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5 Foods That Stain Your Teeth & Their Solutions

September 9th, 2018

A bright white smile can be the key to your confidence. If you are someone that suffers from stained or discolored teeth, there's no need to worry, the experts at Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics are here to help!
Our skilled orthodontists are committed to helping patients see the best results possible when it comes to dental and orthodontic longevity. To our doctors, good oral hygiene goes beyond routine check-ups; it means preserving your smile daily! That is why it’s important to be aware of the foods you are eating. You want to ensure that you’re not consuming too many stain-producing foods, and if you are, learn techniques to lessen the impact.
1. Coffee & Tea
I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but coffee and tea are the two biggest teeth staining culprits. Both coffee and tea contain natural compounds called tannins that are attracted to proteins in the enamel and cause your teeth to become stained. However, to most people, giving up their daily cup of coffee or tea is out of the question! So what do you do?
The Coffee & Tea Solution
Since most people need the help of caffeine to get going in the morning, we suggest drinking green or white tea (they are lower in tannins). If you’re not willing to change up your routine too much, simply try adding in some extra milk to help lighten things up and reduce teeth staining.
2. Soda
Not only is soda bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your teeth! Since soda is dark in color, it can cause your teeth to become discolored and stained if consumed in large quantities. Soda is also high in sugar and acid, which is very bad for tooth enamel and also contributes to teeth staining.
The Soda Solution
Long story short, while we suggest avoiding soda entirely, you may be able to prevent your teeth from getting stained if you drink your soda out of a straw, or switch to a lighter/ clearer colored soda instead.
3. White Wine
Believe it or not, white wine causes teeth staining! It seems odd that something so light in color can cause staining/ discoloration, but just like coffee and tea, white wines are high in tannins and acid, which are hard on your teeth and over time lead to staining.
The White Wine Solution
For our adult braces patients out there, in order to still enjoy a glass of wine without the fear of teeth staining teeth, we suggest brushing your teeth 30 minutes to 1 hour after drinking a glass of wine and drinking a glass of water as you sip on your wine.
4. Balsamic Vinegar
Just like coffee, tea, and soda, the dangerous combination of dark coloring and high acid makes balsamic vinegar a food substance to be wary of in regards to teeth staining.
The Balsamic Vinegar Solution.
Vegetables, especially lettuce and broccoli, have been shown to counteract the teeth staining effects of balsamic, as they are able to coat your teeth and protect them against the acid. So, leave the balsamic off your tomatoes and mozzarella, but you have the green light to use it in combination with salads and other veggies!
5. Soy Sauce
Before you enjoy your favorite sushi roll doused in soy sauce, just remember that it too can stain your teeth. Once again, the dark color of the food makes your teeth susceptible to discoloration. Additionally, soy sauce is very concentrated, which contributes to teeth staining even more.
The Soy Sauce Solution
Use your soy sauce sparingly and try to enjoy the flavors of your sushi and other food products au naturel.
Contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics
If any of the above food items are a part of your daily diet, we hope you consider some of our solutions to minimize your risk of teeth staining and discoloration. At Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics, ensuring a beautiful and confident smile is our mission. Our orthodontists and their team of experts are here to help you throughout your orthodontic journey in our Chicago and Vernon Hills offices. Please schedule an appointment with us today! We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Oral Hygiene in The Summer for Kids

August 2nd, 2018

They say one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and this applies to oral hygiene as well. As warmer temperatures arrive, we know kids and families are enjoying longer days, travel plans, less routine, and plenty of ice cream! While we encourage all of these indulgences, let’s discuss ways to maintain a good oral hygiene routine so that guilty pleasures don’t lead to cavities, which can affect your orthodontic treatment.

Set a Bedtime

Possibly the best part of summer, staying up extra late and sleeping in a little longer can do the most damage on proper dental hygiene routines. During the school year, kids establish habits of brushing and flossing before bedtime and upon waking, but when those routines disappear, so will those good habits. This is why your orthodontic and oral care experts at Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics encourage parents to set a flexible bedtime during the summer so kids continue to care for their teeth. Beyond supporting healthy and strong teeth, a flexible routine in the summer will lead to a smoother transition when school schedules come back into full swing!

