Do you brush and floss regularly, but your teeth keep getting stained between dental cleanings? Here are some tips from a New York City dentist for keeping teeth whiter between dental visits.
Top Staining Foods and Drinks
Wine is one of the worst culprits when it comes to staining teeth. It’s acidic, which can cause your enamel to temporarily soften and become more vulnerable to staining. Wine also tannins that can etch into teeth and stain them. Coffee and tea also contain tannins.
Fruits and veggies are a surprising source of tooth stain. If consumed in large quantities they can definitely stain your teeth. Colorful fruits, berries, and veggies like mangoes, carrots, tomatoes, and blueberries will stain more. Meanwhile acidic fruits like lemons, pineapples, and kiwis can erode the enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to stain.
To avoid staining be careful about colored sauces like soy sauce and tomato sauce. Sports drinks and sodas contain acids and dyes that lead to serious stains.
How to Minimize Staining
Swishing and rinsing with water can help to neutralize an acidic mouth after meals. Drinking with a straw will reduce staining.
Don’t let staining foods and drinks linger in your mouth for long. By increasing the exposure, you will increase the stain. Some people slowly drink soda and gargle it around in their mouth. This will lead to increased staining and wear.
Whitening is an option for those who are good candidates. You may not be a candidate if you have large fillings on your front teeth, if your teeth are very sensitive to cold air, or if your teeth have more of a gray rather than a yellow stain.
1. Whitening Kits
You can buy whitening kits at the pharmacy or go through your dentist. Whitening kits from a pharmacy work well and will be less expensive than those made by your dentist. There are some drawbacks to store-bought whitening trays, however. They are weaker and may take longer to work. They also can cause more sensitivity. If you have a large smile, the strips may not reach all of your teeth.
2. Customized Whitening Trays
Whitening trays from your dentist will be customized for your teeth. Whitening helps patients in 90 percent of appropriate cases. If you are concerned with wear and the shape of your teeth, veneers may be a more appropriate treatment.
Dr. Rebecca Koenigsberg practices general dentistry at Gallery 57 Dental. A graduate of Columbia University and an Invisalign-certified dentist, she focuses on providing patients a healthy, aesthetic smile. For more information, see Gallery57Dental.com.