Ever had your child crack a smile, revealing that their pearly whites were a bright shade of blue? Or spoke to a coworker who had a brown, coffee-stained smile? The drinks we consume every day like sports drinks, coffee, and soda are often highly acidic. They also have artificial ingredients including food coloring and dyes. Not only do these ingredients give drinks their vibrant color, but they also breakdown tooth enamel and stain our teeth.
One study found that most fruit drinks, sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks were dyed with either caramel color or another artificial food color in widely varying amounts. These drinks are often sweetened and carbonated, increasing their negative effects on tooth enamel. It’s no surprise that many of these popular beverages are drank daily by kids in the U.S.
If you have a soda or energy drink habit that you can’t seem to kick, there’s still hope in keeping your smile bright. When you consume an acidic or artificially-colored beverage, swish with water. This will help cleanse your mouth and the surface of your teeth without harming your tooth enamel. It’s also important to wait 30 minutes after consuming an acidic beverage before brushing your teeth. Acid weakens your enamel and your teeth need time to recover prior to brushing.
To remove stains from enamel, get yourself one of these American Dental Association certified toothpastes and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may find an electric toothbrush works better than a manual toothbrush with less elbow grease required. Once you have the proper brush and paste, follow these steps:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums.
- Move the brush in a gentle scrubbing motion, using short circular and back-and-forth strokes, just like you see in the egg-speriment video. Pay attention to gently cleaning just under the gum line.
- Brush the inner and outer tooth surfaces making sure you get all surfaces, between the teeth and just under the gums.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright after use.
Brush at least twice a day for two minutes — when you get up in the morning, preferably after breakfast; and before going to sleep for the night, after you have finished all eating and drinking for the day.
If you’re looking for more whitening power than brushing provides, talk with your dentist. Ensure your gums and mouth are healthy before using whitening products. Need a dentist in your area? Use our search tool to find one near you.