Are you reluctant to smile due to your yellowing or stained teeth? A mouth full of less than white teeth can make us feel less than perfect. Face it, yellow teeth are not attractive and we all want to look good – and a having nice smile is a big part of that.
Face it, yellow teeth are not attractive and we all want to look good – and a having nice smile is a big part of that.
Unfortunately, with age our teeth tend to yellow, and it doesn’t help that many of the things we like to eat and drink stain our teeth. At home kits can be tricky and often don’t deliver the results you want and professional teeth whitening is an investment you may not want to make.
Don’t worry, there are many things you can do to help whiten your teeth and keep them white, without bleaching.
You don’t have to live with a smile you don’t want to share. Read on to find out how you can keep your pearly whites – white and pearly, naturally.
1. Baking soda - a great cost-effective stain eraser
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is great for removing surface stains on teeth and has long been used to brighten yellowing smiles. It’s composed of a chemical compound and is mildly abrasive. Its gritty texture scrubs and polishes your tooth enamel wiping out stains. It also fights bad breath. Don’t expect overnight results, but it will definitely whiten your teeth when used regularly. You’ve probably noticed many brands of toothpaste include baking soda, but it is not enough to truly whiten your teeth.
Add a pea size amount to your toothpaste before you brush and brush as normal.
You may want to consider keeping a carton of baking soda by your sink. Add a pea size amount to your toothpaste before you brush and brush as normal. Thoroughly rinse your mouth with water after brushing.
Be cautious not to overuse this technique. With prolonged use you could cause damage your tooth enamel. Keep in mind baking soda doesn’t kill bacteria or contain fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth and prevents cavities, so you definitely need to continue using your regular toothpaste. If you have braces or a permanent retainer, don’t brush with baking soda. It can soften the glue they use.
You may experience tingling or irritation along your gums while brushing with baking soda. If you experience severe discomfort you should stop brushing and immediately rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide - an inexpensive way to whiten
Most of us already have a brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide around the house in case of a cut or scratch. But did you know hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that works quite well on your teeth? If you don’t already have a bottle you can purchase one for around $1.39. You will want the get the 3 percent solution that says “to use as rinse or gargle” on the label.
There are many different ways to use hydrogen peroxide for whitening but the most popular and most simple is to simply swish it around in your mouth prior to brushing. Pretend it’s your regular mouthwash, roll a couple of tablespoons of it around in your mouth for a minute or two, then spit it out. Brush as usual.
After you open the bottle it will only maintain it’s effectiveness for about 45 days. You can refrigerate it to make it last longer.
Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that is actually very close in composition to water, (water is H2O, Hydrogen Peroxide is H2O2). It is sold in brown bottles to protect it from light. Light exposure will turn it into plain water. All hydrogen peroxide will “go bad”, lose its effectiveness, over time. It will stay effective for about a year if left unopened. After you open the bottle it will only maintain it’s effectiveness for about 45 days. You can refrigerate it to make it last longer.
Bleaching teeth with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is acknowledged as a safe practice by the American Dental Association. You may notice that many over the counter bleaching treatments contain hydrogen peroxide. Some contain a concentration of up to 10%. These treatments often have side effects and can irritate gums and the soft tissues in your mouth.
Avoid any treatment that causes irritation.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar - Safely Eats Away Stains
Apple Cider Vinegar is a common household product that is gaining notoriety for it’s many uses and health benefits including removing dandruff, soothing sore throats, eliminating foot odor, aiding in digestion, fighting acne, and may even help with weight loss, etc. It’s also a well documented as an effective teeth whitener. Apple cider vinegar makes teeth whiter because of it’s high acidity level, which eats away at stains and discoloration.
Because it is very acidic, which can be irritating if overused, it’s recommended that you dilute the apple cider vinegar with water. A 50/50 mix is good.
To whiten your teeth with apple cider vinegar, swish or gargle with it regularly before brushing. Because it is very acidic, which can be irritating if overused, it’s recommended that you dilute the apple cider vinegar with water. A 50/50 mix is good. Don’t expect overnight success. It may take several weeks before you see a noticeable difference.
