Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Beware of acid
Soda and Kombucha are of primary concern. Their low pH primes the oral cavity to pull calcium, phosphate and hydroxide out of teeth. Here is a chemistry equation to display the equilibrium of your oral cavity:
Simplified summary: The acid picks up the OH- group on the right-hand side (biofilm and saliva side), causing more elements to be pulled out of the tooth. In other words, acidic drinks lead to the break down of tooth structure.
Through this process, acidic foods and drinks roughen up the tooth surface, creating more surface area for stain-producing particles to latch on to. Enamel breakdown can eventually lead to cavities as well as increase the show-through of the darker/yellower tooth layer beneath it (the dentin layer).
Water is your best friend
Increasing water consumption and health improvement collocate within all wellness dogmas. Oral health is no exception. Can’t stop drinking kombucha? Flush your mouth out with water. Just ate a sugary snack? Drink water! Water. Water. Water.
Water is the answer.
Did I mention water contains fluoride? Yes, a contentious topic, one deserving many posts into the future, but fluoride can help remineralize tooth structure. It makes an excellent treatment option for someone with excessive tooth decay.
Should you be wary of ingesting fluoride in your tap-water, utilize a water filtration system, while simultaneously utilizing a fluoridated toothpaste. This way you can get the topical benefits of fluoride, without it going through your whole body. Also, keep up with your dental visits, so that the dental can strategically place fluoride onto specific tooth surfaces. Again, it will not enter your body, but still help your teeth.
Promise, more on fluoride in the future. I have many thoughts...
Chew some gum
Utilize a sugar-free gum to improve salivary flow and keep the mouth clean. Try to find one that contains the ingredient xylitol, as it helps fight tooth decay.
Add milk to coffee or tea
Tannins are the components of coffee and tea that stain teeth. Protein in milk will bind these particles, making them less adept to distorting your pearly whites. Yes, alternative milks can work if they have a high protein content.
Use a *reusable* straw
If the liquid can't touch your teeth, it can't stain it either. Yes, it's 2020 so we save the turtles and say NO to single use plastic. Mother Earth thanks you and so do I.
Brush your teeth
The simplest explanation is always (usually) the best one. Stains build-up slowly. If you brush your teeth, you can wash away the particles before they become a part of the topmost layer of your tooth. It’s really that simple.
If you've just consumed an acidic beverage or food item, wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
Electric toothbrushes are a great option! While you can get a similar clean with a regular toothbrush, the timers on electric toothbrushes and the minimal pressure needed make them great investments for your oral health.
Limit the red wine and say no to smoking
Wine stains teeth a lot. Limit your drinks or utilize a re-usable straw. Smoking is just bad for your health across all parameters. Put down the cigarette and speak to your healthcare professional about a smoking cessation program.
Keep up with regular cleanings
At each dental visit, the dental professionals will remove the plaque and biofilm from your teeth. This helps maintain your oral health long-term and prevents stain build-up.
Consider enamel microabrasion
Enamel microabrasion is a relatively non-invasive procedure that can help eliminate surface tooth stains. The dentist will systemically and carefully utilize an acidic solution or abrasive particle to help remove a microscopic amount of surface enamel.
Get your teeth professionally whitened
Let me explain my emphasis on professional, to validate its supremacy beyond a professional bias.
Although whitening may seem analogous to putting on a face mask, there are key distinctions to note. With whitening treatments, you are actively manipulating the soft and hard tissues of your mouth. Improper technique can increase sensitivity in both the teeth and gums. For an area that is constantly exposed to air when you talk, and food and beverages throughout the day, I assure you even a slight increase in sensitivity seldom goes unnoticed.
Our teeth are one of the most highly innervated structures in our body. Visiting a dentist is a method to protect your teeth from developing sensitivity-related complications.
At home whitening may also create a chimeric smile. For example, if you have any fillings, crowns or veneers, they will not whiten. Without a clear plan, its almost inevitable to create a patchy white smile. As a general rule, symmetry reigns over sectional improvements when it comes to tooth aesthetics. If you have restorations, it's all the more important to get your whitening done in the dental office.
At home solution do work for some individuals. They usually impart a couple shade of whitening. A dental professional can help create a more powerful, noticeable change.
Teeth are one of the most important and unique tools in our bodies. The are publicly visible, help us eat, drink, smile, speak and make social connections. They are also delicate. Remember, some products just don't work for some people. Should you need a bolder whitening treatment, just call/visit the dentist. There is no harm in knowing all your options and of course buyer beware of the in-store, quick fixes.