When it comes to #beautygoals, a bright white smile is right up there with dewy bronzed skin, luscious locks, perfect pores, and long lashes. There’s just no better feeling than when your teeth glisten in pics… Or even in front of the mirror after a good brushing. Yet there are a million things that can keep them from shining bright like a diamond, like certain foods and beverages – even ingredients in your toothpaste. To help you out, we enlisted two top dentists to break down what to do and what not to do for the whitest chompers ever. Here’s what you need to avoid for a sparkling white smile:
1. Don’t Brush too hard: “It’s estimated that 20% of the population over brushes, so try to brush in a gentle massaging manner instead of ‘scrubbing’ the teeth,” advises Celebrity Dentist Kevin Sands. “Some whitening toothpastes also contain abrasive additives such as baking soda and hydrated silica, which may contribute to damaging the surface of the teeth, contributing to more stain accumulation over time. To safely whiten your teeth, visit your dentist for a professional gentle whitening and for a short-term fix for people who collect stain between the teeth, I recommend a floss with texture such as Cocofloss or a whitening floss.”
2. Avoid soda, coffee, tea, and red wine: These are the worst staining beverages, according to Sands. “Some meal replacements shakes such as green smoothies and colorful foods like blueberries may also cause staining, so the best defense against acidic staining foods and drinks is water because it dilutes the acidity and rinses away staining particles,” he says. And if you absolutely can’t live without these staining culprits, try and drink them over a short period of time, instead of sipping them throughout the day (through a straw to avoid direct contact with your teeth!). Make sure you drink water after any of these drinks, then, if you can, brush as soon as possible to keep stains at bay.
3. Skip sugary or sticky foods such as hard candies and caramels: According to Mitali Hariawala, DMD, MS and in-house dentist for Quip, exposing your teeth to this much sugar for a long period of time can lead to cavities.
4. Don’t try to DIY whiten with lemons or strawberries: “Summer is coming and you may be inclined to try and whiten your teeth the natural way, but the acids in these particular fruits wear away tooth enamel and can do permanent damage to your teeth,” says Hariawala. So, even though at HB HQ we’ve been fans of a strawberry DIY now and again, this isn’t something you should be doing too often.
5. Be careful of toothpastes containing charcoal: “Although they claim to remove stains, many can be abrasive and can cause harm when used incorrectly,” explains Hariawala.
6. Don’t choose a toothbrush with hard bristles: “These can damage your gums resulting in recession and enamel breakdown,” adds Hariawala. “Instead, choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles and enforces good habits (brushing for two minutes, twice a day and changing your brush head every three months) like the electric Quip toothbrush that comes with affordable head and toothpaste supplies and refill plans.”
And finally, don’t forget to floss 😉 Check out our fav drugstore whitening strips here.