprits. The acidity levels vary among brands and flavors of energy drinks, but caused twice as much damage as the sports drinks.

The big misconception is that energy and sports drinks are healthier than soda for oral health. Sugar may rot your teeth, but acid in energy and sports drinks will also do some irreversible damage to those pearly whites, say researchers. Science tells us that individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person's dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, total diet and genetic make-up.

If you are absolutely unable to give up these drinks, the best advice is to minimize drinking and rinse with water afterwards.

 

Sources: KnowYourTeeth.com, Web MD, CNN