Having a dazzling smile can make you feel better about the way you look. Whether you have naturally white teeth or have achieved a sparkling smile through professional teeth whitening, daily eating and drinking can make your teeth gradually lose their luster and shine.

You can slow the effects of discoloration by avoiding certain foods and substances and following a few proven tips. In this blog, orthodontist Emanuel Mizrahi, DDS, of Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates in Forest Hills, New York, discusses how avoiding certain ingredients can help keep your smile dazzling for as long as possible.

Limit your consumption of dark foods and beverages

Consuming dark-colored foods and drinks can make you more likely to develop stains on the surfaces of your teeth.

Beverages, such as red wine, coffee, and some teas have a lot of pigment, which can stain your enamel and make your teeth look yellowish and dull. These substances typically contain chromogens, which are compounds with strong pigments that can cling to tooth enamel.

By decreasing the quantities you consume of the following foods and beverages, you can slow the effects of discoloration:

  • Dark-colored soft drinks, such as root beer and cola
  • Coffee and tea
  • Dark beer
  • Red wine
  • Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Food dyes
  • Dark-colored condiments, such as balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and curry

While you may think that coffee is the worst culprit, drinking tea can also cause significant discoloration. Tea is filled with tannins — also called tannoids — which are plant-based compounds that enable stains to stick to your teeth.

Limit your consumption of acidic ingredients

Acidic drinks and foods can make your enamel more vulnerable to staining. These substances can chemically erode enamel and leave behind rough patches, which can be more apt to absorb stain-causing ingredients. Furthermore, if your enamel thins, this can allow the darker-colored dentin underneath to show through.

These highly acidic foods can make your teeth susceptible to stains:

  • Cranberry, grape, and other dark fruit juices
  • Orange, pineapple, and other acidic juices
  • Acidic foods, such as tomato sauce

Neutralize damaging substances

It’s likely that you’ll find it difficult to avoid all types of dark and acidic ingredients. So you can help offset the damage of these substances by eating foods that can help keep your teeth white.

Try these tips to fight discoloration from foods:

  • Consume green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce, to deposit a protective barrier on your teeth before eating tomato sauce
  • Add a dash of cows’ milk to your coffee to help protect your teeth from the staining acids of this beverage
  • Add foods, such as apples, celery, and carrots, because they require lots of chewing and can act like exfoliants for your teeth
  • Combine crunchy lettuce when using balsamic vinegar to help prevent the dressing from remaining on your teeth
  • Drink dark beverages from a straw to reduce the amount of liquid that touches your teeth
  • Consume milk or hard cheese after eating berries to help neutralize these acidic fruits

Stop using tobacco

Chewing tobacco and smoking can produce brownish and yellow teeth and also increase your risk of developing life-threatening diseases, such as cancer. You can gain both a more attractive smile and a healthier body if you quit chewing tobacco and smoking.

Brush your teeth after meals

Maintaining good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing can also help keep your mouth clean and stain-free longer. You can lower your risk of staining if you brush after consuming food and beverages that could dull your teeth.

If brushing immediately after eating isn’t practical, rinse your mouth with water. Water increases saliva production, which can help prevent food from clinging to your enamel and producing plaque stains.

To learn more ways to get a whiter smile, book an appointment over the phone with Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates today.