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    Many of us spend a fair amount of time analyzing the oral hygiene products we’re using, and trying to choose formulations that will help our smiles shine. However, few of us spend as much time to thinking about how foods and beverages affect our smiles.

    That is why our Cheney dentists are here to help! We have seen firsthand how impactful dietary changes can be for our patients. Keep reading to learn more about the foods and drinks for which you should watch out.

    Staining Substances

    Certain foods and beverages can leave color deposits on our teeth, and leave our smiles looking dark and stained over time. Some prime examples of discoloring substances include:

    • Coffee and tea
    • Red wine
    • Deeply colored sauces, including tomato sauces
    • Chocolate
    • Soy sauce
    • Dark juices
    • Richly colored fruits and veggies like blueberries and beets

    In order to protect your smile, it is best to limit your consumption of staining substances, and to rinse your mouth with water after you finish eating or drinking.

    Oral Acid

    Another thing to look out for is acid—both acid present in food or drink or acid produced by oral bacteria. When your dental enamel comes into contact with acid, the enamel becomes temporarily softened and weaker. As you would imagine, this leaves the tooth vulnerable to damage and erosion. Wine, fruit juices, and soft drinks are all quite acidic. Additionally, many fruits, sugary treats, and processed meats lead to acid-related damage.

    Some keys to minimizing acid damage include staying hydrated with water, rinsing your mouth after eating or drinking, and consuming acidic things in short periods of time, rather than continuously throughout the day. It’s also important to wait for about 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure to brush your teeth; your enamel is softer than normal during this time period.

    Optimizing your diet to protect your smile is simpler than you may think. Contact our Cheney dentists to get more information, and to schedule a consultation with our team! 


    Many patients are very alert for signs of dental discoloration and cavity development, but less diligent about screening for oral cancer. Because oral cancer is most easily, quickly, and conservatively treated as it first develops, early detection is key. Keep reading to learn more from our Cheney dentists about cancerous tissues.

    There are certain substances and habits that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

    • Alcohol consumption: patients who consume a moderate to large amount of alcohol experience oral cancers at higher rates than non-drinkers and infrequent drinkers. Keep in mind that your risk further increases if your regularly drink higher proof alcohols.
    • Diet: here’s some good news—when you consume antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, you actually help to lessen your risk of developing many types of cancer, including oral cancers.
    • Tobacco use: tobacco products, including chew, cigarettes, and cigars leave you vulnerable to oral cancer development. For example, smoking increases oral cancer risk by as much as nine times.  
    • Sun exposure: we all know that SPF is critical for protecting your skin from damage, but it’s just as important for your lips. Look for lip glosses and balms that include SPF in order to safeguard your lips day to day.

    There are also some risk factors that are outside of your direct control, but by being aware of them, you can undergo dental screenings more often if necessary.

    • Age: as you get older, your likelihood of developing oral cancer increases; over 90% of oral cancers occur in patients over the age of 40.
    • Race: statistically, the African American community has a higher rate of oral cancer than Caucasians.
    • Family history: if there is a history of oral cancer in your family, let your dental team know so that they can put you on an appropriate cleaning and screening schedule.

    If you want to learn more about protecting your oral health, and oral cancer management/treatment, please give our Cheney dentists a call!