Monday, December 15, 2014
1) Strawberries They may be bright red, but malic acid, a chief component of this summery fruit, acts as a natural astringent to remove surface tooth discoloration Fresh, juicy strawberries taste great in any meal—salads, desserts, cereal—and are widely available at farmers markets this time of year, so getting your daily dose is both simple and delicious.
2) Seeds and nuts Chewing these lightly abrasive, hard foods rubs plaque and stains off the surface of teeth Pop a few almonds for a mid-afternoon snack—they're full of protein, healthy fats, and the crunch you need to get pearly whites.
3) Apples The loud crunch you hear when you bite into this hard fruit may be annoying, but it's also good for your choppers. Apples' crispiness strengthens gums, and their high water content increases saliva production, dispersing and neutralizing colonies of bacteria that lead to bad breath and plaque.
4) Celery and carrots The same high water content that makes these veggies great for your waistline and your health also helps them whiten your teeth by stimulating saliva production, which aids in washing away food debris and strengthening gums.
5) Broccoli Unlike beets and cranberries, this crunchy vegetable doesn't stay stuck to teeth, so it won't cause unsightly surface stains. Throw some raw broccoli into your lunch—the florets will scrub the surface of teeth, giving them a brief and natural midday brush.
6) Cheese Hard cheese, like the little blocks you get on those delicious appetizer trays, is full of calcium, which strengthens teeth and gums. Plus, most cheeses are near colorless, meaning they won't stain your teeth. So go ahead, order that cheese plate.
7) Oranges This bright fruit contains citrus, an acid that can wear away tooth enamel if ingested in large doses, making teeth whiter—but at a cost. So while we don't recommend gulping down bags of oranges in the spirit of a bright smile, a juicy helping once in a while is good for your pearly whites, and thanks to loads of vitamin C, your overall health too.
8) Water Drink lots of water to keep your mouth hydrated and your smile brightl, we recommend sipping and swishing between glasses of wine and when eating dark, pigmented foods to prevent staining. However, while water reduces the acidity in your mouth and the resulting damage to your enamel, we have to warn against imbibing too much sparkling water, which has greater potential to erode enamel and harm teeth.
9) Pears we recommend munching on a pear to neutralize pesky odor-causing and staining bacteria colonies on teeth. Increased saliva production brought on by this sweet, delicious fruit also washes away food debris, leaving teeth clean and sparkling.
10) Milk and yogurt These dairy products are teeth superfoods. Their high calcium content strengthens teeth, making enamel healthier and whiter. But be warned: Not all calcium-rich foods—like spinach with its dark, stain-causing pigmentation—have the same effect. Chow down on a high-protein Greek yogurt for a snack, or pair after-dinner cookies with a cold glass of milk to get that gleam.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Chewing on Ice
It’s natural and sugar free, so you might think ice is harmless. But munching on hard, frozen cubes can chip or even crack your teeth. And if your mindless chomping irritates the soft tissue inside a tooth, regular toothaches may follow. Hot foods and cold foods may trigger quick, sharp jabs of pain or a lingering toothache. Next time you get the urge for ice, chew some sugarless gum instead.
Playing Sports With No Mouth Guard
Whether you play football, hockey, or any other contact sport, don't get in the game without a mouth guard. This is a piece of molded plastic that protects the upper row of teeth. Without it, your teeth could get chipped or even knocked out when the action gets rough. Self-fitting mouth guards may be purchased at a store, or you can have one custom made by your dentist.
Tongue piercings may be trendy, but biting down on the metal stud can crack a tooth. Lip piercings pose a similar risk. And when metal rubs against the gums, it can cause gum damage that may lead to tooth loss. The mouth is also a haven for bacteria, so piercings raise the risk of infections and sores. Bottom line, discuss the health risks with your dentist first.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can wear teeth down over time. It is most often caused by stress and sleeping habits. This makes it hard to control. Avoiding hard foods during the day can reduce pain and damage from this habit. Wearing a mouth guard at night can prevent the damage caused by grinding while sleeping.
Candy isn't the only culprit when it comes to added sugar. Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. To add insult to injury, sodas also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet soft drinks let you skip the sugar, but they may have even more acid in the form of the artificial sweeteners.
Opening Stuff With Your Teeth
Opening bottle caps or plastic packaging with your teeth may be convenient, but this is one habit that makes dentists cringe. Using your teeth as tools can cause them to crack or chip. Instead, keep scissors and bottle openers handy. Bottom line, your teeth should only be used for eating.
There's no doubt a cold sports drink is refreshing after a good workout. But these drinks are usually high in sugar. Like soda or candy, sugary sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Drinking them frequently can lead to decay. A better way to stay hydrated at the gym is to chug sugar-free, calorie-free water.
Snacking produces less saliva than a meal, leaving food bits in your teeth for hours longer. Avoid snacking too frequently, and stick to snacks that are low in sugar and starch -- for example, carrot sticks.
Cigarettes, as well as other tobacco products, can stain teeth and cause them to fall out as a result of gum disease. Tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. If you were looking for one more reason to quit, think of your smile.
Binge eating often involves excessive amounts of sweets, which can lead to tooth decay. Binging and purging (bulimia nervosa) can do even more damage to dental health. The strong acids found in vomit can erode teeth, making them brittle and weak. These acids also cause bad breath. Bulimia can lead to a variety of serious health problems, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you have been purging.