Eat Your Way to a Whiter Smile
One of the most common things dental patients want is to get a whiter smile. Thanks to everyday things like our morning cup of coffee or tea, or the occasional glass of red wine, our teeth are constantly exposed to foods and drinks that can easily cause them to become dull or discolored. However, your dentist in Douglasville also knows that there are things you can eat and drink that can actually help improve the appearance of your smile. Let’s check out a few.
We know that broccoli may not be the most popular choice of vegetables, but it’s first on our list of smile whitening foods for a reason. In fact, broccoli can help improve the look of our teeth in two ways. First, the texture of raw broccoli essentially acts as a gentle scrubber and can effectively rub off surface stains. Additionally, broccoli is loaded with iron which, according to research by the European Journal of Dentistry, can protect tooth enamel from acid and keep it from wearing away. This can keep enamel tough, strong, and looking as white as ever.
Switching from veggies to fruits, apples provide similar benefits to broccoli. Raw apples, in particular, also rub away stains as we chew them thanks to their crunchy texture. Apples also contain malic acid — an enzyme that has been linked to increased saliva production. Increased saliva neutralizes acid, protects enamel, and can wash away loose stains.
Another fruit that can help with tooth stains is pineapple. This delicious fruit is loaded with bromelain. Bromelain is known to help with inflammation and is a natural cleanser. In fact, the International Journal of Dental Hygiene conducted a study that concluded that bromelain can safely and effectively remove tooth stains.
Dairy foods and drinks, including yogurt, milk, and cheese are great for oral health as well as tooth staining. Foods in this food group contain a trifecta of good stuff like calcium, vitamin D, and lactic acid. The calcium and vitamin D help keep tooth enamel strong, which also helps keep teeth looking white. The lactic acid, on the other hand, is really great at fighting off bacteria and decay. Just like broccoli and apples, hard cheeses can also scrub away surface stains.
The last thing and perhaps the most important thing that you can do to protect your oral health and keep your teeth white is to drink plenty of water, and choose water over other beverages whenever possible. Water helps to neutralize the acid that can attack enamel, and is also really effective at rinsing away food particles. If these particles aren’t removed quickly they can lead to decay and cavities, and, in turn, tooth discoloration.
If you’re one of the many people who wish that they had a whiter smile, try getting a good dose of the foods above. It’s important to note, however, that while these foods can help whiten teeth, they may only be effective on minor surface stains. Deeper tooth staining may require a visit to your dentist in Douglasville. Some stains are tougher than others, and your dental team will be able to recommend the best smile whitening treatment for your specific case. Don’t worry, there are many options available – from professional teeth whitening to cosmetic dentistry – that can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.
Why Crooked Teeth Are Worrisome
Many people, both children, and adults alike, have crooked teeth. Occasionally, crooked teeth can contribute to poor self-esteem and loss of confidence. But even if crooked teeth don’t bother someone mentally, your dentist in Douglasville may still be worried. The truth is, crooked teeth can lead to some oral health (and overall health) complications, some of which can be serious.
Health Problems Caused by Crooked Teeth
- Gum Disease – Straight teeth are often healthier teeth because they’re easier to take care of. When teeth aren’t straight or overlap, they can be very difficult to clean thoroughly and properly. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can cause a whole host of oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can progress into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and damaged bone.
- Jaw Pain & Chipped Teeth – Those with crooked teeth may also be at greater risk for damaging their teeth because crooked teeth often cause too much wear and tear on teeth. What’s more, is that this increased wear and tear can also put unnecessary stress on the jaw joint, which can lead to jaw pain or even TMJ/TMD.
- Sleep Apnea – Crooked teeth don’t only contribute to problems with oral health, but overall health, too. One of the lesser-known side effects of crooked or overlapping teeth is sleep apnea. Oftentimes patients with a small jaw also have overcrowded teeth, and this combination can make it hard to breathe. When the jaw is too narrow we tend to push our tongues into our teeth or rest the tongue in an unnatural place, which can put unnecessary pressure on teeth and cause them to shift. This lack of tongue space can also cause the tongue to fall back and cover the throat while sleeping, thus causing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that can cause people to stop breathing several times a night and increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
The Problem with a Bad Bite
Many times, the solution to overcoming a crooked smile is some sort of orthodontic treatment. But there are times when a visually straight smile can also benefit from orthodontics. You see, if someone’s teeth appear straight, they can still have an underlying problem of a bad bite, also known as malocclusion. If not treated, a bad bite could be painful and contribute to long-term complications. Such as:
- Increased risk for chipped teeth
- Speech impairment in kids
- Severe headaches
- Damage to tooth enamel
Your dentist in Douglasville can help determine if you have a bad bite even if you have straight teeth and recommend the best treatment.
Causes of Crooked Teeth
There’s no one, concrete thing that causes crooked teeth. In fact, there are many causes of crooked teeth, some of which may be unavoidable. Crooked teeth can be caused by:
- Poor habits as a child such as thumb sucking
- Early tooth loss before an adult tooth is ready to erupt
- A small jaw
- Facial injury
- Mouth breathing
- Incorrect tongue posture
If you’re curious about whether your teeth could benefit from some form of orthodontia, we encourage you to call your Douglasville dentist to schedule a consultation to talk about your concerns and options.