Tips to Help Prevent Tooth Staining

A recent Reader's Digest article had some nice tips on preventing your teeth from staining that go beyond the basic common sense ones. The article uses coffee as an example of one of the things that can stain teeth. It mentions that your enamel (the hard outer coating) of your teeth has microscopic gaps. Those gaps get food and drink particles embedded and the longer they stay there, the more discoloring can occur to the other layers of your teeth. We like 7 out of their 8 tips to preventing staining. Here they are.

1) Brushing
No surprises here, right? Brushing removes plaque, and use of a whitening toothpaste even goes further to keeping those pearly whites ... well white.

2) Flossing
Goes hand in hand with brushing. Flossing just takes a few minutes daily, morning and night and helps to remove the plaque between teeth. Even that plaque causes staining, and worse (tooth decay).

3) Use a Straw
The less liquid that touches the teeth, the better. Drinking with a straw, say in the case of ice coffee can limit the possibility of staining, by keeping the coffee off your smile.

4) Make a Whitening Paste At Home
Mixing small amount of baking soda with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, creates a pretty effective home whitening paste. Done right, it shouldn't be runny OR too gritty. It should be just in between those textures.

5) Milk
Milk added to your tea or coffee latches onto the tannins in tea and coffee, according to the article, and eases the staining chances. Sorry dieters, but high-fat milk is best for this purpose.

6) Sip Water Between Cups of Coffee
Here's a good one. Drinking water between sips of coffee or tea can help to wash the staining chances away, and as you know ... you're supposed to be drinking more water anyway.

7) Drink It Quickly
The longer your teeth are exposed to coffee and tea, the more chance you have of creating stains.

We think these tips are pretty good. You might have to add a quick tooth brushing at work, if you drink your coffee on the way to work or at the office.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on teeth whitening and chewing gum to prevent dental caries. In addition, several whitening toothpastes and a whitening product have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The ADA also provides a list of sugar-free gum brands with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.