Everyone wants to smile confidently without worrying about discoloured teeth. In fact, a recent survey showed that about 80% of Americans between ages 18-49 want whiter teeth. This is just one reason to keep your annual dentist appointment. But if you want to enhance your beauty between check-ups, you’ll want to put an end to some bad habits. Here are just a few behaviors you’ll want to nip in the bud if you want a brighter, whiter smile.

Drinking Acidic Beverages

Some people cannot picture their lives without tea or coffee, yet these two are the biggest culprits in staining your teeth. That said, you don’t have to cut them off completely. Limit your intake and make it a habit to drink water when you are done drinking tea or coffee. You should also brush your teeth after your morning cup. Red wine and orange juice are also notorious for staining your teeth While you don’t have to abstain from a glass of Merlot or a cup of OJ every so often, keep it to a minimum to reduce staining and brush your teeth when you’re finished to protect your enamel.

Smoking

One of the top causes of yellow teeth is smoking. Tobacco products can stain your teeth over time, causing them to darken. These stains are also stubborn to remove. Of course, smoking can be highly detrimental to your health in other ways. If you quit, follow an oral care routine, floss daily, and use some teeth whitening products, your smile can improve.

Eating Certain Foods

Unfortunately, your diet can be a culprit of teeth staining. Tomatoes, berries, and curry contain pigments that cling to the enamel, staining the surface. Even healthy salads dressed in balsamic vinegar can eventually stain enamel. A diet rich in simple carbohydrates and sugar can also cause your teeth to discolor. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to completely overhaul your diet. Eating everything in moderation is always a good way to go. Around 13.5% of American adults have admitted to eating about 20 or more chocolate chip cookies in one seating. While you may not want to stay away from the cookies, cutting down on certain kinds of foods — and remembering to brush and floss after you eat them — can help to protect your smile.

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can wear down the tooth enamel and exacerbate painful conditions like TMJ. While there are a number of reasons to address this issue, it actually can lead to staining when the teeth become chipped and worn down; grinding your teeth essentially makes them more vulnerable to decay. This can alter your appearance, lead to tooth sensitivity, and create even more dental issues down the line. Talk to your dentist about being fitted for a mouth guard, consider facial massage, or get to the bottom of what’s causing you to stress out while you sleep.

Chewing Ice

Like teeth grinding, chewing ice can lead to a number of other oral health problems. Among other things, chewing on ice can do a number on your tooth enamel, which can lead to (you guessed it) staining, cracking, and more. Because ice chewing may be indicative of other health conditions, like anemia or pica, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about what might be causing this habit and find healthier ways to address it.

Bad Oral Healthcare

You might like the thought of standing out in a crowd. Once a week, for example, about 82% of young men will wear odd socks. But you might not want to stand out for your poor oral health habits. Failing to brush and floss regularly — or skipping out on regular dental appointments — can lead to cavities, staining, bad breath, and other health problems. While it might not be your favorite activity, taking care of your teeth is essential for your overall well-being. If that doesn’t convince you, think about the fact that most people won’t want to be around someone with a stained smile and bad oral hygiene!

Most people desire white teeth, but a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office isn’t the only way to improve your smile. Stay away from habits that can lead to discoloration and make a habit of seeing a dentist annually.