Do you have an insecurity about how white your smile appears? Or are you self-conscious when you smile because your smile is not as bright as it once was? Over time, the enamel on your teeth becomes thinner and more transparent, while the inner layer darkens. No matter your age, certain foods and beverages you consume can cause discoloration of your teeth.
There are many cost-effective ways to improve and enhance the way your teeth look from the comfort of your home. If you would like to brighten your smile, there are a few simple steps to help brighten your smile while minimizing staining.
Causes of tooth staining
There is nothing more embarrassing than overly yellowed teeth. In order to treat them and become whiter and brighter, we have to evaluate what is causing this yellowed appearance. Your teeth have a smooth layer of enamel, which is typically white in color. There is an additional layer called dentin, which shows when the enamel is wearing out. The wear out of the enamel can be the result of undesirable lifestyle, dietary, and oral habits.
The wearing of your enamel includes inadequate brushing and flossing, consumption of dark-colored beverages such as coffee or tea, and smoking. Other lifestyle habits can also cause damage to the tooth enamel such as biting your nails, grinding your teeth, and consuming excessive amounts of sugary drinks or sodas. There are certain foods that can cause tooth staining, which include the following:
- Sports drinks
- Colored fruits and berries
- Deeply colored sauces
- Sweets (candies, popsicles, chewing gum)
Replace your manual toothbrush with an electric toothbrush
When your toothbrush bristles are worn down, they are not able to clean between your teeth correctly. You must replace your toothbrush every few months, or when you can visibly see the bristles bent. If you aren’t using an electric toothbrush, you should start. It will take your hygiene levels up a notch.
Use whitening toothpaste and baking soda
Whitening toothpastes have formulas that are safe on teeth and help prevent stains from forming. Shaking some baking soda on your toothpaste can help enhance and whiten your teeth further.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue
It is also important to brush your tongue as it accumulates bacteria and can lead to discoloration and prevent bad breath. If you use a soft toothbrush and long strokes starting at the back of your tongue and then rinsing your brush after each stroke.
Floss and use an oral irrigator
You should floss not only between each tooth but below the gum line too to prevent plaque build-up from sticking to your teeth and dulling them. Oral irrigation uses a pulse of water to clean between your teeth, gum line, and around implants, under bridges and braces.
Rinse after eating citrus foods
Citrus foods deposit acid on your tooth that can erode your enamel. It is recommended you rinse your mouth with cool water before brushing your teeth so as to ensure your enamel is protected from the acids.
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian remedy that is used to improve your oral hygiene and can help remove toxins from the body. This remedy involves swishing oil around in your mouth to remove bacteria that can turn into plaque, which causes your teeth to yellow. Indians traditionally use sunflower or sesame oil, but all kinds of oils can work. Coconut oil is a popular choice due to its pleasant taste.
Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is known for its anti-inflammatory attributes and its ability to kill bacteria. There are no scientific studies that prove oil pulling whitens your teeth, however, it’s definitely worth a try. Be sure to spit out the coconut oil in a toilet or trash can so as to not clog your sink.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that is also able to kill bacteria hiding in your mouth. People have used hydrogen peroxide for many years to help disinfection wounds. Many commercial whitening products actually contain hydrogen peroxide in a much higher concentration than you will use at home.
One way to use hydrogen peroxide is as a mouth wash before your brush your teeth. Be sure that you are using a 1.5% or 3% solution to avoid any negative side effects. The most common hydrogen peroxide concentrations are a 3% solution. You can dilute this by mixing equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide.
Another way to use this is by combining 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and gently brushing your teeth with this mixture. Limit your use to a few times a week as this can erode your tooth enamel.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a disinfectant and natural cleaning product for centuries. Acetic acid, the main ingredient in apple cider vinegar, kills bacteria. The antibacterial component of vinegar is what allows it to be used for cleaning your mouth and helping to whiten your teeth. You may use it as mouthwash and dilute it with water and swish it around your mouth for a few minutes. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
Use a straw
To avoid staining your teeth further, you can sip liquids such as iced tea, soda, fruit juices, and coffee through a straw. This allows you to enjoy the drinks you like while avoiding stains on your teeth.
Chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sweetener which can help prevent plaque. While plaque feeds on sugar it cannot digest xylitol. Xylitol neutralizes pH levels in our mouths and increases saliva production and cleans the mouth naturally.
The newest, natural trend to help whiten your teeth is by using activated charcoal. Brushing your teeth with powdered charcoal is known to pull out toxins from the mouth and removes stains from the teeth. It is also a natural way to get rid your body of a variety of toxins.