One inquisitive omnivore’s journey towards healthier and more compassionate eating…

(Click here for why I started)

(MEATLESS/VEGETARIAN/VEGAN) I love my morning smoothie. Since discovering the Nutribullet, I drink one almost everyday and truly believe I’m much healthier because of it. I eat more vegetables and fruits than I ever have before, include power-nutrient boosts like flax and hemp seeds in my diet daily, and no longer crave junky bagels and muffins with my morning coffee.

The NutriBullet is a portable, high speed blender/mixer system that pulverizes your fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds into nutritious shakes, soups and dips. Photo credit:
Consuming green vegetables and colorful fruits is the best way to stay healthy and it’s easy to do with a morning smoothie. But if you’re not careful, these disease fighting foods can also stain and damage your teeth. Photo credit:

So just as I’m feeling good about my new healthy self, I find out I may actually be sabotaging my teeth. I endured two years of braces and umpteen years of a night-retainer, so I definitely don’t want to start ruining them now. But it turns out all the vitamin-packed green vegetables and colorful fruits that are so wonderful for our health, may be taking their toll on our pearly whites.

The color in foods comes from chromogens, highly pigmented molecules that easily adhere to tooth enamel. So in other words, they’re staining our teeth. And it’s even worse when they’re combined with tannins, found in citrus fruits and legumes, because the tannins boost the chromogens’ ability to stick to the enamel.

Photo credit:
Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables may be taking a toll on our teeth. Photo credit:

The natural sugars in fruit and vegetable juices can also cause tooth decay. Lemons in particular. The ascorbic acid in the vitamin C can cause the enamel to erode, making our teeth doubly vulnerable to staining. Vibrant-colored fruits like cherries, blackberries and blueberries—one of my smoothie favorites—are also big tooth discoloring culprits.

So, do we need to sacrifice our health by eating less cancer fighting, heart healthy fruits and vegetables just to maintain a glistening white smile? Thankfully, the answer is no.

Enjoying your smoothie through a straw can help keep your teeth sparkling./Photo credit:
Enjoying your smoothie through a straw can help keep your teeth white. Photo credit:

Just follow these tips and your teeth will continue to sparkle:

  1. Enjoy your smoothie, then rinse – drink your healthy veggie and fruit concoction and simply rinse your mouth afterwards. Just take a few sips of water to dilute the teeth-staining foods.
  2. Embrace the kid in you – drink your smoothie through a straw to help minimize contact with your teeth.
  3. Get rid of the sour puss – avoid using chromogens and tannins together by eliminating citrus fruit from your smoothie.
  4. Brush, brush, brush – at least 2 to 3 time a day, but make sure to wait half an hour because your tooth enamel is more vulnerable just after eating and drinking.

— Lisa Singer, exclusive to Global Animal