We’ve all looked in the mirror and seen that our teeth are not exactly the pearly whites we want them to be. Luckily, there are some easy fixes for that problem.
But why are our teeth yellowing in the first place? One possibility is that the outer layer of our teeth, the enamel, is stained. Another is that there’s been some plaque build-up. Both of these are fixable.
A more difficult problem to fix would be if our enamel is completely eroded, leaving the yellowish dentin underneath out in the open. That is a bit more difficult to repair, and probably requires a dentist’s help. Just to be sure, though, try out the following tips!
Let’s start with the obvious.
Nip It in the Bud
Here are some steps we can take to prevent the yellowing in the first place.
- Try to limit soda, coffee and wine intake, as well as intensely colored berries. If some of us just can’t do that, we can still drink through a straw, and brush our teeth immediately after drinking that cup. We should avoid smoking for the same reason
- Cut back on the sugar, as it helps plaque-causing bacteria grow. Once again, if we’re already eating sugar, we ought to brush our teeth immediately afterward.
- Have a calcium-rich diet, which will make your enamel strong and keep your teeth white. Calcium can be found in dairy and broccoli.
Brush and Floss
If there’s one thing to pick up from the previous tip, it would be to brush our teeth after consuming potentially staining foods and beverages.
That’s the obvious suggestion – we should try to be on top of our dental hygiene. Make our dentists proud, and floss regularly. Getting the pieces of food out from between our teeth will prevent them from dissolving there, and making an excellent environment for bacteria to grow.
And another way to make our dentists proud? Give them a visit. They’ll undoubtedly do a better job at keeping our mouths clean than we do.
But we’re not here for the obvious advice. Let’s get to the hacks!
This tip is tried and true – baking soda is an ingredient in toothpaste because of its whitening properties. Additionally, it will gently scrub your teeth and prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth.
Before we try this tip, we need to keep in mind that we’d need to keep to it for a while before seeing the results. So, how do we use it? One way to do it would be to add baking soda on top of our toothpaste during our regular routine. The other way would be to make a paste that’s one part baking soda, two parts water, and brush with that. It should be really difficult to overdo it here because you’re not actually ingesting the mixture. Also, researchers show that toothpaste with a higher concentration of baking soda are better at whitening.
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian remedy that became popular in the past few years. It supposedly improves dental hygiene and detoxes the body. Traditionally, people would put a spoon of sunflower or sesame oil into their mouths and swish it around. This is supposed to draw bacteria out – though there’s no significant scientific backing to it. There was one study, though, which claimed that swishing sesame oil reduced a type of bacteria responsible for plaque and gingivitis in a single week.
The technique recently became especially popular when people started using coconut oil, which has a more pleasant taste. Coconut oil is famous for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It’s solid at room temperature, but will melt in the mouth. At that point, we need to swish it around our teeth for 20 minutes, before spitting it out in a paper towel and throwing it into a trash can. This is especially important to note because the oil can solidify in your pipes and clog them.
The process is totally safe to do daily, though only anecdotal evidence supports its whitening properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Good old apple cider vinegar is a time-tested remedy due to its antibacterial properties. It might, however, cause weakened enamel, so we should not be using it often – just a few times per week. Simply dilute it with water and swish it around for a few minutes. Then, rinse your mouth with just water.
Yes, we’re talking about the antibacterial wash we used on our scrapes when we were kids. And yes, it’s perfectly safe, as long as we know what we’re doing. Overuse may affect gum and tooth sensitivity, though.
Scientists have confirmed the whitening properties of toothpaste with baking soda and 1% hydrogen peroxide. All we need to do is make that knowledge work for us. One way to do that is to add a teaspoon of baking soda to 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and gently brush our teeth with it.
Another option is using hydrogen as mouthwash before brushing our teeth normally, making sure to stick to a 1.5% or 3% solution. The solution can be further diluted to avoid discomfort. This method shouldn’t be used too much, as it can make our enamel vulnerable.
Various Fruits and Veggies
This one’s for those of us who like to mix it up a little. A lot of people like to whiten their teeth with strawberries and pineapple.
The strawberry seems like it should be a good choice because it contains malic acid, which supposedly removes discoloration. Just mix it together with baking soda, which will scrub away the stains. Scientists doubt the efficacy of this method, as they don’t believe strawberries would be able to penetrate those stains. Even if we tried it, we’d have to keep the frequency of use at a few times a week.
Bromelain could be what’s responsible for the belief in pineapple’s whitening properties. One study found this enzyme commonly found in pineapples better at removing stains than a commercial toothpaste. But this tip boils down to basically eating raw pineapples.
Believe it or not, there are many more common but unproven whitening techniques! Some people rub their teeth with orange, lemon or banana peels. Others use activated charcoal or kaolin clay in the same way we’d use baking soda. These may make a difference, but we won’t know until there’s scientific consensus.
So, why not try these? As long as they’re safe, there’s nothing that can stop us from conducting these little experiments for ourselves.