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Teeth serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, and within this latter area, whiteness is generally a top priority. White teeth have strong associations with good appearance and high self-esteem, helping craft a bright, friendly smile.

At the offices of family dentist John D. Stark, DDS, our various dental cleaning and deep cleaning services are just part of how we help you maintain a beautiful, white smile. Here are some additional tips we can offer in terms of basic daily habits that will promote whiter teeth without extra products or services required.

Brushing and the Tongue

Brushing the teeth sets the foundation for their white appearance, and also promotes healthy, pink gums that set a nice contrast. We know you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: A truly healthy smile is promoted by brushing twice daily for two minutes apiece, preferably with a combination toothpaste that includes whitening properties.

One important area to prioritize while brushing: The tongue. You may do a great job brushing away bacteria and food particles from your teeth and gums, but if you leave the tongue area clear, it can harbor this same bacteria and re-spread it onto the teeth, leading to yellowing issues. Be sure to brush the tongue all the way to the back each time.

Toothbrush Quality

If you’re truly brushing twice a day for two minutes apiece, your toothbrush should only last you around three to six months. This will obviously change if you use an electric model, of course. In either case, though, keep a close eye on toothbrush quality and replace yours as soon as it begins to wear down. Worn brushes cannot clean the teeth properly and may even transfer old bacteria into the mouth.

Straw Use

There are many beverages that may stain the teeth, such as coffee or red wine for instance. Luckily, you don’t have to avoid these altogether if you want a white smile – you can just use a straw to drink them, which limits how much time they spend in contact with your teeth.

Items to Promote and Avoid

Some foods and other items to avoid putting in your mouth whenever possible to promote white teeth:

  • Dark-pigmented foods or drinks such as coffee, wine, tea, berries and others
  • High-acid drinks like soda
  • High-citrus items like limes or lemons
  • Cigarettes
  • Various forms of processed food

On the flip side, one food group to promote is raw fruits and vegetables. These are both good for your overall health and a big positive for white teeth – they help you produce more saliva during chewing, which is a major tool for the mouth when it comes to clearing bacteria and keeping the teeth protected.

Post-Eating Habits

Ideally, we’d all be able to brush our teeth after every meal, particularly those that contain any foods or drinks that might stain the teeth. This isn’t always realistic, however, so when you can’t access a toothbrush, we just recommend swishing some water immediately after eating for about 30 seconds. This will loosen items still left in the teeth or gums, helping remove them before they stain or otherwise impact the mouth.

For more on keeping the teeth white and shiny, or to learn about any of our general dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS.