Some people — no matter how many times they brush their teeth — have teeth stains from habits like drinking coffee or tea and/or smoking. Oftentimes yellow- or brown-tinted teeth can also point to a larger problem: unhealthy gums, thinning enamel and overall poor dental hygiene. Whitening the teeth alone won’t help protect the teeth or gums from cavities or diseases, such as gingivitis — so while white teeth are certainly a nice thing to have, it helps to keep things in perspective.
1. Brush With Baking Soda
Baking soda has natural whitening properties, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in commercial toothpaste.
It’s a mild abrasive that can help scrub away surface stains on teeth.
Additionally, baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth, which prevents bacteria from growing.
This is not a remedy that will whiten your teeth overnight, but you should notice a difference in the appearance of your teeth over time.
Science has not yet proven that brushing with plain baking soda will whiten your teeth, but several studies show that toothpaste with baking soda has a significant whitening effect.
One study found that toothpastes containing baking soda were significantly more effective at removing yellow stains from teeth than standard toothpastes without baking soda. The higher the concentration of baking soda, the greater the effect.
Furthermore, a review of five studies found that toothpastes containing baking soda removed plaque from teeth more effectively than non-baking soda toothpastes.
To use this remedy, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with the paste. You can do this a few times per week.
2. Consume Certain Foods
There are foods that can actually brighten your teeth. Fight stains and improve overall oral health by munching on the following:
Apples. Apples improve your gum health and stimulate saliva production, which helps to rinse away stains.
Cheese, milk and yogurt. Rich in calcium, all of these help to strengthen teeth enamel and appearance.
Nuts, celery, broccoli and carrots. The abrasive and coarse abrasive texture of these foods scrubs off stains.
Raw onions. The sulfur found in raw onions stops plaque from forming.
Strawberries. The malic acid found in strawberries naturally removes surface stains lurking on your teeth.
3. Use Whitening Toothpastes
How does whitening toothpastes work to whiten teeth? By employing polishers and abrasives, which buff away dark spots, plus gentle chemical bleaching agents. Whitening toothpastes are by far the most universally used form of whitening, and for good reason. You can easily pick up a tube for a five-spot, though, of course, you can upgrade to more expensive options. Sure, you won’t all of a sudden be immediately blessed with perfect chompers, but it’ll help.
4. Oil pulling and activated charcoal
Perhaps try mixing a capsule of activated charcoal with your oil you plan to use for oil pulling today. This way, you’ll benefit from the stain removing ability of oil pulling AND help to draw out stains with activated charcoal AND will have the ‘time on the teeth’ factor taken care of by the amount of time you commit to oil pulling.
Just remember to spit the used oil somewhere outside as it’s going to be a mess if you try to spit into the bathroom sink!
5. Whitening Strips
Plastic coated in whitening gel tend to be slightly pricier than whitening toothpaste but you will see results quicker. To apply simply take a strip and mould it to the row of teeth that you’re looking to whiten.
They can be a handy solution if you have a special occasion coming up and want to brighten your smile, but remember that results vary depending on how discoloured a person’s teeth are to begin with. Usually though, results can be seen between three and seven days.
As whitening strips contain hydrogen peroxide, it can cause discomfort for those with sensitive teeth, so it’s advisable to use this method as a temporary rather than long-term solution. Always remember to consult a dental professional before experimenting with products containing hydrogen peroxide to ensure your teeth are strong enough and will not suffer any long-lasting damage.