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Archive for April, 2015

The Worst Foods for Staining Your Teeth

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The Worst Food For Staining Your Teeth

We all know how important a bright, white smile is. And while we all know that a daily routine of brushing and flossing is key to keeping those pearly whites white, there are certain foods to keep in mind that can actually stain your teeth. Actually, many of the worst “foods” are actually beverages.

Basically, anything that can stain a white tablecloth can also stain your enamel, and the more intensely coloured a food is, the more staining potential it has. The colour of these foods and beverages comes from chromogens – highly pigmented molecules that latch onto the enamel of your teeth to cause stains.

The acidic level of the food or beverage is another factor to consider. When your teeth are exposed to acid, it softens the enamel and allows the stain to penetrate more deeply into the tooth. So foods that are highly-pigmented AND acidic are likely to cause stain. Finally, if a food is high in tannins – a food compound that increases the choromogens’ adherence to tooth enamel – it boosts a food staining ability. So foods that are highly-pigmented, acidic, AND full of tannins…well, you get the idea.

Here’s a list of the worst offenders (and I do apologize about No. 1 on the list):

  1. Red wine: Ding, ding, ding. This one scores high on all the categories listed above. Interestingly enough, white wine, due to its acidity, contributes to staining as well. If you were to drink white wine and follow it by eating/drinking something that’s intensely pigmented, it makes your teeth more susceptible to picking up that color. (That goes for anything that’s acidic).
  2. Tea: Not only is tea highly-pigmented, it’s also rich in tannins. Note: herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain than black teas.
  3. Coffee: Definitely a major culprit for most of us, but believe it or not, it may not be as bad as tea is for staining. Coffee is high in chromogens, but lower in tannins.
  4. Cola: This is one that people may not generally think of, but it’s chromogen-rich and VERY acidic.
  5. Sports drinks: Mostly due to their high-acidity, they soften the enamel and set the stage for staining.
  6. Berries: If you eat a lot of intensely-coloured fruits, your teeth can take on their coloring.
  7. Sweets: Candies, popsicles, gum, etc. that contain food colouring agents can easily stain your teeth. Just think, if your tongue turns green from eating a hard candy, that same colour can stain your teeth.

However, many of these foods (not including soda, sports drinks or candy) have many health benefits and are high in antioxidants, so you may not want to eliminate these foods from your diet completely. Enjoy everything in moderation. You can use straws to limit the exposure of certain drinks in your mouth. And you should avoid swishing or holding things in your mouth too long – the longer foods/drinks stay in contact with your teeth, the more chance they have to stain them. Also, try rinsing with water afterwards. In fact, it’s best to hold off brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after eating acidic foods, since brushing can be too abrasive against the softened enamel.

If you suffer from stained teeth, don’t worry. Ask your dental professional about different whitening options to get rid of the stain and restore your dazzling smile.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

My “Not-So-Related-To-Easter” Easter Blog: A Discussion About Causes And Treatment For Dry Mouth

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Dry mouth

Sometimes I try to relate my blogs to whatever’s happening at the moment. This week, trying to think of a topic, my train of thought went something like this: Easter Bunny…Cottontail…Cottonmouth…Ah ha, dry mouth!

Dry mouth isn’t something that just happens when your mouth’s been open too long. Dry mouth, aka xerostomia, is a condition that people suffer from due to a decrease in the amount of saliva they produce. Without proper lubrication in the mouth, these individuals are susceptible to many different problems. In milder cases, it may just be an irritating nuisance, but in severe cases, people may experience difficulty eating and swallowing, sores, inflamed gums, or an increase in cavities – all which can majorly affect their quality of life.

Unfortunately, dry mouth is a common side effect of literally hundreds of medications (which is the main cause of dry mouth in most people). And for the vast majority of people, the benefits/necessity of staying on these medications outweigh the problem of dry mouth, so eliminating the source isn’t really an option. Dry mouth can also be caused by medical conditions that decrease their saliva production, such as the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS. People undergoing cancer therapy may also experience a change in their salivary production.

So what can people do to mitigate their symptoms? There are products that you can use, such as special moisturizers, that act as artificial saliva, which can help alleviate discomfort. There are special toothpastes and mouth rinses available as well. Because dry mouth also increases one’s susceptibility of getting cavities, it may also be recommended to use fluoride trays or rinses more regularly to help prevent further decay. It is also crucial to visit your dentist more regularly so they can keep a close eye on things, and of course, your daily oral hygiene routine needs to be top-notch.

If you’re a sufferer of dry mouth, I hope this helps. Happy Easter!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky