PLANTATION, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bright green beer, milkshakes and other beverages, green cupcakes and donuts – even green pizza! Can these celebratory items really be consumed with no risk to a bright, white smile? Luckily, enjoying green food and drinks for just one day probably will not tint most people’s teeth an alarming shamrock shade. But DentalPlans.com warns that they may cause problems for people who have certain types of dental work.
Whitened Teeth: Those who have recently had a professional dental whitening treatment or used at-home bleaching kits/whitening strips should stay away from the green-dyed foods, just like they would red wine or red sauces. This is because newly whitened teeth are more porous for a few weeks after treatment and more vulnerable to staining. And, it would be a shame to spend all that money on whitening treatments, some of which cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, just to ignore the weeks of maintenance and end up with stained teeth all over again.
Ceramic/Clear Braces: Ceramic or clear braces – particularly clear brackets - easily pick up stains. And, it could take days to remove the dye, leaving people with green teeth temporarily.
Bonded Teeth/Overlays/Onlays: The bonding material (“glue”) used in some dental restoration work can become discolored when exposed to certain drinks and foods.
Tooth-colored Dental Fillings: Sometimes called composite restorations or white fillings, these can stain over time just like natural teeth do. One green milkshake probably will not be an issue, but overindulging in green-colored foods or drinks may add to stain build-up.
As a general rule of thumb, if a dentist has advised someone to limit consumption of dark-colored drinks such as red wine, coffee, and cola or foods like soy sauce, ketchup or spices such as turmeric, green St. Patrick’s Day goodies should also be avoided. If in doubt, check with a dentist before indulging.
If March 17 just is not the same without a green beverage, sipping through a straw can help keep the tint away from teeth, but this is unlikely to be an optimum solution when having a beer in an Irish pub.
Additionally, brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, or even chewing gum between meals can help to lessen the impact of the green dye.
But, for those without the dental issues listed above, green-colored St. Patrick’s Day treats should be smile-safe and nothing to worry about.
Typically, the festive green shade of St. Patrick’s Day specials is achieved by using the synthetic food dye FD&C Green No. 3 – also known as “Fast Green.” FD&C Green No. 3 has been approved for use in “cereal, ice cream, sherbet, drink mixers, and baked goods.”
Additions such as wheatgrass juice, spirulina, and matcha (green tea) are sometimes used in St. Patrick’s Day treats when a natural dye option is desired. And, some of these additions, like green tea, can be helpful in fighting bacteria that cause oral issues like plaque and bad breath. But whether natural or synthetic, these dyes can stain vulnerable teeth, dental devices, and restorations.
“Healthy teeth and gums are far more likely to withstand life’s little challenges, including festive holiday foods,” said Bill Chase, senior vice president of marketing for DentalPlans.com. “To keep smiles in celebration shape, maintain good at-home hygiene and get regular professional checkups and cleanings. And if budget issues put regular dental care out of reach, join a dental savings plan to save 10%-60% on dental care.”
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings online marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives. www.dentalplans.com.