4. Oil pulling - An Ancient Remedy to a Modern Day Dilemma
Founded in the roots of Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healthcare systems, oil
pulling is a technique for cleaning and whitening teeth that has been used for over 2,500 years. Now, this may sound new-age or kooky, but there’s lot of evidence to prove this works! Plus, many ancient remedies were developed before we had toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash and floss, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still effective.
The name, oil pulling, does a pretty good job of describing the process. In oil pulling you place a teaspoon to tablespoon amount of oil in your mouth and swirl it around for 5 to 20 minutes once daily. The movement of the oil is the “pulling”, by swishing it and swirling it around your teeth the oil pulls out bacteria and toxins. Be sure to spit out the oil and do not swallow it. It’s full of nasty bacteria that was stuck in your teeth!
Different types of oil can be used for oil pulling such as sesame and sunflower oil. Both of these oils have omega 6 fats that are pro-inflammatory, which most of us have too much of already in our diets. Coconut oil is your best – 50% of the fat in coconut oil is comprised of lauric acid which is great at breaking up the bacteria in plaque.
You can find coconut oil at your local foodstore, Target or health food store. It comes in a solid form, but when you place a scoop in your mouth it quickly liquifies. You may even like the coconut flavor!
Oil pulling can help reduce bacteria in your mouth and removes plaque. It can also whiten your teeth. The swishing of the oil triggers an emulsification process, and enhances the oil’s “scrubbing” capabilities, helping to remove stains from your teeth.
Oil pulling, when practiced regularly, can also reduce bad breath, another confidence boosting benefit!
Oil pulling is most effective when practiced daily or at least a few times a week. Longer pulling sessions (up to 20 minutes) are recommended.
If the idea of swishing, gargling, or oil pulling doesn’t appeal to you don’t worry. Read on to find out which foods help whiten your teeth just by eating them!
5. Pineapple - It’s stocked with stain eradicating enzymes
It turns out pineapple isn’t just good to eat, its good for your teeth. The mighty pineapple is ripe with Bromelain, which is a mixture of enzymes that digest protein. Stored in the stem and juice of the pineapple, Bromelain has been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat indigestion and reduce inflammation. Bromelain is also used in Europe to treat sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose, and throat surgery or trauma. Bromelain is a natural stain remover and helps to break up plaque and safeguards your enamel.
Bromelain may turn out to be another one of nature’s wonderful cure-alls.
Studies are currently underway to evaluate it’s anti-inflammatory properties, infection fighting abilities and it’s ability to enhance the efficacy of certain chemotherapy drugs.
Eating fresh pineapple and drinking fresh pineapple juice, that hasn’t been canned or processed is the best way for you to get the maximum benefit out of your Bromelain consumption. During canning and processing the fruit and juice are often heated up to kill bacteria, which also may kill the valuable enzymes like Bromelain.
6. Strawberries - ripe with acids that whiten your teeth
Don’t let their red coloring fool you. Strawberries won’t stain your teeth and can actually help to whiten them. They are rich in malic acid and Vitamin C. Malic acid is a naturally occurring organic compound in various fruits. The malic acid in strawberries helps wipe away stains and the vitamin C washes away plaque.
Malic acid is also recognized for it’s ability to help reduce pain. It is frequently used by those who suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Those who take it for this reason have reported reduced muscle soreness and pain as well as increased energy.
Be sure to make strawberries a regular part of your diet to reap all the benefits malic acid has to offer. To reduce stains on your teeth, eating strawberries should do the trick, but if you want to make sure you get the maximum benefit you can smoosh them up and brush your teeth with the mush. Or you can just chew them really well!
7. Crunchy fruits and Vegetables - Crunch Away Stains
Apples, celery, and carrots, just to name a few, are fabulously full of fiber and this fiber can help remove stains and clean your teeth. Most crunchy fruits and veggies are abrasive and have a detergent effect in your mouth. They effectively clean the surface of your teeth, helping to remove stains without harming your enamel.
