Five Ways to Prevent Teeth Stains

They are everywhere, even when you least expect them: stain-causers. Colored beverages, foods, medication and environmental factors can all turn your teeth from pearly white to dishwater gray or yellow. Here are a few who-would-have-thought ways to prevent teeth stains:

1. Don't chew ice.
"It creates microcracks in the tooth structure, which can absorb food stains more rapidly," says Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald E. Goldstein, DDS.

2. Chew sugarless gum.
Chewing leads to saliva production, which helps wash away food debris that can cause stains.

3. Take oral probiotics.
Unlike probiotics for digestive health, these probiotics are designed for the mouth. "They help the growth of normal flora in the mouth and disrupt the bad bacteria to limit staining, bad breath and inflammation," says Fort Lauderdale, FL, cosmetic dentist Nadja Horst, DMD

4. Drink colored beverages through a straw.
Sending the liquid straight to the back of the mouth allows less time for it to touch your teeth and potentially stain them.

5. Snack on apples.
Eating fresh apples can help keep your teeth bright. The malic acid in apples actually helps dissolve stains and clean teeth.

If the damage is already done and stains are present, professional bleaching with custom-made trays or light-accelerated teeth whitening can tackle most yellow stains.

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