By Dr. Kime Whitman from Your Dental Health Resource

Did you know that tooth enamel is actually porous? What this means is that your tooth enamel is susceptible to damage, including staining and discoloration, over time. However, with the right care, you can keep your enamel healthy, strong, and stain-resistant with the right oral care habits and tools.

Whether you’ve just gotten a professional teeth whitening or want to maintain the current shade of your smile, here are our top tips to keep your teeth white and bright!

Watch Out for Certain Foods and Drinks

Foods and drinks are the main cause of tooth staining. While teeth can be stained by other things—such as exposure to the antibiotic tetracycline in utero or before age 8, or the need for a root canal—foods and drinks are most common culprits when it comes to staining teeth.

Wine and coffee are the biggest offenders of teeth staining, especially if you’ve just gotten a professional teeth whitening [1]. However, tea, pasta sauce, turmeric, and even berries all have the potential to stain teeth, especially when consumed frequently or over a period of time!

Keep Up with Your Oral Care

While it would be difficult to avoid every single food that has the potential to stain your teeth, fortunately, regular brushing can help remove stains on a daily basis.

Some stains will be too set in to remove with at-home brushing, and may require a professional teeth whitening with your dentist to remove. However, most other stains, especially those accumulated daily, can be removed with regular brushing.

Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and wait a minimum of 30 minutes after eating to brush—this will help protect your tooth enamel from damage. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends waiting 60 minutes after eating to brush your teeth [2].

Other Helpful Tips

There a few other tips that can help keep your smile looking as white as possible for as long as possible:

  • See your dentist. Those regular professional cleanings can help remove deeper stains
    and keep your smile looking bright even without a professional whitening!
  • Consider using a straw. A straw can help liquids such as coffee bypass the teeth and
    limit the staining impact they can have on your smile.
  • Drink water. Water can help neutralize the acids that can attack tooth enamel and
    potentially lead to tooth decay and tooth discoloration [3].

Are you worried that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be? You can help keep your smile bright and white with these tips, but don’t overlook the importance of visiting your dentist as well. He or she can conduct a professional cleaning to keep your smile stain-free and healthy!

Sources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23421870
2. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/brushing-mistakes-slideshow
3. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/water-best-beverage

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Source: Cornell