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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Toothpastes

Toothpastes

Do you ever stand in the oral care section at a store—maybe your local supermarket, maybe a general retailer or a pharmacy—and wonder why there are so many different types of toothpaste? Think about how many brands there are—and then how many different types of toothpaste there are for each brand! Crest 3DWhite, Pro-Health, Pro-Health Advanced, with Scope, Sensi, regular old Crest, Kids’ Crest… the list goes on and on.

A helpful way to think about your toothpaste choice is to think about your goals, beyond basic hygiene, when you brush. Do you want fresh breath or whiter teeth? Do your teeth hurt when you brush? Do you want to avoid a long cleaning next time you’re at the dentist? When you answer those questions, you’ll start to narrow down that overwhelming selection of toothpastes to a more manageable few.

There are a few basic types of toothpastes out there today. However, it’s important to realize that many toothpastes fit into one or more of the categories. (This is why there are more than 40 different types of Crest alone, after all.)

Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpastes contain fluoride compounds to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride works by strengthening, and even helping repair, tooth enamel. These toothpastes vary in the amount and type of fluoride compounds they contain and can come in a variety of flavors that appeal to both adults and children.

Whitening Toothpaste

If you’d like your teeth to look a little whiter, whitening toothpastes can help. They’re not as effective as dedicated whitening products (like whitening strips), but they can help you maintain whitened teeth. However, keep in mind that many whitening toothpastes can be more abrasive than regular toothpastes. If you use them, give your teeth an occasional break by using less abrasive toothpastes as well!

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Best Dental Products Series: Floss

Best Dental Products Series: Floss

Imagine you’re standing in the dental products aisle at your local Target or Walmart. You’re about to run out of floss at home, and you just want to pick some up. If you’re like most people, your first thought is probably something like this:

Why in the world are there so many types of dental floss?

Unfortunately, this can make it hard to know which product is the best. Being a dental practice, we have to tell you the truth: it doesn’t really matter a whole lot what type of floss you prefer, as long as you are actually flossing. However, that doesn’t really help you when you’re standing in the store, trying to decide between dozens of different types of dental floss.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll inform you about different types of dental products, so you can choose which dental product is right for you, starting with floss. With floss, it’s important to know that there a few different types of floss on the market. Choosing the one that’s right for you can make flossing pain-free and more effective.

Woven

There are two types of woven floss you may hear about. The first type of woven floss is generally made of cotton. With these flosses, you can clearly see the wrapped threads, especially since they are often different colors. Cotton woven floss can be very effective in cleaning plaque, and because of the material it’s made of, can also be gentler on your gums. The second type of woven floss consists of nylon filaments threaded together to form a single, larger thread.

In general, woven flosses are effective, but depending on the space between your teeth, the threads can come apart.

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What Do I Do About My Wisdom Teeth?

What Do I Do About My Wisdom Teeth?

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Quotation attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt’s wisdom teeth

If your wisdom teeth can offer insight like that, why would you ever have them removed? Most likely, you or someone you know has had them removed. It turns out there’s a solid reason.

In fact, wisdom teeth, which earned their name because they emerge at the onset of adulthood, aren’t all that wise. (Most people believe Eleanor Roosevelt came up with that statement on her own, but it’s no coincidence that it occurred after her wisdom teeth came in!)

Scientists believe that wisdom teeth helped our ancestors with a diet that was much harder on their teeth than our diet is to ours. However, they only begin to come in when people are around the age of 17 to 21 years of age. Since they emerge so late, after your other teeth are well-established, wisdom teeth often create unnecessary problems in your mouth.

If you keep your wisdom teeth, you might be able to eat beef jerky 10% faster, but the complications that can arise make them not worth the risk. (And if you eat enough beef jerky to think you might want to keep your wisdom teeth after all, you probably should speak to a nutritionist.)

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Leave No Tooth Behind

Leave No Tooth Behind
Have you ever watched shows like Lost or movies like Cast Away and wonder how the teeth of these people must feel like after an extended stay on a remote island? Fortunately, there are a few things they (or you, if you go camping or get stranded) can do to help maintain a healthy smile when you don’t have access to a dentist or minty toothpaste.

When you don’t have a toothbrush and floss, the concept of oral hygiene remains the same. Keep food debris from sticking around inside your mouth, and agitate the bacteria so plaque and tartar don’t develop.

In a bind, you can use a clean cloth or part of your t-shirt. Put the cloth on your finger and rub your teeth and gums as you would with a toothbrush. This method is good for minor stays in the wilderness, but won’t provide optimal care in the long run.

Use What’s Around You In the unfortunate situation you are without proper care for an indeterminate amount of time, you can find or adapt natural tools from your surroundings to clean your teeth. Chewing stick. Find a tree that has fibrous branches. Break off a toothbrush sized twig. Chew on one end to fray that part of the twig, which can now be used in lieu of an actual toothbrush. As strange as this may sound, a lot of cultures around the world still use chewing sticks for their dental hygiene. Due to the chemical composition of some trees (apple, fig, bamboo, and many more), they can help protect your teeth when chewed on. Small bones. If you are hunting for food, save some of the smaller bones. They can be used as toothpicks, removing food debris from between your teeth. Hair. This may seem gross, but if you didn’t bat an eye at small bones, you may as well try this trick too. If you have hair is long enough, you can use it as a substitute for floss. Water. Rinse with water (sterilized, if possible) to keep your mouth clean after brushing. Avoid problem foods. Without access to proper dental care, it’s best to avoid foods that can damage your teeth. Try not to eat fruits with a high acidity level, or foods that easily get stuck in your teeth.

Now you know how Tom Hanks kept his smile going stuck on an island for three years. (And you thought it was Hollywood make up artists?) While these options may sound less than appealing, they could be the difference between having healthy or damaged teeth while out in the wilderness. That and no one likes the feeling of fuzzy teeth.

If you’ve just returned from the wild, or if you’d just like to stay up to date on your dental visits, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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