Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

By this point, it’s pretty clear that people want white teeth. As a country, we spend $1.4 billion on consumer teeth whitening products, and the teeth whitening industry generates over $11 billion a year in revenue. We’re not complaining that people are willing to pay to have white teeth, but it does beg the question—what’s staining our teeth in the first place?

Foods and drinks cause staining in a couple ways. Foods that are high in acid tend to strip away enamel, which exposes the more vulnerable dentin to staining. Many foods—typically ones with natural bright or rich colors—contain chromogens, substances that adhere to tooth enamel and stain it.

Coffee and Tea: Whether you drink coffee or tea to give yourself a quick pick-up, you’re staining your teeth. The acids in these drinks can strip enamel off your teeth—and leave dark stains behind as well. Wine: Most people think of red wine as a culprit for staining, and it is. It’s acidic and contains stain-causing chromogens. However, most people don’t realize that white wine stains teeth—it’s much more acidic, so it strips tooth enamel and leaves them vulnerable to staining from anything else you’re eating at the time. Rich Sauces: Sauces that have a rich color—think tomato sauces and curries—combine both acidity and stain-causing pigments that can darken tooth dentin. Food Coloring: It’s not difficult to imagine why foods high in food coloring stain teeth. After all, they have added chemicals whose sole purpose is to turn the food a bright color! Popsicles and hard candies are big culprits here. Sugary Drinks: Sports drinks, energy drinks, and soda all contain acids and high amounts of sugar that are damaging to your teeth. They can leave your teeth vulnerable to stains from any food coloring in the drink—and cause cavities as well. Balsamic Vinegar: All vinegars are acidic, but balsamic vinegar combines the acidity with darker coloring that can stain dentin. Berries: Cranberries, blueberries, and cherries all contain lots of chromogens and can stain your teeth. In general, if a food (or drink) will leave a stain that is tough to remove from fabric, chances are it will stain your teeth as well.

We’re not recommending that you cut all these foods and drinks out of your diet. It’s just not practical. However, if you want to keep your teeth whiter for longer stretches of time, there are some tips you can use:

Avoid sugary drinks and highly processed sugary treats. They tend to cause tooth decay as well as stains.Drink through a straw. If you’re going to have a sugary or acidic drink, using a straw can largely bring the drink past your teeth, reducing the risk of stains.Brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, or even chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking these trouble foods. It helps remove the stain-causing compounds from your mouth.

You can always use consumer whitening products to reduce stains on your teeth, and in fact, we’ve blogged about them recently! However, if you really want to whiten your teeth as much as possible, we’d love to talk to you and explain the results you can achieve with professional whitening.

To learn more about how to reduce the risk of stains or to schedule an appointment, call your Pocatello, ID dentist at 208.252.7163 today!
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How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Imagine you are eating a big, juicy steak cooked to perfection. You cut out a chunk of steak place it in your mouth. The first bite is delicious, and the second bite is even better.

But then, in your fervor for chewing, you forget where the steak ends and where your cheek begins. Before you know it–chomp!–a bite that was intended for that tasty piece of steak caught your cheek. It’s painful and irritating, but you can get past the pain.

The next day, your wound is healing well, but unfortunately during lunch you bite down on it again. Now it’s official: you have a full blown canker sore. While not all canker sores are self-inflicted, it’s good to know what causes canker sores and some remedies you can implement to promote healing while reducing pain.

For the most part, canker sores are more of a nuisance than a health issue. They can appear on the inside of your lips, cheeks and on your tongue. They can either be caused by trauma (like biting on the inside of your cheek or braces irritating your mouth) or other factors like stress and the types of food you eat.

Avoid agitating your canker soreTry not to hit it with your toothbrush.Steer clear of foods that will annoy your canker sore, including crunchy, dry, or acidic foods–especially citrus!If you have braces, apply wax where the canker sore comes in contact with them. If your braces or dentures continue to cause discomfort and canker sores, your dentist may be able to make the proper adjustments to fix the issue.Since most canker sores go away on their own, the best thing you can do is manage the painGargle with salt water. Mix about ¼ to ½ teaspoons of salt with eight ounces of warm water. Put about two to three ounces of water into your mouth at a time and swish it around for 20-30 seconds, then spit it out. Continue to do this until all of the water is gone.Consider using a local numbing agent. Products like Oragel can be applied to the canker sore and numb it for temporary relief. These types of products contain benzocaine, so please read all cautions before applying.Take over-the-counter pain relief medication, like ibuprofen.If your canker sore doesn’t heal within a few weeks, it’s time to see a dentist. If your canker sore makes it too painful to eat or drink, consider seeing your dentist before the three week mark. Make an appointment with your local Pocatello dentist if you think you may need additional canker sore treatment.
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How Does Diabetes Affect Your Mouth?

