The Hollywood Smile

I’m a sucker for a set of white gnashers. And when it comes to getting that perfect “Hollywood smile”, a surprising number of foods may be standing in your way. It’s not all about tooth whitening or the right toothpaste.

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Most of us know that we need to avoid things like strong cups of tea, coffee and red wine, but there are other foods that can cause just as much staining and damage to our pearlies.


It has been touted as a health(ier) snack option, but popcorn isn’t the best choice for your teeth, getting stuck in the spaces in between and causing a build-up of plaque.

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They’re actually full of starch, which turns to sugar in the mouth, creating bacteria and causing plaque if you don’t brush and floss soon after eating them.

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White bread

Bread is soft and doughy and apparently harmless to teeth, but white bread contains sugar. It dissolves and creates erosive acids when you chew, so if you’re going to eat it then rinse with mouthwash afterwards.

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Tomatoes are surprisingly very acidic, which means they can cause tooth erosion and damage the enamel – especially if you’re eating them raw. If you’re having tomatoes as a salad then make sure you eat them with other foods, like lettuce leaves, so your teeth aren’t directly exposed.

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Breath mints

These mints are often kept in your mouth for a long time. This allows them to coat your teeth in sugar. Always choose sugar-free options, if you can, to reduce the damage.


Pickles? Yes, seemingly harmless sandwich fillers are high in both sugar and acidity. The good news is, eating a piece of cheese after a pickle can help reduce some of the damaging effects.

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Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic is full of acid as well as being deeply pigmented – which can stain your teeth as well as damaging enamel. Try olive oil as a more tooth-pleasing alternative.

Certain fruits

Citrus fruits have high acid levels, which can damage the tooth enamel. For a healthier option for your smile, Dr Marques, a dental hygiene specialist, recommends eating more bananas and watermelons, and drinking fruit juices through a straw. Also, dried fruit contains a surprising amount of sugar – and the stickier the fruit (like dried apricots) the more remnants there are to get stuck in between your teeth.

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