The fiber they contain acts like a gentle scrub. Eating them helps increase saliva production. Next to good home dental care, increased saliva production is your best natural defense against cavities and gum disease. Saliva helps to wash away food particles and debris and helps to neutralize the acids that are produced by the bacteria in your mouth, protecting tooth enamel and preventing bad breath. Increased saliva flow also carries with it remineralizing benefits by producing more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. Many fruits and veggies also contain tooth enamel strengthening properties like Iron and Vitamin A.
For maximum benefits consume your veggies and fruits raw. Cooking softens the fibrous materials and depletes the vitamins and minerals they contain. Two servings a day are recommended to aid in tooth whitening and overall oral health.
Love sweets and not too excited about fruits and veggies? Great news, later in this post, one of your favorite sweets may have made the list!
8. Dairy - Remineralizes Tooth Enamel
It may be hard to believe but consuming dairy products can help keep teeth healthy. Cheese, milk and yogurt all contain minerals, like calcium and phosphorous which promote the remineralization of tooth enamel.
Cheese is also good at increasing saliva production and it can help prevent cavities by neutralizing plaque acid.
Cheese is also good at increasing saliva production and it can help prevent cavities by neutralizing plaque acid. Cheese is credited with making the mouth more alkaline, in other words it reduces the acid in the mouth, and thereby protects your tooth enamel.
The higher the pH level (the more alkaline, less acidic) the surface of teeth, the more teeth are protected against dental erosion, which causes cavities and leads to fillings.
9. Gum - Chew your way to a cleaner mouth
Chewing gum after a meal is quick way to freshen your breath when your toothbrush isn’t handy. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. The act of chewing creates an increase in your saliva flow and washes away food particles and debris, protecting tooth enamel and preventing bad breath. The chewing of sugarless gum also provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth.
Choose sugarless gum that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal.
Gums with the ADA Seal are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Chewing gum that contains sugar will also increase saliva flow, but the sugar will increases the prevalence of decay-causing acids in your mouth.
Xylitol has recently been recognized for preventing tooth decay. One of the leading risk factors for tooth decay is a type of oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria is responsible for creating most of the plaque in your mouth. Having some plaque on your teeth is normal, but when if it builds up too much the immune system will start to attack it. This can lead to inflammatory gum diseases like gingivitis, something we all want to avoid.
Oral bacteria feed on glucose (sugar) from food, but they can not use xylitol. Replacing sugar with xylitol therefore reduces the available fuel for the harmful bacteria in your mouth.
10. Dark chocolate! Your sweet tooth will love this natural enamel hardener
Believe it or not dark chocolate may soon be deemed another superfood and can actually be good for your teeth! With over 300 chemicals compounds in it, chocolate is one of the most complex foods we know of.
Recent studies suggest that dark chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque and tooth decay. It contains Theobromine, a bitter powder which helps harden the enamel surface of teeth and helps prevent staining. Compounds in the husk of the cocoa bean have been discovered to have an anti-bacterial effects and help fight plaque.
For maximum benefit look for bars with a high chocolate content, 6-8 grams per serving.
Stick to dark chocolate, (organic if possible), sorry but milk chocolate does not offer the same benefits.
Here are some additional tips to keep your teeth white and to keep you smiling:
- When drinking or sipping stain causing liquids use a straw. A straw will help the stain causing culprits to by pass the teeth and less staining will occur.
- Brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking.
- Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth right after meals. If you don’t have a toothbrush or toothpaste take a moment to fully rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating. This helps to clear out cavity causing bacteria and other micro-organisms.
- Have your teeth cleaned every three months instead of every six.
- Avoid drinking alcohol in excess. Alcohol will dry out your mouth, making it more acidic, and increasing the growth of bacteria. Alcohol can also increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
- Replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months. Studies show and dentists agree that after 3 months of use your toothbrush becomes much less effective at removing plaque.
- Floss – Flossing is essential to good oral health. Floss at least once a day, preferably at bedtime. Flossing is not only good for your overall dental health, but it can also remove staining between teeth making them appear whiter.
Hopefully these tips and techniques will help you get and keep the bright white teeth and smile you desire and deserve.
Nothing, however, will brighten your teeth as much or as quickly as a professional whitening treatment. We are specialists in teeth whitening and have a variety of effective and affordable options for you to choose from.