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Avoid a Green Smile on St. Patty's Day

Keep your smile white this St. Patty's Day.
Kelly Wilson

St. Patty's Day is known for the "wearing of the green" as people celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. However, all of that green food coloring can dull a bright smile.

Why "Wear the Green"?

Also known as St. Patrick's Day, March 17th is actually recognized as the day of death of St. Patrick himself (AD 385–461), the patron saint of Ireland. Using the three leaves of the shamrock, St. Patrick taught followers about the Holy Trinity.

St. Patrick continues to be celebrated around the world with a tradition known as the "wearing of the green." Traditionally, this included decorated clothing with shamrocks - fake or real - and green ribbons. Now, we have green hats, necklaces, socks and more to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Avoid Green Food Coloring on St. Patty's Day

While green beer, green baked goods, green eggs, and even green ice cream can be fun, the added coloring can rapidly effect a white smile.

"If it's possible, it's best to avoid eating green food or drinking green beer or other beverages of that color on St. Patty's Day," says Dr. De Graff, a dentist in Burlingame Portland. "Food coloring is powerful and can quickly turn your smile a bit green before you know it."

If celebrating St. Patty's Day is part of the plan for this weekend as well as the 17th, stick with traditional food like corned beef and cabbage and opt for beer that does not contain food coloring.

Whitening a Dull Smile

If green food and drink cannot be avoided during the St. Patrick's Day celebration, there are ways to get your smile back to a lovely brightness starting March 18th.

Basic daily dental care is always important, regardless of the time of year. Start removing the "wearing of the green" on your teeth by brushing with a whitening toothpaste. Follow it up with flossing thoroughly to remove lingering plaque.

To whiten teeth faster, call your dentist and inquire about in-office and at-home teeth whitening services. Dentists often offer customized bleaching trays and gels for regular patients at minimal or no cost. These work better than what you can find over the counter, and restores a white smile in no time at all!

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