By Lucy Gornall
Glistening white teeth don’t just belong in the mouths of Hollyood a-listers.
But, in a world of red wine, coffee and sugary treats, it’s hard to maintain those pearly whites. There are a few simple changes you can make though to give your teeth the best chance of staying bright and beautiful…
Stop the nail biting
London based dental practitioner Dr Deepak Aulak says that habits such as biting your nails can cause the edges of the teeth to wear against each other and grind away.
‘Due to enamel not being able to re-grow back naturally, we want to preserve as much of this as possible for function and aesthetics,’ he reveals.
Chronic grinding of your teeth during the night or during stressful times can also wear away the enamel covering your teeth.
Take away curry night
An Indian takeaway on a Saturday night might sound delightful but curries can actually stain your teeth. As can tomato ketchup, chocolate and even pasta sauces.
Dr Deepak Aulak explains: ‘Naturally your teeth are very good at protecting themselves, but with more chemicals and artificial colourings in foods along with the risk of plaque and bacteria sticking between teeth; these act as traps for pigments.’
Try to drink water between meals and clean teeth effectively to reduce this build up and therefore, reduce staining.
Be sure to floss
Dr Jerome Sebah, Arm & Hammer and Waterpik Ambassador says we should floss every day.
‘Flossing removes the plaque (the network of bacteria strongly attached to the teeth’s surface) in between the teeth where brushing cannot reach,’ he explains, adding that most people recommend flossing in the evening so that debris and plague doesn’t sit in the mouth overnight, when saliva flow is reduced.
You’re probably already aware how the chemicals in tobacco can discolour teeth considerably; tar and nicotine in the cigarettes can stain the dentition, especially the front teeth due to the placement of the cigarette.
Dr Deepak Aulak says that smoking also inhibits the repair of your gum tissues, as well as causing bone loss and exposure of the roots of your teeth. He adds: ‘More significantly, smoking has a link with the increased risk of mouth, throat and lung cancer.’
Cut back on the Merlot
Put. The. Wine. Down. ‘Tea, coffee and wine leave chemical pigments behind such as tannins,’ says Dr Deepak Aulak, who adds that fizzy drinks are also damaging as they utilise their high acid content to wear your tooth enamel.' Once thinned it showcases the yellower-dentine layer underneath.’
Giving up red wine and coffee might be far from ideal, but cutting back could help keep teeth white.
When drinking coffee, aim to drink it in one sitting as oppose to small sips throughout the day. Water can also help neutralise acids and remove strains, whilst straws reduce the contact of acidity with your teeth.
Lucy Gornall is the former Health & Fitness editor at Future and a personal trainer specializing in pre and post-natal exercise.
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