By now, everyone has tried or at least heard of teeth whitening. In the era of selfies and self-care, no longer do people flash less than pearly white teeth. If your smile has lost its dazzle or you want to maintain the brightness of your teeth, there are few choices you can make to keep your smile sparkling.

What Foods and Beverages Stain Teeth?

People usually blame coffee, tea, red wine and colored sodas as the main causes of tooth staining. Certainly, these colored beverages can stain teeth, but it isn’t just their hue that is the problem. Though there is an advantage to opting for clear or light-colored beverages, it is also the high acid content and tannins that are at fault. Coincidentally this includes drinks like coffee, tea, wine (including white wine!) and sports drinks. Many fruits (especially berries), curries, soy sauce, tomatoes and yogurt are also high in acids and tannins that can harm your enamel. To continue enjoying the bounty of life without discoloration, intersperse sips of water between bites or drinks of acidic and tannin-rich foods and beverages and swish afterwards.

Chew a Piece of Sugarless Gum

We have long known that the ADA has given their seal of approval to sugar-free gums. Sugarless gum freshens breath and increases production of saliva to help eliminate acids. Not only does this protect teeth from bacteria, cavities and the occasional tooth filling, but it prevents staining too!

Apply Blue or Pink Based Lipstick

Forget what you learned in the 80s about the seasonal “colors” that you were supposed to wear. Instead select a blue or pink-based lipstick which is a quick and easy fix to make your smile appear lighter. Concerned about how white your smile looks? Skip orange or brown-based shades that can make teeth seem dingy.

Brush Up to Lighten

Get fresh from the dentist gleaming teeth with a whitening toothpaste. Most over the counter versions do not bleach, but essentially buff out stains. Also, despite the multitude of “paintbrush” type formulas, these toothpastes don’t paint teeth white either. But exercise caution as these formulas can be a bit abrasive.

Exfoliate Your Teeth?

Despite the rumor that seeds or sparkling seltzer can scrub your teeth clean, finishing a meal with crisp fruits and vegetables can be beneficial. Better yet, stick to brushing teeth two times a day and flossing teeth once to forestall gum disease.

Should I Go Electric?

The short answer is yes, if you prefer it! New Look Dental recommends Sonicare electric toothbrushes as studies show they do achieve superior results when used for the recommended two to three minutes. Most of our patients do choose electric over manual and find their use to be effortless and effective. But select the method you favor as we support whatever helps you brush twice a day!

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

At home dental whitening strips, gels and trays can produce a whiter smile that lasts from six months to a year. To keep your smile bright, avoid the foods and beverages listed above and follow the tips we provided to keep acids at bay. Those who smoke will need to whiten sooner.

Of course, no one is perfect, and man cannot live on water alone. If you aren’t ready to ditch your favorite food or beverage, remember to neutralize acids by regularly brushing, chewing sugarless gum and drinking plenty of water!

If your smile isn’t as white as you’d like, Dr. Kirakosian with New Look Dental is an expert teeth whitening dentist offering multiple Opalescence teeth whitening methods. She selected Opalescence as they provide the highest quality professional-grade in office and at-home dental whitening to help you get and keep the bright white smile you deserve!