What can you safely eat or drink after whitening your teeth? You might already know wild blueberries, a super-sized cup of coffee, and a glass of merlot can stain your smile. But what about everything else you eat and drink? Before you accidentally tarnish your brand-new pearly whites, take a look at the simple food and beverage swaps that can keep your teeth bright.
Water Instead of Sports Drinks
The red, purple, and blue sports drinks you might chug after a sweaty workout aren't ideal for newly whitened teeth. Sports drinks can cause more than one type of dental dilemma. Bold colors are the obvious issue. The artificial dyes in bright or dark sports drinks can stain your teeth — reversing the effects of an in-office or at-home whitening procedure.
Not only can dye-heavy sports drinks stain your bright white teeth, but these sugary beverages can also feed the bacteria in your mouth. Sugar on its own won't cause dental decay. But when it lingers, the bacteria in your mouth feed off of it. As the bacteria feed, they release acids. The acids remove the protective pearly outer layer of your teeth (also known as enamel).
This exposes the yellow dentin underneath and can lead to dental decay. Yellowish exposed dentin and cavities are uncomfortable and seriously impact the effects of any whitening procedure.
Instead of sports drinks that can stain your teeth or raise the risk of dental decay, swap out the bright, dark, and sugary beverages for plain tap water. Clear water won't discolor your newly whitened smile and can improve your mouth's health — especially if it contains cavity-fighting fluoride.
Chicken Instead of Sauce-Covered Steak
Dark sauce on a seared steak may taste like perfection. But this type of meal can stain your professionally whitened teeth. Foods that contain dark pigments, such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and berries, can discolor dental enamel.
Along with the color of the food or sauce, the sugar and acidity level can also impact your smile. Sugar-containing sauces (such as berry-based or barbecue sauces) can feed the bacteria in your mouth. Acidic sauces that contain balsamic vinegar or citrus fruits can also wear away enamel and expose the dentin underneath over time.
While a one-time steak with sauce dinner won't ruin your new white smile, repeated meals may reduce the effects. To minimize the risks, consider a swap to chicken. To make this substitution a success, avoid dark barbecue or similar sauces. Stick to plain grilled chicken, white sauces, or vegetable toppings.
Some Fruits Instead of Candy
Candy comes with the same dye and sugar-related oral issues you'll find with sports drinks and some sauces. Tacky or gummy candies can stay on your teeth. This keeps the sugar in your mouth and feeds the bacteria constantly. The sugar supply coupled with dark pigments or dyes can intensify the impact this food has on your teeth.
Beyond the risk of stains and cavities, some types of candy can damage your smile. Hard candies and lollipops dissolve slowly in your mouth. If you bite into these candies, you could chip or crack a tooth. The damage may do more than just cause discomfort. It will draw attention away from the rest of your newly whitened smile.
Make a healthy swap and choose fresh fruit over candy. Protect your teeth and select softer, lighter options — such as bananas, green grapes, or cut melon. Avoid dark fruits with deep pigments. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and similar picks could stain your teeth.
Do you want brighter, whiter teeth? Contact The Whitening Gals for more information.