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Foods for a Healthier, Brighter Smile — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 22, 2010 at 12:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Foods for a Healthier, Brighter Smile

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"People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile." -Lee Mildon

Teeth are a source of self-consciousness in our society.  Everyone is familiar with the feeling that their teeth just aren't clean or white enough.  And we all know what it feels like to wake up and feel like our teeth are wearing an extra layer.

Keeping your teeth clean and white can be a difficult task, especially with a plethora of modern foods fighting against us.  But if you make some slight adjustments to your diet and home dental care, the goal is easily within reach.

The Bad Guys

Remember the old saying "the best defense is a good offense?"  Well, sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Being proactive against dental hindrances is the first step.It helps to know which foods are your enemies, and to only consume them in minimal amounts.  Below are the most common culprits:

  • Coffee
  • Sodas and other carbonated beverages
  • Fruits with dark juices such as cherries, grapes, or plums
  • Dark juices and red wines
  • Tomato sauce
  • Gravies
  • Black tea
  • Cigars and cigarettes

Remember, as a rule of thumb: If it's dark, it's probably going to stain your teeth.  While you should always brush after eating, it's especially important to brush after eating these foods.  Coffee and carbonated drinks are probably the most damaging, because of their acidity.  They're actually capable of dissolving the upper layers of your teeth.  In addition, they can suck the calcium from your teeth, thanks to high levels of phosphorus.

The Good Guys

But don't worry! There are just as many foods that help whiten your teeth as there are foods that hinder a bright smile. Some great examples are:

  • Broccoli
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Carrots

When you eat these foods, it's important to chew them well.  They'll create a filmy, protective barrier on your teeth to protect from harmful bacteria.  Certain tea varieties are excellent natural tooth whiteners.  Green, white, and herbal teas can work wonders.  They contain tannins, which eliminate bacteria and plaque.  It's best to drink the tea iced, as hot temperatures can open up pores in the tooth, causing the enamel to decay.

Be wary of popular whitening products purchased from pharmacies.  Many of these are actually harmful to your teeth, and can greatly increase tooth sensitivity.

A Natural Tooth Whitening Recipe

Below is a natural recipe for a strawberry mouth wash to help you get on the right track, quickly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe strawberry
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Mash the strawberry into a pulp, and then mix it with the baking soda until it's thoroughly blended into a paste.
  2. Use a clean toothbrush to apply the paste to your teeth. Make sure to spread it evenly.
  3. Let the paste sit for around five minutes before rinsing it all away with water.

This recipe works thanks to malic acid, which functions as an astringent to remove surface discoloration.  Please keep in mind that you should do this wash no more than once a week.  It is acidic, and can be damaging if used too often.

Never hesitate to consult your dentist regarding tooth whitening.  He or she may offer a whitening service in their office, but these are generally extensive and expensive processes.  Still, it's always a good idea to keep your health professionals aware of your home habits.

By adjusting your diet and observing proper home dental care, you can be on the road to white, healthy teeth in no time!

Sources:

http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/10-tips-for-healthy-whiter-teeth/article144237.html

http://www.disabled-world.com/health/oral/dental/white-teeth.php

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