When it comes to having healthy teeth, we all know the basics. We grew up having them drummed into us: Brush twice a day, floss daily and visit your friendly dentist every six months. But wait. Is that enough to get the gorgeous smile? Sure, those good habits go a long way, but there are some hidden forces at play, too. It turns out that what you sip on all day matters. A lot.
As a dental hygienist, I could often spot the the effects, both good and bad, that certain beverages can have. In fact, just by the state of their teeth, I could instantly tell if someone had a soda addiction or was a red wine junkie. It was that obvious.
Now here comes the good news. While some drinks that are wreaking havoc on your pearly whites, there are also natural drinks that can do the opposite. These five natural drinks are the ones to reach for to give you the best, whitest smile. They’ll improve the health and appearance of your teeth—and fast.
5 DRINKS THAT WILL KEEP YOUR SPARKLING WHITE SMILE BRIGHT
Ok, I know water can be boring, but you know what is not boring? Beautiful, white, healthy teeth. Water works wonders for your teeth. It rinses away food particles from your teeth and gums, all while keeping your body. Plus, it encourages saliva production.
Why is saliva so important? Saliva keeps your mouth moist, fights germs, prevents bad breath and contains proteins and minerals that protect your enamel from decay and gum disease.
Tap water that is fluoridated is the best kind of water you can drink. The American Dental Association reports that water fluoridation reduces dental decay by 20 to 40 percent. Not sure if your tap water is fluoridated? Look it up on the Center for Disease Control’s website. Some bottled water brands also contain fluoride. Just check the label.
The white stuff is magical for your smile because it is filled with calcium, protein and Vitamin D. These vitamins are building blocks for strong teeth and healthy enamel. In fact, a study conducted by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research found that participants who took a calcium and Vitamin D supplement were 40 per cent less likely to lose their teeth.
That’s good enough to make us smile.
You may have heard about green tea’s benefits when it comes to maintaining your weight, and now we know it can also help you maintain a killer smile. There are stats to back up that claim. The Journal of Periodontology (gum disease) reports that researchers analyzed the gums of 940 men who drank green tea regularly and found that they had superior gum health over those who didn’t drink green tea. Plus, green tea lowers your saliva acidity, fights bacteria and has anti-inflammatory properties. All of these are pluses because they help thwart cavities.
Green tea also contains polyphenols. Studies published by PubMed have found that the regular intake of polyphenols may help protect you from oral cancer. Sign us up for that!
White tea is another great option. Why? Darker teas can stain your teeth. And last time we checked, brown teeth aren’t in style right now.
We know what you’re worried about: Red wine stains teeth so why is this crazy lady recommending it? Well, here’s a tidbit you didn’t know: Recent research has discovered that the grape seed extract found in red wine prevents cavities.
PS. Sometimes a woman just needs a glass (or two) of wine, and red wine is better for teeth than white wine. The fact is, white wine is more acidic and that acid can erode your enamel. Still, if you’re going to indulge, brush your teeth before and after you sip on the good stuff and try to drink water with your meal as well.
REAL FRUIT JUICE
Real fruit juice falls in the category of Drink occasionally, much like red wine. Even still, before you start chugging a gallon of Sunny Delight, here’s a disclaimer: Juice is only good for your smile if it’s real, natural fruit juice. Keep in mind that even if the label says fruit juice, the ingredient list is where you will find the truth. Many “juice” beverages only contain a small amount of real juice. Fillers, additives, artificial colouring, chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup are frequently added.
It’s best to pick a juice with a lower acid level. Cranberry, grapefruit, lemon and lime juice are the most acidic. And because they are bitter, sweeteners are often added for taste, introducing another bad-for-your-teeth element. Apple, orange and pineapple have less acid content and some are fortified with calcium and vitamins.
WHEN YOU DO INDULGE . . .
If you are going to indulge in an ice cold soda on a hot day or an Oreo milkshake with your husband, at the very least, sip it through a straw. When you swish soda around in the mouth, all that sugar coats your teeth. Think of it as giving your teeth a sugar bath. Plus, the acid and preservatives in soda can also weaken tooth enamel so always brush your teeth as soon as possible or they’ll be marinating in that sugar all day (or all night) long.
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Karen Simpson is a freelance writer, dental hygienist, mom blogger who’s passionate about staying active and healthy. Her writing passions include: overall health and fitness, and love of researching topics surrounding dental health, life-long nutrition, and how to help women living their busy lives. Informational credit to Dr. Wassmer at Bridge Creek Dental. Follow Karen on: Twitter | Linkedin