May is National Strawberry Month. Keep reading to see how you can use strawberries to help whiten your teeth.
12 Ways To Whiten Your Teeth. We all want to be able to smile with pride. Stained or yellowed teeth can cause embarrassment or shame for many people. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce discoloration and help to make teeth whiter again. Here are a few methods that will help to brighten up your smile.
1. Drink less sugary drinks
We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth. Whilst sweets and cakes can do their damage, sugary drinks are by far the biggest culprits when it comes to tooth decay and discoloration. This is because these sugary drinks swill around our mouth coating every surface with sugar. This will either stain or rot the enamel.
Soda drinks are what most people immediately think of, but many squashes and sugary caffeine drinks can be just as bad. You can either drink less of these drinks or opt for sugar-free options which are less likely to stain your teeth. Drinking through a straw can also stop soft drinks from swelling around your mouth.
2. Limit coffee and red wine
Two other offenders for teeth discoloration are coffee and red wine. These dark-colored drinks can cause browning of the teeth over time (whilst sugar in the coffee and alcohol in the wine can also contribute to enamel decay).
Other than drinking these beverages less often, a solution could be to accompany these drinks with a glass of water. Taking regular sips of water in between mouthfuls of coffee and wine can help rinse the staining particles in the liquid out and stop them from clinging to the teeth. Brushing your teeth after having these drinks could also be a solution.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking can damage your mouth in many ways from causing gum disease to even developing oral cancers. When it comes to your teeth, nicotine, and tar can quickly cause yellowing. Long-time heavy smokers may start to develop brown teeth eventually.
Whilst there are special toothpaste and mouthwashes for smokers, you’re far better off packing in smoking altogether. Vaping is a popular route for those wanting to quit – it gets rid of much of the chemicals and tar that cause staining. You can buy e-cigarettes in most stores, with many different e-liquids to choose from. Other methods of giving up include nicotine patches and nicotine gum.
4. Eat more strawberries
Strawberries might not seem like the obvious food to help whiten teeth given that they can easily stain a white t-shirt. However, the malic acid found in strawberries is actually highly effective at stripping away plaque and helping to reclaim your teeth shine.
This only works with fresh strawberries on their own – if you’re adding sugar to them you’ll nullify the effect, whilst mixing with other berries isn’t recommended either (blueberries can help to cause staining). Some people have created DIY whitening toothpaste out of mashed strawberries and baking soda. This will help remove staining, but shouldn’t be used as a substitute for normal toothpaste and should only complement it.
5. Eat more nuts
Crunchy foods are generally great for cleaning our teeth. Raw carrots, apples, and pears can help remove plaque whilst also boosting saliva flow, which in turn helps clean teeth. For a portion of even better tooth-whitening food, you could try eating more nuts. Nuts have many positive health properties but they’re also great at strengthening our teeth’s enamel, both through the chewing action and the protein that these foods give us. Nuts also stimulate saliva production, helping to clean our teeth.
There are arguments that nuts can have dental downsides too. In fact, some scientists claim our ancestors had such bad teeth because of living mostly on nuts. This may be because are capable of chipping at the enamel, although this is likely to only affect those with little plaque on their teeth. As with any food, it’s worth eating these foods in moderation (i.e. don’t go too nuts for nuts!).
6. Be wary of citric fruits
Citric fruits are a topic of debate when it comes to tooth whitening. There are those that claim oranges and lemons can help whiten teeth, whilst there are those that claim they can contribute to yellowing.
So who is right? Well, both are. The citric acid in oranges and lemons can help to get rid of plaque and there are those out there who have made DIY toothpaste out of crushed orange peels and lemon rinds. This can be a good temporary solution for getting rid of staining caused by sugar and coffee and red wine and tobacco. However, too much citric acid can eventually cause enamel to corrode. This can cause the dentin beneath to become exposed – a yellow tissue beneath the enamel. If you are using a DIY citric fruit toothpaste, use it no more than once a week and stop using it once the teeth are getting whiter as further use could strip away the enamel.
7. Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing gum can help to pick up plaque on the teeth causing discoloration. It can also stimulate the salivary glands, helping to clean our teeth. Chewing gum must, of course, must be sugar-free in order to have this effect, as sugar could contribute to tooth decay. There are plenty of whitening gums out there that claim to be able to make your teeth brighter. These can help to combat discoloration, although are unlikely to be as effective as a whitening toothpaste.
8. Try baking soda
Baking soda is a miracle product with many hidden household uses. You may have heard of its use as a cleaning agent for getting rid of tough stains on wooden floors and kitchen countertops. Well, it can also be used to get rid of stains on your teeth. By creating a solution of baking soda and lemon juice (or water) and brushing your teeth with it, you may be able to erase some of the stains.
This method should only be used every other day and should be used on top of regular toothpaste brushing. Baking soda is much more effective at getting rid of surface stains. It may not be suited for getting of deep stains and in fact, by trying to get rid of these, you could start to wear down your enamel. This is because baking soda is fairly abrasive.
9. Try oil pulling
Oil pulling is another alternative method of tooth whitening that could be worth trying out. It involves taking a tablespoon of cooking oil (either olive oil, cooking oil, or sesame oil) and swilling it around the mouth for 10 to 15 minutes. The oil can help suck the plaque and discoloration off of your teeth and make them appear whiter. Whilst this can be done with any household oil, a lot of online sites sell specialized oils for this use.
10. Try hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is found in many commercial whitening toothpastes. It’s a bleaches agent that not only cleans off stains but actually whitens the enamel underneath. Hydrogen peroxide should never be used on its own – you’ll be safe if it’s already in toothpaste, but if you’re buying it as a raw ingredient you should always mix it with other ingredients (a common mixture is hydrogen peroxide, water, and baking soda). You can also buy peroxide-based whitening strips and brush-on gel. Hydrogen peroxide is also used in many forms of professional tooth whitening.
11. Try activated charcoal
Few people would think of brushing their teeth with charcoal. However, activated charcoal can be another fantastically effective DIY tooth whitening product, getting rid of staining and removing plaque. You should brush your teeth with it as you would with toothpaste and then rinse out your mouth. You should then re-brush your teeth with toothpaste to get rid of the blackness – your teeth should immediately look whiter.
12. Consider professional tooth whitening
A more drastic measure for those eager to whiten their teeth could be to seek professional treatment. This is, of course, more costly, although it is likely to be more instantly effective and permanent.
Laser treatment is one of the more impactful options. This involves putting a bleaching agent on the teeth and activating it with a laser. This then gets rid of the yellow surface layer of your teeth. This can be a painful procedure and you should expect your teeth to be a little more sensitive after.
Another option could be veneers. This involves capping all your teeth with thin porcelain covers. This then creates the illusion of naturally white teeth. Veneers may be less expensive than laser treatment and more effective at making your teeth look white. However, there are drawbacks to veneers – they could limit you as to which foods you can eat. For example, foods such as toffee could risk a veneer coming off and are usually not advised.