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Mouth?
What You Need To Know: The Effect Diabetes Has On Oral Health

Diabetes affects every aspect of your life. From ensuring your blood sugar is at the right level to keeping up with regular exercise, managing diabetes is no easy task. You must be aware of many complications that can arise from diabetes, and your oral health is no exception. Since it’s National Diabetes Month, we have provided information and tips to consider regarding the relationship between diabetes and your oral health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes—and 8.1 million of those do not know they have the disease. If you’re not sure if you might have diabetes, the first step to taking care of your body is finding out if that’s the case. Some common symptoms of diabetes include:

Blurred visionHunger and fatiguePeeing more frequently while also being thirstierDry mouth and itchy skin

  More symptoms that can indicate longer term damage caused by diabetes include:

Yeast Infections (for both genders)Pain or numbness in your legs and feetCuts or sores that heal slowly

  If you are experiencing these symptoms, go see your physician and get tested for diabetes. For your oral health, the symptoms take a while longer to show that actual damage that is occurring in your mouth if left untreated. Keep notice for symptoms like:

Puffy, swollen gums that bleed when brushed or flossedLoose teethBad breathReceding gums

  These are all signs of gingivitis, which if left untreated, can turn into periodontitis.

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Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

“Summer loving had me a blast, oh yeah. Summer loving happened so fast…” —Grease, Summer Nights

Its’ the stuff dreams and movies are made of: summer love. Warm summer nights, afternoons at the beach, vacations to the Caribbean—whether you are hoping to meet your next crush or are looking forward to romancing your long-time love —summer is sure to heat things up.

Did you know that June 19th is National Kissing Day? Are you ready to get romantic? A healthy mouth and kissable lips are key to having the summer you have been dreaming of. From making sure that your teeth and gums are in top condition, to protecting and caring for your lips so they stay soft and blemish free, there are several measures you can take to stay romance ready all summer long.

Tips for a healthy mouth

The best way to make sure that your mouth stays healthy and halitosis free is to stay on top of your at-home oral hygiene practices. Don’t forget the basics:

Brush twice a dayRinse after brushingFloss daily

  Take your oral care to the next level. You already know you need to set up routine visits with your dentist to keep your teeth in top condition. Consider the following treatments for extra protection.

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What Does Mom’s Smile Say? A Mother’s Oral Health Could Be Affecting Her Kids

What Does Mom’s Smile Say? A Mother’s Oral Health Could Be Affecting Her Kids

Motherhood is both wonderful and challenging. Most women agree that the only way to truly understand what being a mom is like is to become one. Once you have had children, they become your main focus, the purpose behind everything you do…and don’t do.

It’s not uncommon for women to neglect themselves after having a baby. From missing the daily shower to going an extra month or two without a haircut, it’s natural for mothers to reroute all of their resources to their child or children, whether that be time, money, or energy. But could that self-neglect be having a negative affect that extends beyond Mom?

Healthy Mom Equals Healthy Child

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research (Jan. 19, 2011)1, moms’ oral health predicts their children’s oral health. This 27-year-long study found that if mothers had poor oral-hygiene practices while their children were young, the children had a higher rate of dental caries and poor overall oral health as adults. The study was conducted in New Zealand and consisted of 835 mothers who participated in a self-rated survey and 1,000 children who were examined at age 5 and then again at 32 (more than 900 examined at this time).

The results were overwhelming. Almost half of the children with mothers who had poor dental health suffered from tooth decay and eventual tooth loss as adults.

Bad News or Good?

Initially, these results may sound like bad news, but they support the belief that when moms take time to care for themselves, they are also taking care of their children — a little relief from guilt for mom.

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