Back in the day, getting your teeth whitened required a trip to the dentist and a sizable chunk of change. But these days, the options for teeth whitening are remarkably convenient and infinitely more affordable. From whitening strips to specially designed toothpaste and even toothbrushes that promise to whiten up your smile, the range of available options is plentiful.
But if you’d like to keep your teeth from yellowing in the first place and, in the process, avoid all of the quick-fix measures above, a dentist named Dr. Tristan Peh recently took to TikTok and said that a common brushing technique can prematurely yellow your teeth.
According to Peh, teeth are naturally yellow due to the dentin layer of tissue located below the enamel. And so while some people believe that brushing their teeth vigorously will help keep their teeth white, Peh relays that hyper-aggressive brushing can actually wear away the white teeth enamel.
“When the enamel wears away,” Peh writes, “the teeth become more yellow and can also become more sensitive.”
The solution, according to Peh, is to simply brush your teeth more gently and to use a soft toothbrush if possible.
Another way to keep your smile vibrant is to avoid excessive intake of foods and drinks that tend to stain your teeth, a list that includes black coffee, tea, wine, tomato-sauce-based foods, soda, balsamic vinegar, berries, and dark juices.
According to Dr. Joseph Salim, acidic drinks like red wine and soda are particularly worrisome as they can easily muddy up an otherwise flawless smile:
As the enamel becomes rougher and its overall surface area increases, this can pave the way for the colors found within foods and beverages we consume to become etched to the surface of your teeth.
With respect to berries and fruits, Healthline notes:
Blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and other dark berries contain a dark pigmentation that can cause staining on teeth.
Salim says tiny organic particles can penetrate the pores in your tooth enamel and remain attached. If your teeth have a higher porosity, this will lead to more persistent stains. That’s why your teeth can turn purple and may continue to have a purplish hue after eating blueberries.
Like deep-colored fruits, dark-pigmented juices — like cranberry, grape, beet, pomegranate, and blueberry — can also discolor your teeth.
All told, if you’re trying to keep your teeth white and healthy, experts recommend avoiding the food items listed above when possible. And while avoiding the above foods entirely obviously isn’t an option, you’d be well-advised to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth immediately after consuming said items.
Dentists also recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and last but not least, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash every 24 hours.