Imagine locking eyes with an attractive stranger from across the room, and stealing glances from the corner of your eyes. Then, as you finally come closer, you see him flash a broad smile, but with a set of yellow looking teeth! It would just bring down your whole impression of him, wouldn’t it? And it goes both ways, women without keeping teeth whitening will take away all the other efforts they put into looking good.
A golden smile is fantastic, but not with a set of golden teeth! No wonder men and women alike all want healthier and whiter teeth.
So that, dental whitening is one of the most noticeable features of a face, and it can make or break your first impression. Knowing how important a white smile is, there is a growing trend of teeth whitening among women of all ages.
Furthermore, it’s not just dental whitening that people are after. Sure, dental whitening gives you good results and a professional approach. But making an appointment with the dentist every other week is liberty not all of us can afford.
And I don’t mean just the dental fees, the waiting and scheduling is just something most of us do not have time for.
A lot of people resort to doing their teeth whitening at home, but there is a tiny risk of doing it incorrectly as opposed to dental whitening by an expert.
So, here’s an extensive list of all the ways you can whiten your teeth, and how to do them correctly.
1. TEETH WHITENING WITH BAKING SODA
Baking soda is one of those great household items that have multiple uses, and whitening your teeth is one of them.
The simplest way is to dip your toothbrush into some baking soda and brush your teeth for a few minutes (2 or 3 minutes is enough). As you clean, maintain a gentle action, and you can spit in between brushes if required.
After brushing is done, use water or some mouthwash to rinse your mouth and clean it. You should not keep the baking soda in your mouth for longer than needed.
The second way is to mix lime juice from one lemon with the ¼ cup of baking soda. The mixture may produce some bubbles, but that is normal.
Use a clean face cloth or piece of cotton to dab the mixture and rub it gently over your teeth. Leave the mixture on for one or two minutes and then carefully rinse it off. Leaving it on for too long might cause damage to your enamel.
You can apply either method once in a few weeks.
2. TEETH WHITENING WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
The anti-septic feature of Hydrogen Peroxide makes it a great teeth whitener too. Make sure you purchase a bottle that has a 3% solution.
A 3% solution is strong enough to clean stains in your teeth and mild enough so that it does not aggravate your gums or other parts o your mouth. This method should be done right before you brush your teeth.
Prepare a solution that is 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide. Take a few teaspoons in your mouth (30 ml) and swirl it around for about a minute. The solution will foam up in your mouth which is expected, and it will not taste good (Hydrogen peroxide isn’t exactly meant to be a cuisine).
After this, spit out the solution and rinse your mouth carefully with water so that none of it remains in your mouth.
After rinsing, go ahead and brush your teeth as you usually would.
3. USE WHITENING STRIPS
Whitening strips are readily available at supermarkets or local drugstores. Look for a whitening product that does not contain chlorine dioxide (check the contents before buying).
The safest bet is to go for products that are credited by the American Dental Association (ADA).
When you open the pack, you will find that there are two strips, one each for your upper teeth and your lower set of teeth. Read the instructions in the packet very carefully before you proceed.
The first thing you need to do is brush so that any plaque or food residue is washed away.
Then, take the strips and apply them to your teeth. You can run your fingers over the pieces so that they stick closely to the surface of your teeth. Avoid moving your tongue around while applying.
Leave the strips on for the duration given in the instructions. Some strips have to be removed while others disintegrate in your mouth on their own.
If they have to be removed, gently take them out after the designated amount of time has passed, and dispose of the strips.
Finally, rinse your mouth properly so that none of the whitening gel remains in your mouth.
4. USE TOOTH WHITENING GEL OR PASTE
Find a whitening gel or toothpaste that is certified or endorsed by the ADA (American Dental Association). Whitening gels do not contain powerful chemicals so you do not run the risk of damaging or sensitizing your teeth in the process of whitening them.
The whitening gel is used by brushing them on your teeth for about two minutes. Follow standard rinsing actions after the brushing is done. Continue it for as long as the instructions on the box suggest.
Use the whitening toothpaste with regular brushing schedules. These products work by gradually removing stains and unwanted colors. So you have to use them regularly to see visible changes.
Both of these products should be available in typical drugstores and marts.
Yep! You read that right, strawberries. They are rich in malic acid, which is like an organic teeth whitener.
You can mash together a few strawberries into a paste and use it along with a little toothpaste to brush your teeth. It can remove not just plaque but also small debris lodged on your tooth’s surface.
Or if you don’t feel like preparing a paste every single time, get in the habit of eating strawberries whenever you can get them.
6. RINSE YOUR MOUTH WITH OIL
The primary goal of this practice is oral hygiene and not teeth whitening in particular. But since the two things are inherently related, it only makes sense that we pursue both ends.
