Tooth Whitening: Home Remedies and Prevention Tips

We all want to look our best, and sporting a beautiful, white smile can go a long way to freshening our look and brightening up our face. Dentists offer teeth whitening treatments that can be extremely effective, however there are also various techniques you can try at home to get rid of plaque and stains and to lighten up dull-looking teeth.

They say you’re never fully dressed without a smile, so read on to discover some top tips for getting shiny, white teeth from the comfort of your own home. Always consult a dentist before embarking upon any home whitening treatments and ensure that your teeth are as healthy and well looked after as possible. Brush and floss at least twice a day and stop any additional treatments straight away if you experience any pain or sensitivity as a result.

Cut out the acid

This tip may not secure you rapid results, but it is an excellent way to not only improve the appearance of your teeth, but also strengthen their condition and boost your overall oral and physical health.

Foods with a high acidic content can wear down the outer enamel coating, eventually exposing the more yellow dentine underneath. This erosion can also leave your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. So, try to avoid or cut down on high-acid foods, such as citrus, sugar, sodas and processed meals. While on the subject of making changes to the diet, avoid dark coloured food and drinks too, such as tea and coffee, red wine, cola and tomato-based sauces.

If you must have them, use a straw and finish your portion or drink in one go to minimise the time your teeth will be in direct contact with them.

Activated charcoal

More and more people are becoming aware of the tooth whitening benefits of activated charcoal. It is easier to find toothpaste containing this ingredient, and you can also make your own version at home. Activated charcoal was historically used to treat poisoning due to its propensity to absorb, or bind with much of what it comes into contact with. Including yellowing plaque or teeth stains. It removes surface stains only without harming the enamel surface underneath. It works as a paste smeared on the teeth, left for five to ten minutes then gently rubbed or brushed away.

Saliva-inducing foods

Eating food that naturally produces lots of saliva can be an effective way of encouraging your mouth to treat itself, washing away bacteria and gently rubbing away yellowing plaque and other stains. Foods that you have to chew down on can work well, such as celery or carrots to encourage saliva and act as an abrasive cleanser to clean the surface enamel without having to resort to chemicals. Another bonus is that saliva has been proven to help neutralise the acid in food and drink that causes tooth decay.

Home whitening kits

This may seem an obvious one, but you can find home whitening kits in chemists, supermarkets and other stores that you can try at home. These range in price, but all tend to work in the same way, with a whitening substance, such as hydrogen peroxide, that you paste onto your teeth, that you brush onto your teeth or add to a mini tray that molds to fit your teeth as you bite down onto it and leave to work for a specified time. Always read the instructions very carefully and ask your dentist about any teeth whitening treatments intended for home use if you are unsure.

Water, water everywhere

Another universal top tip for optimum oral health is to make sure you drink enough water. This has benefits for the teeth as every time you swill your mouth with water, you are dislodging food debris that can attract bacteria, as well as removing lighter stains and helping to loosen deeper ones. Water can also get in between teeth to help support your flossing efforts and stop yellow patches from forming along the edges of your gums. Rinse your mouth with water after every meal to keep your teeth free from as many stains and bits of debris as possible. You might like to add a teaspoon of salt to add to its anti-bacterial properties and help keep your gums healthy and pink.

Baking soda

Baking soda has natural properties that are mild enough not to damage your teeth if you brush them with it. It is a common ingredient in toothpastes and perfectly safe to brush directly onto the teeth to help them look brighter. Using baking soda is not a quick fix to whiten your teeth at home, but should help give 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.

Stop smoking

Laying off the cigarettes brings multiple proven benefits to your entire body; however, your teeth will especially thank you for no longer exposing them to tobacco that leaves unsightly stains that penetrate into the grooves and dents in your enamel. The longer you smoke, the more stubborn these stains become to remove. Cigarettes can also exacerbate gum disease and bad breath. Using a specialist toothpaste designed to remove tobacco stains can also help whiten teeth dulled by cigarettes at home.

Final tip

To round things off, here’s a sneaky final tip for make-up fans… if you wear a red lipstick that has a bluer undertone to it, this can often make your teeth appear whiter.

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