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Holiday foods can leave stains on teeth after the season

December 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Americans spend more than $1.4 billion on over-the-counter products to whiten their teeth. But one local dentist says there are foods you can avoid, especially around the holidays, to help brighten your smile.

What stains your teeth more, coffee or green tea? It may surprise you to learn that tea stains more. The reason is that substances in tea leaves stick to teeth more than coffee.

"The tea or the coffee combines with the saliva and sticks to the teeth, and then that's where the staining comes from," said cosmetic dentist Dr. Kourosh Maddahi.

Maddahi says while coffee, tea and soda are a year-round threat to a bright, white smile, the staining effects of holiday foods like blueberry pie, cranberries and hot cocoa can stick around long after the season is over.

"The more porous the teeth are, the more staining that they get," said Maddahi.

Maddahi recommends brushing your teeth or chewing gum immediately after eating. And when you drink, use a straw.

"Drinking any tea or coffee with an open cup is what is more staining than anything else," said Maddahi.

Besides using a straw to protect your teeth, Maddahi says there are actually some teeth-whitening foods that you can eat.

"If you eat apple, celery or strawberries, you can actually whiten and clean your teeth faster and get rid of some of the staining effects of some of the other foods that you eat during the holiday seasons," said Maddahi.

It's a stain-stopping strategy experts say way will help you keep you smiling all season long.