by Dr. Sean Moran on March 13, 2012
Some of the biggest culprits for stained teeth are the foods we eat or drink. Typically, anything with a dark color will likely affect your teeth. These include things like coffee, red wine, and even dark sodas and juices. If you can’t bear to do away with these things completely, be sure to brush immediately afterwards, and consider using an over-the-counter bleaching kit or a teeth whitening procedure from your dentist.
Certain foods, like many fruits and vegetables, have the exact opposite effect as the stain-causers discussed above. These foods have a hard texture, and scrape plaque and bacteria off your teeth as you eat. Apples, raw carrots, celery, and unsweetened popcorn are all excellent and healthy choices. And for best results, these should be the final things you eat during a meal.
Bacteria builds up on your toothbrush over time, so while you may think you keeping up with your oral health, you are just putting (sometimes harmful) bacteria back in your mouth. It is best to change your toothbrush, or replace the head of an electric one, every few months.
Plaque is not just a tooth problem; it can build up on your tongue as well, and is one of the leading causes of bad breath (halitosis). A tongue scraper does a much better job than just brushing your tongue, so use it every morning.
Both of these substances give an extra boost to your oral health regimen by helping remove stains and killing bacteria. Apple cider vinegar can be used every morning as a gargle before normal brushing, and baking soda should be brushed with once a week as you would with normal toothpaste. (Just avoid using both at once or you might find yourself in a middle school science experiment.)
It may seem a bit difficult at first, but practice flossing without using a mirror. Once you have mastered this, you can floss anywhere such as in your car or at your desk. Make a habit out of flossing regularly and leave several packages in the areas you frequent throughout the day.
At a minimum you should brush your teeth when you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep at night. Saliva tends to dry up during the night, so (since it helps prevent plaque buildup) its best brush off all the plaque before this vulnerable period. Brushing first thing in the morning also helps remove plaque and bacteria that has built up as you slept.