An Irish proverb says, “A good word never broke a tooth”. With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, here are some good words about keeping your smile bright as you celebrate.
Green is the predominant color of St. Patrick’s Day. From wearing green clothes to drinking green beer, the color green permeates the day. Many foods, including green beer, are dyed using green food coloring. This artificial color may stain any plaque that’s on your teeth. Hardly the look that most of us want!
Clean teeth are the best defense against staining. If you haven’t had your teeth professionally cleaned recently, schedule an appointment to remove the hard and soft buildups that accumulate. Brush and floss before your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to remove any new plaque that’s formed. You may also want to take a travel toothbrush with you just in case you need to freshen up your smile.
If you have tooth colored or “white” fillings (also called bonded fillings or composites), be aware that alcohol softens the filling material, making it more likely that it will stain. Unlike stained plaque, you won’t be able to remove the stain from your filling. The only way to remove the stain is to have your dentist replace the filling material.
As in most cases, the more often the contact, the more likely the material is to stain. If you’re able to switch to a more neutral colored drink or use a non-alcoholic version, you reduce the potential for staining. Another option is to try to keep the color away from your front teeth by using a straw.
You may also want to avoid artificially colored foods and drinks if you’ve recently whitened your teeth. The whitening process makes your tooth structure more porous. This allows the active ingredient in the whitening material to penetrate your tooth and lighten it, but it allows stains to enter as well. This is why your dentist tells you to avoid heavily pigmented foods and drinks, such as red wine, coffee/tea, and mustard, while you are whitening your teeth.
If you haven’t started your teeth whitening program, wait until after your St. Patrick’s Day celebration to do so to minimize staining. If you’re in the process of whitening, stop several days before you plan to eat or drink highly colored foodstuffs, but be aware that this might reduce the overall level of whitening you achieve.
I hope these few tips will help you to keep your smile at its brightest as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Please remember if you do drink, do so responsibly. If you have any questions on this or other dental topics, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 440-960-1940 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comment box on my website at www.drjrobb.com.