How to Whiten Teeth Naturally at Home
First, it must be said that some yellowing or staining of your teeth is perfectly normal and natural. Unlike fine china that only comes out of the cupboard for holidays and special occasions, your teeth are with you for every bite and sip you take.
Other factors—such as genetics, age, medications, and lifestyle habits—can also make your teeth appear dark, yellow, brown, or gray.
So if you’re teeth aren’t as bright and white as you’d like them to be, first cut yourself some slack, then commit to taking control of your teeth’s current and future state and shade. There are ways to whiten teeth naturally, after all.
Next, it must be said that—natural or not—most of us don’t want our smiles to announce 10 years’ worth of daily lattes or our age. While yellowing can make your smile look worn and dingy, a whiter smile gives the impression of youth and vitality.
Our collective desire for whiter teeth isn’t lost on makers of countless over-the-counter whitening products, whose results broadly range from somewhat effective to dodgy.
Are OTC teeth whiteners safe?
Yes, and no. OTC at-home whitening kits are safe when the manufacturer’s instructions are followed to a T. However, many users apply OTC whitening products too long and too often in their pursuit of faster or more dramatic change.
This misuse and overuse of OTC whitening kits can cause excessive tooth sensitivity, dehydration, and demineralization, in addition to the destabilization and discoloration of any dental restorations.
If you have any untreated dental conditions—like cavities or gum disease—using an OTC whitening kit can aggravate the compromised tissues and provoke even more tooth and gum pain.
Your dentist is your best bet to achieve the healthy, beautiful, and whiter smile you seek. Only your dentist can provide the one-on-one supervision and professional at-home whitening kit that will safely and effectively whiten your teeth naturally and quickly remove stubborn or unsightly stains.
Though your dentist is your ultimate ally for attaining a whiter smile, there are daily actions you can take to keep surface stains at bay and maintain your smile’s youthful luminosity. Here’s how you can naturally whiten and brighten your teeth at home, starting today.
10 Ways to Whiten Teeth Naturally at Home
1. Go easy on your teeth.
Vigorously scrubbing with a medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush is the best way to whiten your tile grout—not your teeth.
Your tooth enamel can only handle so much pressure and abrasion before it starts to erode away, exposing the darker layer of dentin underneath and making teeth look darker than they were in the first place.
Instead, give your teeth the TLC they crave by using a soft-bristled brush two to three times a day and using gentle pressure.
2. Switch to an electric toothbrush.
Plaque buildup (which cannot be removed by an OTC whitening kit) can make your teeth look stained and dingy, in addition to increasing your risk for cavities and gum disease.
Electric toothbrushes provide a swiveling action, which helps loosen and eliminate plaque from more of your tooth’s surface (21% more than a manual toothbrush, to be exact). Using an electric toothbrush also encourages better focus and gentler brushing.
3. Clean your tongue.
Though brushing or scraping your tongue won’t directly influence the shade of your teeth, it can improve your tongue’s appearance and help you reduce the oral bacteria that contributes to plaque and cavities.
4. Sip and swish water.
Sipping or swishing with water helps wash the leftover sugars, starches, and acid that contribute to enamel tooth erosion and staining off your teeth.
This action is especially important between eating and brushing, as the acidic byproduct from oral bacteria is highest after you’ve had anything sugary, starchy, sticky, or acidic to eat or drink, temporarily softening your teeth. This bacteria can accelerate tooth erosion, and increase sensitivity, tooth decay, yellowing, discoloration, and staining.
5. Opt for tooth-friendly foods and snacks.
Did you know that certain foods can promote the health and resilience of your teeth? Indeed, just like your body, your teeth are generally huge fans of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy.
Alongside support your overall health, some foods offer specific oral health benefits that can help you avoid stains and could possibly whiten teeth naturally.
Crunchy produce, such as carrots, apples, and celery, increase salivation and “brush” your teeth, while cheese, yogurt, and plain nuts deliver enamel-supporting calcium and phosphorous.
6. Cut back on sugar.
Feeding a sweet tooth actually feeds the oral bacteria that causes acid erosion and tooth decay. In addition to protecting your overall health and wellbeing, cutting back on added sugars can prevent plaque buildup, which can cause cavities and gum disease, and is prone to staining your teeth.
7. Use a straw.
Straws help minimize contact between your teeth and the dark, sugary, or acidic beverages that lead to acid erosion and stains. Add a dash of class and eco-friendliness by choosing reusable straws that can be used at home or stashed in your purse or office.
8. Minimize foods and drinks that stain.
Alongside the well-known culprits of coffee, red wine, soda, and tea, some healthy favorites—like kale, blueberries, beets, hibiscus, cherries, and red grapes—contain highly pigmented compounds (chromogens) that can stick to enamel and cause staining.
If your morning Americano or blueberry-kale smoothie are here to stay, try adding tips #5, #6, and #7 to protect your teeth from stains.
9. Quit nicotine.
Tobacco products and e-cigarettes contain tar and nicotine, which are easily absorbed into the microscopic pores in your tooth enamel and darken teeth with yellow or brown stains. With prolonged use, nicotine stains become darker and more difficult to remove.
Cutting out nicotine can add years to your life, prevent disease, improve your oral and overall health, and enhance the appearance of your teeth.
10. Brush with a whitening toothpaste.
Whitening toothpastes contain low levels of peroxides or gentle abrasive to combat stains. Though the whitening agents found in whitening toothpastes are relatively weak and have limited contact with your teeth, they can help you fend off stains and give your teeth a subtle brightness and sheen.
Learning how you can get the results you seek may just be one dental visit away. For your best whitening options in Marlton, NJ, schedule your appointment today.