We are constantly asked by our patients, how can I prevent teeth staining? With many of us making it through work days thanks to the help of our caffeinated friends coffee and soda, it isn’t a surprise that we get some darkening of our teeth. We all want a bright, healthy looking smile, so here are 5 easy and practical ways to fight those stains:
1. Keep a bottle of water around
Anything that can stain a white T-shirt can stain teeth: coffee, tea, soda, red wine,
cranberry juice and tomato sauce, can stain your teeth. Simply swishing and then drinking water after any of these staining foods/drinks can help decrease their staining effects.
2. Drink with a straw
Drinking any highly staining beverages with a straw can help prevent them from coming
into contact with your teeth. Maybe a silly option for red wine, but this technique works well for dark sodas or juices throughout the day.
3. Brush gently
This may sound counter-intuitive, but brushing your teeth hard causes more abrasive damage to your tooth enamel. Strong tooth enamel acts as a shield, protecting and preventing staining and cavities. Particularly if you use whitening toothpastes, be sure brush gently as these toothpastes “whiten” by having abrasive particles to buff off stains.
4. DON’T brush right after eating
Yup… you heard right. Don’t brush right after eating because most of our foods and beverages are acidic. This acid creates a more acidic environment in your mouth. When you brush in an acidic environment, you cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, weakening the protective layer. When the enamel is weak, it opens the teeth up to easier staining. Be sure to rinse your mouth well with water first if you decide to brush after a meal.
5. Whitening upkeep
Whether you use over-the-counter whitening kits or professional grade whitening gel, regular whitening upkeep will go a long way to keeping your smile bright. Be aware that your teeth are particularly susceptible to staining for 48 hours after any type of whitening! Teeth bleaching products work by opening up the pores in your enamel to whiten through layers of the tooth, so your enamel will be open and vulnerable to deep staining for 24-48 hours.