Question: HELP! My teeth have turned green after drinking green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. I can’t go to work like this. Is there anything I can do at this point? Is there any way to prevent your teeth from turning green after coming into contact with green food coloring?
Answer: On St. Patrick’s Day, all around the world, green beer, green baked goods, green eggs, and even green ice cream abound.
What most people don’t realize is that the added green food coloring can have you showing up at work the next day with green teeth.
How Can I Prevent Green Teeth After St. Patrick’s Day?
Prevention is key here. Avoid eating green food, drinking green beer or other beverages of that color on St. Paddy’s Day. Food coloring is powerful and can quickly turn your smile a bit green before you know it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate! Just stick with traditional Irish food like corned beef and cabbage (a wonderful fermented food!) and opt for beer that does not contain food coloring.
Is It Too Late If My Teeth Are Already Green?
If you already have green teeth, it’s not too late.
Start by brushing with a whitening toothpaste. Follow up with flossing.
Simply removing the outer layer of the tooth, called the pellicle, with basic dental hygiene and a whitening toothpaste, which is essentially a normal toothpaste, just more abrasive, which helps remove surface staining, in this case, the green stains from the food coloring.
If that doesn’t work, see your dentist, who can help you whiten your teeth further or get you in for a teeth cleaning that can help remove the surface staining caused by the green food coloring.
In short, if you have consumed something green, your best defense against staining your teeth is brushing shortly after consumption. I know, how practical is that?
So why not make it simple? Drink a dark beer, which cannot be dyed to look green. Mine will be a Devil’s Canyon Full Boar Scotch Ale — my favorite!
Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
Mark Burhenne DDS