Avoid These Lesser Known Staining Culprits

In how many ways can a clean, white smile brighten your day and improve your life?

Here’s just a few examples: During a job interview; courting someone during a romantic date; applying for a promotion; hosting a dinner party; and perhaps most important of all, the dreaded (but everlasting) family photo sessions.

Simply put, a glisteningly bright smile shows that you care about your teeth, and consequently, your appearance. The first body part we are judged by is our face, and a set of teeth that is less-than-optimal can distract the person sitting across from us from our best qualities. And, at worst, we can come off as unappealing or unattractive, all because of that morning Starbucks addiction we can’t seem to kick.

Staining culprits
Many of us know from experience or common knowledge that red wines and coffee can easily stain our teeth. But what are some of the less-known ways we can tarnish our pearly whites into an unseemly burgundy or off-yellowish gray? Unfortunately, some of the most common staining food and drinks will likely make an appearance at that romantic date or dinner party where we are trying to impress.

• Teas – Many types of teas have a solid reputation among nutritionists for their antioxidants and other health-benefiting features, and most teas have a more reasonable amount of caffeine in them compared with coffee. However, dentists warn that like coffee, teas can cause stains and even erode enamel. Black teas have the highest potential, so those concerned with the luminosity of their teeth should be just as careful with their earl grey as they would be with nature’s other favorite black-colored morning beverage.

• Rich sauces – Red wine, a staple of the Italian diet – and one of the drinks with the highest staining potential – isn’t the only thing you should be worried about regarding your Italian relatives’ cooking. Rich tomato sauces can cause stains on your teeth in part from the color but also its acidity. To counteract, consider adding creams to your sauces – it’s both delicious and will reduce the enamel-eroding effects of the sauce.

• Prescription medication – It’s less known that certain medications, specifically certain classes for allergies, psychotic disorders, bacterial infections and high blood pressure, have the potential to discolor teeth. While taking some classes of drugs is unavoidable, you may want to discuss with your doctor whether you can take a different type of drug within a class that has fewer side effects. And as always, consult with your doctor before making any changes in your medicine regimen.

Reducing and eliminating teeth stains
Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can take in order to keep your mouth clean and white. For staining beverages such as sodas or juices, use a straw – it will help keep the staining ingredients away from your front teeth, which will be the first seen in your smile. Your favorite hot beverages with staining qualities, such as tea and coffee, are usually available in ice-form, which can be easier consumed with a straw. You’ll also want to swish with water after drinking sodas and wines in order to keep the drinks’ residue away from your precious (and limited) enamel.

At Orland Park Dentist, we provide multiple levels of bleaching services to ensure any teeth stains no longer detract from your smile. We use an in-office procedure known as Brite Smile, which provides you with distinctively white teeth in only an hour. Or, you can request a home whitening treatment that you can use at your own pace.

If you have been guzzling that Starbucks or white vinny for years without considering the side effects, though, you may need to take even further action. Our strongest service, power bleaching, is optimal for discolorations caused by prescription medications or long-term consumption of staining beverages. It includes a combination of in-office treatment and whitening trays you can take home with you. Our trained specialists will make sure the process takes as little time as possible while ensuring you are comfortable throughout the procedure.

Then again, perhaps the thought of an unseemly red-stained smile will help you kick the red wine addiction once-and-for-all. You can thank your dentist.

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