5 Foods That Can Whiten Your Teeth

pineappleEveryone knows that things like coffee, tea, and red wine can take your pearly whites and make them appear dull, stained, or discolored. But your dentist in Sacramento wants you to know that there are also foods that can do the opposite and actually make your teeth whiter. 

  • Dairy

Foods that fall within the dairy food group, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt, contain something called lactic acid. This ingredient can help fight off tooth decay, and this can be directly related to the appearance of your smile. Healthier teeth are free of decay and, therefore, often whiter. More specifically, hard cheeses can help gently scrub the teeth and remove any surface stains. If you can tolerate dairy in your diet it’s a great way to protect your teeth.  

  • Crunchy Fruits & Veggies 

Similarly to hard cheeses, raw, crunchy vegetables and fruits, including celery, apples, and carrots, can effectively remove surface stains as we chew them. Besides helping whiten smiles, veggies and fruit can also increase saliva production which easily rinses away dangerous bacteria that could contribute to decay. 

  • Strawberries

While strawberries are bright red and tend to stain clothes or cutting boards, they do quite the opposite for our teeth. Thanks to the enzyme malic acid, strawberries have been known to help wear away surface stains and can help brighten your smile. 

  • Pineapple

Another fruit that can help remove slight tooth staining is pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, which has both a natural anti-inflammatory and a cleansing agent. In fact, a study conducted by the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that bromelain can safely and effectively remove stains. 

  • Water

Water should be a staple in everyone’s diet – it not only helps our bodies function properly but also helps keep mouths healthy. Drinking enough water throughout the day can easily rinse away harmful bacteria before it has a chance to settle in and cause decay and, in turn, discolored teeth. 

At our dental office in Sacramento, we understand the desire to have a brighter, whiter smile, and eating some of the foods listed above can help improve your smile’s appearance. However, most of these foods will only work on small surface stains and won’t dramatically whiten your teeth. For stains that are deeper in the teeth or were caused by smoking may require a professional smile whitening treatment or cosmetic dentistry such as veneers. 

If you’re looking to get a brighter, whiter smile, talk to your dentist in Sacramento about the best way to whiten your teeth. 

Why Crooked Teeth Are Worrisome

smiling girl with crooked teethMany 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 Sacramento 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 Sacramento 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
  • Genetics
  • 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 Sacramento dentist to schedule a consultation to talk about your concerns and options.