It is generally practiced as an Indian tradition. The original Indians would use oil from sunflower seeds or sesame seeds.
A lot of people prefer rinsing with coconut oil because it tastes better. Irrespective of the taste, its usefulness lies in the fact that it can remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth.
These are two partial reasons why your teeth may turn yellow. So, removing them from your mouth can only help make your teeth look whiter and cleaner.
Take a few tablespoons of the oil and rinse your mouth thoroughly and then spit it out. You can clean your mouth with water or a strong mouthwash to make sure all the oil has been removed from your mouth.
7. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar is another household item that is useful in whitening your teeth. Although that is not its primary purpose, you should use it sparingly and not very often since it can do damage if overused.
Mix a few spoons of the vinegar with some mouthwash and rinse your mouth carefully for a minute or so. Apple cider vinegar is rich in acetic acid, which can remove bacteria as well as damage the tooth enamel. So we should be extra careful in using this method.
Do not let the vinegar remain inside your mouth for longer than required, a minute is usually more than enough. Spit it out and carefully rinse your mouth again with water or mouthwash to remove any residues.
8. FLOSS YOUR TEETH REGULARLY
Flossing is one of the most underrated practices in general oral hygiene, and in effect, teeth whitening. The impact of flossing is seen not from one or two intense flossing sessions, but regular and consistent flossing every day.
You can try out different flossing kits to see which one suits you best.
Also, experts usually recommend that we should be flossing each time we brush. But this can be impractical sometimes, given how busy we can be in the mornings.
So if you do it just once a day, you can do it at night and make sure you don’t consume food again afterward.
Flossing helps because they reduce plaque and remove small food residue lodged in between your teeth. It keeps your teeth clean and consequently makes it look clean and white.
9. EAT A LOT OF FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Fresh fruits and vegetables are nature’s way of telling us there are other more organic and healthier options for food. Apart from all the nutrition they have, they emanate certain acids that can act as disinfectants in our mouths, keeping our teeth clean.
Also, unlike meat or junk food, they don’t get easily lodged in between our teeth, so you don’t have to worry about brushing or rinsing after eating fruits.
They help remove plaque and bacteria because they are crunchy and excrete juices when chewed.
Additionally, fresh fruits are like natural mouth fresheners. It’s true, why do you think most of our mints and mouthwashes are flavored after a fruit? They have organic scents and freshness that artificial chemicals cannot beat.
10. REDUCE STAIN-CAUSING FOOD
Most of the food items that cause our teeth to lose color are the ones that we like to indulge in. The items that have the most effect on our teeth are coffee, soda, and carbonated drinks, red wine, most junk foods, red meat, etc.
We can’t possibly expect everyone to quit all of these snacks and beverages (I for one can’t). But what we can do is limit the quantity and the frequency with which we indulge in these items.
Cut down on the cigarettes (if you are a smoker) and stay away from tobacco products. They are seriously the worst at teeth appearance and oral hygiene.
Think of it as simple reverse engineering. Want to keep your teeth white? Then don’t make them yellow to start with.
11. TEETH WHITENING WITH ACTIVATED CHARCOAL
A lot of experts believe that brushing our teeth with activated charcoal can remove stains and improve teeth appearance.
It also has the ability to absorb plaque from the teeth and gums, as well as other compounds that linger in your mouth and become stains in your teeth.
It is also believed to have a neutralizing effect on toxins in the mouth. Although this effect has not been confirmed by science yet, there is no doubt that it has a whitening effect when applied to the teeth.
However, we should remember that activate charcoal acts like an abrasive, so if we do not exercise care when applying it, it can also damage the enamel and surface of our teeth.
12. OCCASIONALLY GO FOR DENTAL WHITENING
For all the DIY tricks we can do at home, there’s nothing like the professional touch of a dentist. Of course, this does not mean we have to visit the dentist every other day (who has the time?).
But it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment whenever you can make the time, to go for dental whitening.
Visiting a dentist will also help you learn how to perform the other measures more effectively and get better results. A dentist can also recommend the right gels, pastes or flossing kits that will suit your teeth without doing harm.
Dental whitening offers you expertise, technical equipment and professional execution which we can’t always perform ourselves. So you stand to gain more by occasional balancing your own measures with a trip to the dentist every once in a while.
If any of these teeth whitening measures produce discomfort or reactions in our mouth, you should stop immediately and resume only after consulting a medical professional.
Our physical make-up and oral conditions all vary from person to person, and there is no one-size-fits-all method for everyone.
Remember to combine these tips with a regular brushing habit. Brushing twice a day combined with these neat home-made tricks will give you teeth that are clean, healthy and white as snow!