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Why green on St. Patrick’s Day?

Columbia Dentistry

Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.

So why does the world go green on St. Patrick’s Day? St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made them invisible to leprechauns and fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see who was not wearing green. People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch them.

Columbia DentistryAnd on St. Patrick’s Day, all around the world partygoers celebrate the holiday with green beer, green baked goods, green eggs, and even green ice cream. Many times we are asked if there is any way to prevent teeth from turning green after coming into contact with green food coloring.

What most people don’t realize is that the added green food coloring can turn your teeth green, much to the dismay of your boss and those around you.

 

How can you prevent green teeth after a St. Patrick’s Day celebration?

Prevention is key – avoid eating green food, drinking green beer or other beverages of that color on St. Paddy’s Day. Food coloring is quite powerful and can quickly turn your smile an unattractive shade of green rather quickly.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate! Try sticking with traditional Irish food like corned beef and cabbage and choose beer that does not contain food coloring.

Is it too late if my teeth have already turned green?

Don’t worry – if you already have green teeth, it’s not too late. Start by brushing with a whitening toothpaste and follow up with flossing. Simply removing the outer layer of the tooth with a whitening toothpaste helps remove surface staining – in this case the green stains from the food coloring.

If that doesn’t work, schedule an appointment with our office – we can help you whiten your teeth further or schedule you 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. So why not make it simple? Drink a dark beer, which cannot be dyed to look green.