Many of us would love to have whiter teeth to freshen our smile, boost our confidence and help us look great in photos. Yet, many things can cause teeth to look dark or stained, such as dark drinks like coffee or red wine, smoking or simply a genetic disposition for duller looking teeth. Teeth can also sometimes look yellow if the hard enamel surface has eroded away, revealing the dentine beneath. A dentist can offer advice and tips for taking care of your enamel and your teeth to keep them healthy and white for as long as possible.
However, if you are unhappy with the way your teeth look, there are several things you can do to brighten your teeth at home without having to resort to harsh chemicals or bleaches. Here are some natural methods to try for yourself. Always consult a doctor if you have any medical issues or concerns related to your oral health before embarking upon any teeth whitening activities.
Baking soda has naturally abrasive properties that are mild enough not to damage your teeth if you brush them with it. It is a common ingredient in commercially available toothpastes and perfectly safe to brush directly onto the teeth to help brighten their appearance. The abrasion helps rub stains away, while the alkalinity reduces the build-up of bacteria. Using baking soda is not a quick fix to whiten your teeth at home, but should help yield positive results over time. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water to form a paste and use as you would a regular toothpaste and toothbrush.
Apple cider vinegar
Many tooth-whitening fans swear by apple cider vinegar, due to the acetic acid it contains. This gives the vinegar powerful anti-bacterial properties that help keep the plaque-producing bacteria to a minimum. Use sparingly, however, as overuse can cause erosion of the tooth enamel. It is best used as a mouthwash, diluted with water and used for few minutes only, a couple of times a week. Rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards.
This traditional folk remedy has been gaining in popularity for all kinds of reasons lately. It is a simple process, involving swilling oil around in your mouth, pushing it in and around your teeth and gums for around 15 minutes before spitting it out. Popular choices of oil include coconut, sesame and sunflower. Use about a tablespoon full. While research around the oil pulling is limited, many believe the process helps whiten teeth by reducing plaque-producing bacteria in the mouth and rinsing stains from the surface of the teeth. Other reported benefits include tackling bad breath, improving gum health and protecting against cavities by removing harmful bacteria.
Fruit and veg
Everyone knows the wisdom of having your ‘five a day’, but some fruit and vegetables can also help in the quest to brighten up dull teeth. Many believe that the malic acid found in strawberries can help remove discolouration, while crunching on raw vegetables, such as celery or carrots can help buff away yellowing plaque and dislodge stains through the action of being rubbed against the surface of your teeth as you chew. Introducing more raw vegetables into your diet brings a whole multitude of health benefits, but it is advised to only use strawberries specifically for teeth whitening purposes a couple of times a week at most to prevent over-erosion of tooth enamel.
Prevention is better than cure…
It goes without saying that taking good care of your teeth, maintaining excellent oral hygiene and making sure you book in for regular check ups with your dentist is the best way to maintain beautiful, bright teeth. Your dentist can spot problems quickly and correct them. He or she can also advise on cosmetic procedures, while seeing a hygienist regularly will help your teeth stay clean and fresh with a professional scale and polish.
At home, you can also do a lot to preserve your oral health and white look of your teeth. Avoid consuming excess sugar and other foods that encourage the build-up of bacteria and plaque. Make sure you get plenty of calcium to help your teeth stay strong and to preserve your enamel. Cutting down on dark coloured drinks will also help prevent staining, including tea, coffee, cocoa and red wine. Smoking can be very harmful to your teeth, as well as all the other associated health risks, so aim to cut that out of your life as quickly as possible if you currently indulge. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and never underestimate the importance of flossing afterwards.
Finally, speak to your dentist if you are interested in other methods of teeth whitening. They can advise you on the benefits and risks for your own particular circumstances.
This article has been sponsored by Q-Online
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