As longtime family dental care providers in Southwest Portland, Dr. Kim Hoang and her team at Terwilliger Dental are often asked by patients how they can achieve a brighter, healthier smile. While there are many ways to do this, one of the simplest is by keeping your enamel (the outer protective layer of your teeth) strong and healthy. That’s because healthy enamel helps teeth appear white. Here are five things you can do at home to improve your tooth enamel and brighten your smile.
Consider what you eat. Did you know that certain foods can help protect, and even strengthen, tooth enamel? In fact, calcium is essential for strong, healthy teeth because it helps remineralize enamel. That’s why incorporating calcium-rich foods – think dairy products, leafy greens, and nuts – into your diet can help strengthen tooth enamel, leading to whiter teeth. Not only that, crunchy vegetables and fruits like celery, apples and carrots stimulate saliva, which helps clean food debris off your teeth and neutralizes the acid that causes tooth decay. (Chewing sugarless gum offers the same benefit.)
Drink more water. It probably comes as no surprise that the most enamel-friendly beverage around is water. Unlike acidic drinks (like soda and fruit juice) that wear away enamel, water has a relatively neutral PH level. Remember, everything you eat or drink has an impact on your tooth enamel, so it’s important to take that into consideration when striving for healthier teeth.
Prevent staining. Many common foods and beverages can stain teeth due to a combination of acids and pigments. This includes blueberries, tomatoes, beets, dark sodas, red wine and coffee. Not only do these stains develop over time, but they can also discolor, thin and weaken your enamel. To improve your enamel, consider cutting back or reducing these types of drinks and foods from your diet. (Don’t want to give up your daily latte? Drinking from a straw can help prevent enamel staining.)
Visit the dental aisle. You can also head to your local pharmacy or grocery store for an over-the-counter solution. Consider a specially formulated whitening toothpaste, which works to strengthen enamel and helps teeth maintain their natural whiteness. There are also gels and rinses available to help remove some surface stains. Many of these products contain mild abrasives, chemicals or polishing agents.
Brush regularly. And, finally, brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis – Dr. Hoang recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once a day – is the most important thing you can do at home to keep your smile bright and healthy. Remember, consistency is key to great oral health.
Interested in more ways to keep your teeth strong and white? Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hoang.