Here’s How Holiday Foods Affect Your Smile & How to Keep Teeth White
For most of us, food is a big part of the holidays. This is a time of year when most of us indulge – OK, over indulge – in all kinds of treats. You know all of this eating can put on some extra pounds, but it can dull your smile too. While holiday foods affect your smile, you can take steps to keep your smile looking white.
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Watch Out for These Holiday Foods
Lots of holiday foods affect your smile. They can stain and otherwise damage your teeth. As a general rule, if something stains your clothes it can also stain your teeth.
The worst offenders include:
- Cranberries – A staple on many holiday tables, cranberry sauce can really stain your teeth. Sauce made with fresh cranberries is better than canned, as sauce from a can typically contains lots of added sugar.
- Other Berries – Like cranberries, other berries can do a number on your teeth. If the available selection includes several kinds of pie, it’s best to avoid berry pies.
- Coffee/Tea – Coffee and tea contain tannins, a substance that makes it easier for color compounds to adhere to your teeth. Even worse, many of us stir sugar into these dark liquids before we drink them.
- Soda – Soda is highly acidic. The acid in soda weakens your tooth enamel, making it especially susceptible to staining – and to cavities too.
- Red Wine – Like coffee and tea, red wine has tannins. Like soda, it is acidic.
Lessen How Holiday Foods Affect Your Smile
Avoiding these substances when possible is a good idea. It’s not always that hard to make more smile-friendly choices. For example, choose pumpkin or sweet potato pie rather than cherry or blueberry. Pumpkin and sweet potato are not only much less likely to stain teeth, they contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and other nutrients that are good for your smile.
Here are some other things you can do to minimize how holiday foods affect your smile:
- Sweeten With Substances Other Than Sugar – Cavities occur when bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar. So it makes sense to cut down on sugar as much as you can. When possible use xylitol, which can actually help prevent cavities.
- Drink Lots of Water – Water helps wash away food debris that bacteria in your mouth feed on. It also washes away staining liquids so they don’t linger on your teeth. Drink coffee or wine with a meal, not on their own, and alternate with drinks of water.
- Avoid Brushing Immediately After Eating – If you’ve consumed acidic food or drink, it’s best not to brush your teeth right away. Your enamel is weak and susceptible to damage by toothbrush bristles. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
- Enjoy Dark, Leafy Greens – Eating greens creates a film on your teeth that helps protect them from acidic foods. So include some greens in the first part of your meal.
- Help Yourself to Crudite – Load up on raw carrots, celery, and other foods often found on trays of crudite. They act almost like a natural toothbrush, thanks to their high water content and crunchy texture, which helps scrub away stains.
- Schedule a Post-Holiday Cleaning – A professional dental cleaning can remove surface stains from your teeth. If you’ve been consuming lots of staining substances, go ahead and schedule one.
If you’ve got any questions about how holiday foods affect your smile or need to schedule a cleaning or other service, call 1st in Smiles at 903-625-9297.