There are lots of things to smile about over the holidays, such as the quality time you can spend with family and friends, and the exchange of gifts that say, “I am thinking of you.” It is also a time to share and enjoy festive foods and drinks. For this reason, our Dental Arts and Wellness staff would like to share with you some tips on enjoying Christmas parties and dinners while keeping your smile white. For instance, some foods can stain your teeth more than others. You’ll want to avoid them or keep them in moderation to keep your smile bright. On the other hand, there are lots of foods that are not only tasty but will also help promote the health of your teeth.
Foods to keep in moderation
In our Oct blog, Dental Tips for Halloween, we discussed how sugar fuels bacterial growth. To reduce sugar intake, consider low-sugar options such as treats made with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a compound that helps harden tooth enamel. Also, the compounds in cocoa beans have an antibacterial effect that fights plaque. We also suggest you avoid soda drinks high in sugar. Sparkling waters are a great substitute–best if you can make your own using thin slices of fruits or herbs. Remember, “natural flavors” are NOT natural–they are still chemical compounds that were derived from natural sources and must be avoided to promote your health. Avoid “sugar-free” drinks if it contains: Aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel, or other artificial sweeteners like Splenda, or Sweet’N Low.
Coffee and Tea
Both coffee and tea contain tannins which will stain teeth. However, green tea has antioxidants that are good for you. Therefore, to prevent staining, drink tea in moderation to protect your teeth from staining. A tea you can drink as an alternative is Rooibos, such as Chai Rooibos. It doesn’t contain tannins that can stain your teeth.
Fruits That Stain Teeth
Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and pomegranates. These fruits can heavily stain your teeth. On the other hand, they also have nutritional qualities such as antioxidants and vitamin C. So I won’t say avoid them. But eat them in moderation.
Like tea, wine also contains tannins which can stain your teeth. White wine contains fewer tannins than red wine, but all wines contain acid that erodes tooth enamel. So we recommend you have some water or soda water after your wine.
Foods that promote your dental health
Foods Rich in Calcium and Phosphorus
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and contains the highest percentage of minerals. It is mainly composed of minerals, primarily hydroxyapatite, a crystalline calcium phosphate. Calcium helps strengthen tooth enamel. Calcium needs phosphorus to maximize bone strengthening. Here are some suggestions for calcium and phosphorus:
Calcium: Green leafy vegetables, yogurt, cheese (hard, aged), seafood, milk (low-fat), tofu, almonds.
Phosphorus: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, fish, red meat, eggs, tofu
Foods rich in Vitamin D: Vitamin D is vital for overall health. It helps your body absorb calcium which is essential for strong teeth. Here are some foods high in Vitamin D: fish, egg yolks, cod liver oil, spinach, kale, okra, collards, soybeans, and white beans.
Fibrous fruits and vegetables: Foods with fiber stimulate saliva flow, a natural defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away food particles. Also, about 20 minutes after you eat something, saliva neutralizes the acids attacking your teeth. Here are some examples of high-fiber fruits and vegetables:
Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, mangos, persimmons.
Vegetables: Carrots, celery, broccoli, collard greens, and, Swiss chard
Teeth whitening helps to remove and lift stains and severe discoloration from teeth. Teeth naturally yellow over time, but the process can be sped up and made worse with lifestyle and dietary habits. Things like smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking coffee, tea and soda can all impact how your teeth look. We offer professional in-office and take-home whitening solutions that fit your needs perfectly.
If you are interested in Teeth Whitening for yourself or a loved one, call us today at 503-603-0700, and we will be happy to get you in for an appointment.
You can have many great foods during the holidays. Enjoy treats from cheese, nut, and fruit platters. Eat in moderation the foods that can stain your teeth. And refresh with clean water after eating or drinking any highly staining food and stay well-hydrated during this drying season.
Happy Holidays from all of us at
Dr. Manami Yamaguchi