A balanced diet that provides adequate nutrition while not staining your teeth are your best bet if you want to maintain the sparkly white teeth. However, what are the foods to avoid? And what are the best choices that can help prevent tooth decay and discolorations?
Here, we will discuss how to have a balanced diet for your oral health. However, before we begin, let us discuss the cause of yellow teeth so we can understand the right principle behind the diet.
Why Are Your Teeth Yellow In The First Place?
While there can be many different causes for tooth discoloration, most of them will boil down into two main categories:
The hard, outermost layer of your tooth is called the enamel, which is semi-transparent and reflective. The white color of your teeth actually comes from two things: the color of the dentin, which is the inner part of the tooth, and the light reflected by the enamel.
When the enamel is stained, it will be less transparent and less reflective, giving it the yellow discoloration. Most stains from food and drinks can be easily removed through regular tooth brushing and flossing. However, stains from substances like tobacco, coffee, and tea are harder to remove.
Intrinsic stain happens when the dentin—-the inner structure of the tooth— is stained or even damaged. There are many causes for this, from medications, using the wrong toothpaste/mouthwash, and side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, among others.
Some dental treatments might also cause internal discoloration, such as silver fillings. Age, genetic factors, non-periodontal diseases and injuries can also be the cause.
How To Protect Your White Teeth: The Tooth-Friendly Diet
Brushing your teeth regularly twice a day, flossing daily, and regular visits to the dentist are the best protection for your teeth’s sparkly white color. However, maintaining a tooth-friendly diet can significantly help in keeping your gums healthy and your smile bright.
Food and Drinks To Avoid
Dark-colored beverages: dark-colored drinks like coffee, red wine, and tea can stain your teeth. Coffee and tea are sipped slowly, the acidity will stay longer in your mouth. If you add sugar to the beverages, the acid level will be even higher.
Sugar-heavy drinks and snacks: within our mouth are bacteria that can break simple sugars. However, the byproduct of this process is acid. High acidity levels can severely damage the teeth, eroding tooth enamel and cause cavities.
Sugary drinks including soft drinks consist of almost entirely simple sugars. Carbonated drinks are even more harmful, since carbonation enhances the acid levels.
Candies and other sweetened snacks produce the same effect, and since they are sticky, it can be hard to wash them away,
Another tip for this, is that although it is often tempting to immediately brush your teeth after these sugary foods and drinks, it is generally not a good idea. Toothpaste combined with acid can further weaken your enamel and can cause decay.
Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. You can also drink a lot of water or rinse your mouth to lower the acid levels before brushing your teeth.
Starch: starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta, gluten, and potato can produce the same effect as sugary foods: increasing the acidity in your mouth. The more refined or cooked starch is, the higher the acid level.
Raw starches like those in vegetables are harmless, but foods that contain a mixture of sugar and starch like cereal, pastries, and processed foods are especially dangerous.
Tooth-Friendly Foods and Drinks to Choose From
Water: pretty self-explanatory. Water helps cleanse your mouth from food debris, plaque, and especially helps in lowering the dangerous acidity level.
Sugar-free snacks: sugar-free chewing gum is especially a good choice. Chewing increases saliva production, which can help neutralize acid.
Sugar-free drinks: sugar-free drinks won’t produce acid, while can also help in cleansing the excess acids in your mouth. Less sugar will also translate to a lesser risk of teeth cavities.
Dairy Foods: dairy foods like milk and cheese can help protect your teeth in so many ways. First, they increase saliva production, which can help neutralize acidity. They are also rich in calcium, phosphorous, and protein, which will strengthen your teeth while also help in buffering acids. Some studies even suggested that milk can help maintain the protective minerals of your teeth.
Citrus: citrus fruits are, by nature, acidic, so it might seem counterproductive at first, since we’ve established the dangers acid can bring to your teeth. However, citrus can significantly increase saliva flow, which can help neutralize the overall acid levels and wash away bacteria. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and other citrus fruits are great choices if you want to protect your enamel.
Fish: fish is also rich in calcium, which can neutralize acidity and strengthen your teeth. They can also help in preventing gum diseases that can cause inflammation and even teeth loss.
Fishes are anti-inflammatory by nature due to its omega-3 content, and can protect against these gum diseases. Flaxseed and fish oil are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Cocoa: good news for chocolate-lovers, cocoa can help with inflammation and protect your teeth from decay and cavities. Although chocolate-based foods and drinks tend to be rich in sugar, they are less dangerous than other sugary snacks. Dark chocolate is generally a better choice since it’s lower in sugar.
Smoking and chewing tobacco are especially harmful if you want to prevent yellow teeth. If you are a heavy smoker, you might want to plan more frequent visits to the dentist to clean your teeth. Quitting, however, is still the best option.
Poor oral hygiene is also a common cause for yellow teeth, but plaque and tartar are relatively easy to remove. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can help prevent plaque/tartar buildup. Again, a visit to the dentist can help in cleaning excess food debris.
As a last alternative, there are various dental treatments that can help restore the sparkly white of your teeth. Teeth whitening and polishing are a lot safer and more affordable that what they used to a decade ago, and they might be a good option if you value a bright smile.