Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you – a great smile can make all the difference to your look as well as giving you a massive confidence-boost.
We all know that a well-balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy body, but it also plays an important part in keeping your teeth healthy and white. Where some food and drink can stain and ‘rot’ your teeth, there are certain foods that can actually whiten and strengthen your teeth.
Plaque can build up on the surface of teeth, the plaque itself is yellow, but stains from food and drink can stick to the plaque causing your teeth to look yellowish. If the plaque is not removed, plaque can turn into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove. Plaque and tartar build-up can cause tooth decay as well as leading to longer term problems such as gum disease.
The act of chewing stimulates saliva production. Saliva is a natural defence against the formation of plaque and washes away stains on the surface of the teeth. Saliva also protects your mouth in a number of ways; it washes away food debris, neutralises plaque bacteria, remineralises to repair tooth decay early on and helps to protect against infection.
Eating crunchy food is great for your teeth; try food such as carrots, apples and celery, which ‘scrub’ your teeth, helping to remove the plaque on the surface.
Strawberries, pineapples and oranges ‘polish’ the teeth – they contain acids and enzymes (such as malic acid) that act as natural whitening agents, making your teeth look brighter and whiter. These are often used as home tooth whitening remedies as an alternative to tooth bleaching treatments.
Dairy products contain lactic acid which can help to prevent tooth decay. These, and other calcium-rich foods, strengthen teeth and bones. Milk and yoghurt are especially good for you, as well as hard cheeses.
Sugar plays a significant part in tooth decay. The frequency of sugar consumption is more significant than the amount of sugar consumed. Plaque bacteria use sugar as a form of energy and multiply faster when sugar is present in the mouth. Avoid sugary drinks, in particular fizzy drinks and juices.
Tannin is a compound found in some food and drink and stains your teeth. Tannin-rich products include red wine, coffee, tea, walnuts and hazelnuts. Consuming these can darken the colour of your teeth.
Stay away from tobacco – smoking and chewing tobacco is terrible for your teeth, mouth and general oral health.
A good oral hygiene regime is vital for a healthy white smile. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and chew sugar-free gum after eating to stimulate saliva production. It is also important to visit your dental hygienist for regular scale and polish.