Some of your favourite foods could be ruining your smile, and it’s not just red wine and coffee you have to watch out for, according to leading cosmetic dentist.
Dr Lawrence Neville, dentist and owner of Spa Dental in Sydney’s CBD, told FEMAIL green tea, white wine and even fruit can ruin your smile.
The dentist explains while teeth appear smooth on the surface the enamel is actually covered with microscopic depressions which is why they become stained.
Dr Lawrence Neville, dentist and owner of Spa Dental in Sydney’s CBD, told FEMAIL green tea, white wine and even fruit can ruin your smile
‘This uneven surface has a tendency to catch and hold on to stain-producing foods and beverages that come into the mouth,’ he said.
‘Certain foods and beverages that are high in acid can also damage the enamel enlarging the depressions for the stains to penetrate more deeply.’
Drinks can be particularly harmful with green tea one of the worst when it comes to dimming your smile.
‘Tannins are one of the substances that are notorious for staining the tooth’s enamel, especially when consumed several times a day,’ he said.
‘According to studies the colour of your tea will also determine the colour of the staining. Surprisingly green tea has the highest levels of tannins and excessive consumption can cause grey staining.
‘Whereas black tea has the least staining impact and will produce a more yellow hue.’
Fruit juice is highly acidic which means it is very damaging if consumed regularly and will lead to your teeth becoming stained.
Foods to eat for a whiter smile:
Cauliflower, especially when crunchy as it promotes saliva development
Foods to avoid for a whiter smile:
Red and white wine
Cooking sauces with tomato, tumeric or beetroot
Red and purple fruits
‘Fruit juice doesn’t stain the enamel rather it weakens the enamel and increases the likelihood of staining from other substances,’ he explained.
‘Resist the urge to brush immediately after drinking fruit juice; this will exacerbate the damage to the enamel tubules that are already weakened by the acid contained in the juice.’
And your choice of beverage is just as important to consider in the evening, he explained, with both red and white wine ultimately damaging for your pearly whites.
‘If you are enjoying an alcoholic drink my advice is to avoid darker liquids,’ he said.
This should be done for ‘as long as you can’ following whitening treatments, he added.
‘If you think about ingredients that stain your hands or clothes when you are cooking, these foods will also stain the tooth’s enamel,’ he said
‘Swap out red wines and dark acidic mixers like coke, for a glass of white wine or even a vodka soda.’
‘Having said that, high acid drinks, such as white wine and prosecco, can weaken and damage the enamel, creating pockets in the enamel that allow other liquids to seep further into the tooth tissue.’
Cooking sauces can also cause heavy staining, especially those containing tumeric, beetroot and tomato.
‘If you think about ingredients that stain your hands or clothes when you are cooking, these foods will also stain the tooth’s enamel,’ he said.
Bright fruits can also stain teeth, and while the dentist recognises they are great for your overall health, they should be consumed with caution.
‘Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, are also high in pigmentation and contribute to enamel staining,’ he said.
The dentist also listed foods which can help improve your smile with strawberries, despite their dark colour, appearing high on the list.
‘They’re packed with an enzyme known as malic acid, which naturally makes teeth whiter,’ he explained.
Foods which require a lot of chewing, like cauliflower, apples and carrots are also good, he explained, because they promote saliva which is a great natural cleaner.
Cheese and celery also made the list of top foods to eat, with the doctor acknowledging the benefits of both for tooth and gum health.
Dr Lawrence said regular professional cleans can limit the risk of long-term staining.
‘If you can’t resist regularly consuming these foods and drinks, make sure you drink water afterwards, and in the case of high-tannin drinks try and brush your teeth,’ he said.