Whitening Your Teeth for a Brighter, Better Smile

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If you’ve noticed your smile is not as bright as it once was, you’re not alone. Many Americans are in the same boat and looking for home remedies for teeth whitening. While the optimal solution is for a trusted dentist to professionally whiten your teeth, various products are available to help scrub or lift stains. We’ve also rounded up some natural methods said to offer a whitening effect on teeth. In this article, we’ll outline how to remove teeth stains naturally and list some teeth-whitening products, too. But first things first: Let’s answer the question of what causes teeth to yellow?

Want brighter and whiter teeth?

Over time, your teeth may gradually start to yellow. The process is often subtle, but some color change is inevitable. As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears, exposing a yellowish second layer called dentin. Also, particular food and drinks like wine, coffee, and tea as well as tobacco products can stain your teeth. Yellowing may happen as a side effect of using certain mouthwashes or medications, too.

What causes teeth to yellow?

In addition to age and use of some mouthwashes and medications, the causes for yellowing teeth include, but are not limited to:

  • Mouth trauma
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Genetics
  • High fluoride consumption
  • High sugar and simple carb diet
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco 
  • Wear to the enamel
  • Teeth grinding

How to naturally whiten your teeth 

Various natural teeth whitening solutions can help whiten teeth. Still, you want to be careful, as improper or excessive use of teeth whitening methods and products can ultimately damage your teeth. That can lead to wearing the enamel off the surface and put you at risk for cavities and sensitivities. Furthermore, these methods lack scientific research and studies to prove their safety and effectiveness but based on personal accounts, many say they offer a whitening effect on teeth. Be sure to consult your dentist to help pick the correct teeth-whitening method for your teeth.

  • Practice oil pulling. In your mouth, swish one to two teaspoons of sesame, sunflower, or liquid coconut oil for 10-30 minutes without swallowing or letting the oil touch the back of your throat. The idea is that the oil will remove plaque-causing bacteria from the mouth, which in turn stops plaque from making its yellowish appearance. Spit coconut oil out in the garbage bin to avoid clogging your drain.
  • Use activated charcoal: Dab activated charcoal on your teeth and leave it for two minutes, or make a mouthwash with a small amount of water and swish it around for the same amount of time. Charcoal is highly absorbent, and some believe it removes stains and bacteria from teeth. Be cautious, as the abrasiveness can wear away enamel.
  • Brush with baking soda: Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help remove stains when used as toothpaste. Some believe it also creates an environment in your mouth that makes it difficult for bacteria to grow. While this lacks scientific proof, several studies show that using a toothpaste containing baking soda can result in a whitening effect.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide: This substance is a natural bleaching agent and also kills bacteria in your mouth. Make a toothpaste by mixing two teaspoons of 1½-3 percent solution with one teaspoon of baking soda and brush  with this a few times each week. However, even though many teeth-whitening products contain, no studies prove its effectiveness, and it might come with harmful side effects.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables: As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and that includes your dentist. While daily brushing and flossing are still important, enjoying raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables regularly can help rub plaque off your teeth as you eat them.
  • Rinse with apple cider vinegar: Make a mouthwash using two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and six ounces of water, swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds and rinse well with water before brushing your teeth. This method lacks scientific evidence and could potentially damage your teeth, but some claim it can help whiten your teeth
  • Prevent tooth stains before they happen: Ensure you’re brushing and flossing your teeth correctly. Brush twice a day for two minutes at a time, and take caution not to brush right after eating or drinking anything acidic.

Teeth-whitening products

Wayhome Studio – stock.adobe.com

If you’d prefer to use a product to help whiten your teeth, below is a list of products that claim to help brighten your smile. Be sure to read the label and follow the directions for safety and instructions, and of course, check with your dentist.

  • Colgate Optic White Advanced: Colgate offers an entire line of teeth-whitening products, including their Optic White Advanced toothpaste that uses two percent hydrogen peroxide. They say their toothpaste can whiten up to four shades if you use the product for six weeks and brush your teeth twice daily.
  • Hello Advanced Charcoal Fluoride Free Toothpaste: Part of their charcoal product line, Hello claims their activated charcoal, mint, and coconut oil toothpaste will leave you with noticeably whiter teeth and is safe for your enamel and everyday use. And like other kinds of toothpaste, it also removes plaque and freshens your breath.
  • Crest Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste: In addition to fighting cavities and preventing tartar buildup, Crest says this toothpaste freshens your breath and helps to remove surface stains on your teeth gently.
  • Crest Noticeably White White Strips: Crest claims this product visibly whitens teeth in a matter of three days, with more noticeable results in 20 days. The enamel-safe ingredients on strips are easy to use and offer long-lasting results.

Don’t underestimate the value of brushing and flossing

Daily brushing and flossing will help your teeth stay white by reducing bacteria in your mouth, which causes plaque. Regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist will also help ensure your teeth are as clean and healthy as possible. Additionally, practicing proper oral hygiene will also keep your teeth and gums healthy, contributing to your overall well-being. If you’re unaware, gum disease is linked to a number of illnesses, including heart disease, so be sure to keep up your oral hygiene routine or talk with your dentist if you’re unsure how to get back on track. Remember, it’s your dentist’s job to care for people and their teeth, and they’ve likely heard every question. So you need not worry if yours seems silly or embarrassing. 

The bottom line

Yellowing of the teeth is inevitable, but by taking proper care of your teeth, you can help keep them whiter and healthier. While the effectiveness of most natural methods of teeth whitening lack scientific evidence, a variety of whitening products are available. You can also consult with your dentist regarding the best way to whiten your teeth and get a quote for professional teeth whitening in their office. 

Keep in mind, while it may be somewhat disappointing to release your teeth are not the pearly whites they used to be, you’re not alone, and if it’s on your mind, various solutions are available.

Staying on top of brushing and flossing is a breeze with oral care products delivered right to your door. Check out this article for more self care ideas and here for a list of health and beauty items you can get in a matter of minutes.

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