Find out how to enjoy (most of) your favourite foods and drinks this summer, as well as teeth-friendly alternatives and some tips on looking after your smile. If your teeth already have stains, teeth whitening treatments from your local dental clinic or in your own home (if clinically appropriate for you) may help to restore natural-looking whiteness. 

When you're taking care of your head-to-toe health this summer, don't forget about your teeth. If you want to maintain a sparkling smile, make sure you're looking after your oral health and avoiding habits that can dull or stain your teeth.

Follow good oral hygiene

Oral hygiene isn't just about appearance. However, by making sure your teeth and gums look their best with regular brushing and flossing, you're also reducing your risk of developing dental health problems.

When you go into holiday mode during the summer, it can be easy for your diet and your oral care routine to slip. You can avoid this by:

  • brushing your teeth at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste
  • flossing between your teeth once a day
  • using a fluoride mouthwash
  • following a healthy, balanced diet
  • replacing your toothbrush every three to four months
  • seeing your dentist for your regular check-up (e.g. every six months)

Avoid staining your teeth

If you're determined to maintain a white smile this summer, you should think about giving up or restricting your intake of food and drink that frequently causes stains, including (but not limited to):

  • red wine
  • coffee and tea
  • dark berries
  • beetroot

Tobacco can also stain your teeth so by quitting smoking or chewing tobacco you not only improve your health overall, but it’ll also help make your teeth brighter.

Certain medications can also cause teeth staining so talk to your doctor, pharmacist or dentist to find out if alternative medication is available.

Keep to a teeth-friendly diet

Avoiding stains doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food and drink! Try substituting some of these teeth-friendly options instead.

Try herbal infusions in place of tea and coffee. These are available in a huge variety of fruity flavours, a perfect fit for the summer (especially over ice!).

If you're a wine drinker, why not give white wine, a pink Moscato, or sparkling rosé a go?

If you don't want to give up red wine, you can reduce the risk of stains by cleaning your teeth around an hour before you drink, as this will leave less plaque on your tooth surfaces for the wine to stick to. However, you shouldn't brush your teeth soon after drinking wine, as the acidity of the wine can weaken the enamel and cause damage. Try to wait 20-30 minutes before brushing.

Rinsing your mouth with sparkling water between sips can also help to prevent red wine stains.

Consider adding these other teeth-friendly foods to your diet:

  • strawberries and citrus fruits to lift minor stains
  • apples, carrots and celery to stimulate saliva
  • seeds and nuts to abrasively remove plaque
  • cheese and other calcium-rich dairy products to strengthen your teeth

Teeth whitening treatments

If your teeth are already stained or naturally discoloured, talk to your dentist about whether teeth whitening treatments are suitable for you. Not everyone is suitable for teeth whitening. Your dentist will let you know if you're a candidate during your consultation. Teeth whitening will not be performed if not clinically inappropriate for you.

This cosmetic dental treatment is generally safe and painless. It can be completed in just an hour at your local dental clinic, but it will take longer if you prefer to take home a teeth whitening kit.

Professional teeth whitening

Your dentist will first perform a complete oral examination to check that your mouth is healthy and remove all plaque. They will then apply a protective gel to your gums before applying a hydrogen peroxide whitening solution to your teeth.

This solution is activated using either a laser or ultraviolet (UV) light, which is designed to lift stains and whiten the dentine (the main material your teeth are made of) by several shades, depending on your circumstances. The treatment is completed in several phases and usually takes around an hour during a single visit to the dental clinic.

Home teeth whitening

If you prefer to whiten your teeth at home, your dentist can provide a teeth whitening kit with a tray custom-fitted to your mouth.

Fill the tray with a whitening solution in daily sessions over the course of two weeks. Other home whitening methods are also available.

Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution, but may help your teeth to stay white for longer when you follow your dentist's recommendations, practice good oral hygiene and avoid staining habits.

Teeth whitening results will vary from person to person.

Want more to know more about teeth whitening?

Read more about teeth whitening here, or contact your local Bupa Dental team.

Find a local Bupa Dental clinic here