Camps, Classes, & Sports

Another way to create a sense of routine in the summer can come from signing your child up for camps that encourage them to explore new interests and hobbies. These activities do not need to take up an entire day or full week, but some structure will provide a sense of normalcy that kids rely upon and thrive on. Of course, setting a healthy balance between activities and free time is important to ensuring kids still enjoy their summer break.


Discussing oral hygiene habits during the summer may seem out of the blue, but years of experience teach us that summer break can lead to the breakage of healthy oral hygiene habits. Talking about the subject can help keep it from escaping your kids’ minds. So, on your next camping trip or family getaway, take advantage of the opportunity to teach your child about their lifelong commitment to dental health by packing toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss, and committing to routines while on the go. This will protect the health of your child’s teeth and therefore also help their smile results post orthodontic treatment.

Contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics Today!

Keeping a good oral hygiene routine is vital. This is true throughout your life, and through the process becomes more difficult during orthodontic treatment, it still remains important. So this summer, don’t let your kids forget about maintaining the health of the teeth beneath their braces. Help them keep up with great oral hygiene and contact our Chicago or Vernon Hills office for tips and tricks to making oral hygiene with orthodontic treatment easier!

Braces & Your Oral Hygiene Routine

June 4th, 2018

Braces can make maintaining thorough oral hygiene difficult. However, there are some best practices and special tools you can use to make your oral hygiene routine easy and efficient!

Brushing Basics

Let's start with the basic brushing tools. Our orthodontists recommend choosing either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (a toothbrush that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges). Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can also work. But be sure that the electric brush you select is set to a moderate power level whenever you use it, and be mindful of the vibrations. You don’t want the back of your brush to hit your brackets or braces.

Best Practices

Our team of skilled orthodontists advises that you brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day (preferably after meals) for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all teeth surfaces: outside, inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. And be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, as well as between brackets and gums — that's where food particles can easily become trapped, causing decay.


Beginning at the outside surfaces, place the tips of toothbrush bristles flat against teeth then use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. For areas between braces and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, utilizing a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish by carefully brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the outside surfaces.

Special Oral Hygiene Tools

There are several tools that can make your oral hygiene routine simpler. A couple popular options include the interdental toothbrush (or proxabrush) and the Waterpik®. An interdental toothbrush has a small tuft of bristles that stick up like a pipe cleaner. It can be used to clean tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets. Meanwhile the Waterpik® shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies.

Healthy Smiles to Last A Lifetime

Every day that you keep your teeth and gums healthy is an investment in your future. Great oral hygiene enables you to get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, setting you on a path to a brighter smile. For more information about brushing and flossing, inquiries regarding braces, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics at our Chicago or Vernon Hills location today! We’d love to hear from you!


Dangers of Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Treatment

May 7th, 2018

If you’re going to do something, do it right. There are dangers involved with direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment. Learn about them now!

Today we live in a world where people want things instantaneously—goods delivered to their homes so they won’t have to go out and get what they need. While this can work with some typesproducts, when it comes to medical treatment of any sort people should reconsider.

If you’re having skin problems you should go see a dermatologist. If your vision is acting up you should make an appointment with an optometrist. And if you desire straighter teeth you should book an appointment with an orthodontist. Sure, you could get face cream, glasses, or even teeth straightening products like direct-to-consumer aligners delivered to your home. HOWEVER, without in-person evaluations that are necessary to understand your specific needs and situation, those fixes will not be as effective and may even cause you harm in the long-run.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) warns that (while online orthodontic companies make their treatment sound easy) without in-person evaluations and/or in-person supervision of your orthodontic treatment by an experienced orthodontist, your results may not be as reliable. They could even damage your teeth. After all, orthodontic treatment involves major movement of biological material in your mouth. So if done incorrectly, you could experience expensive and potentially irreversible oral/dental damage to your teeth, gums, bite, and more.

Before you decide to proceed with a direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment company, bear in mind this warning. Read more on the AAO’s blog today and consider these two important questions: What are you willing to sacrifice for saving a little time and money with a direct-to-consumer product? And is it better to do things the easy way or the right way?