Want Whiter Teeth? Try These At-Home Techniques
Is your smile more of a gold than pearl? Try these at-home teeth whitening solutions to help prevent yellowing and keep your teeth whiter in between professional treatments.
When you picture a healthy smile, what image comes to mind? Most people will instantly think of a bright, pearly white smile. The trouble is, over time, our teeth can begin to discolor, causing yellowing to occur. This discoloration can happen for various reasons, but typically it is due to stained enamel. Common culprits include drinks like red wine or coffee and other foods or substances such as tobacco. Which is why many people are wondering how to get whiter teeth.
In some cases, this staining is reversible. For example, you can receive professional whitening treatments to help reverse any stains or discoloration, or you can have a more permanent solution, like veneers for more severe discoloration. There are also over-the-counter options, which you can apply at home, but Dr. Farless always recommends consulting your dentist before starting any drugstore brands or at-home peroxide treatments to ensure you are correctly using the product.
If you are looking to go a more natural route, or want to try new preventative techniques to help keep your teeth from yellowing, Dr. Farless has a few tips! You can incorporate these following techniques into your oral routine to help keep your smile bright for years to come.
1. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Peroxide-based teeth whitening products are very effective, so it makes sense that using similar, over-the-counter products at home can help to reduce yellowing on your teeth. Additionally, it works great as an oral antiseptic and can help to rid the mouth of harmful bacteria and germs. You can combine one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to achieve a runny paste, similar to a typical toothpaste.
It’s important to note that there are a few risks associated with using baking soda as it can be a little harsh on your enamel. To reduce these, be sure to eliminate any clumps in your baking soda. If it’s too gritty, it can be abrasive. Leave the mixture on your teeth for no more than one minute, and then be sure to thoroughly rinse any residual paste. Limit use to once a week to ensure you can enjoy the results without causing harm to your teeth.
Pro Tip: Over-the-counter and harsh at-home whitening solutions often make teeth more sensitive. So if you already have sensitivity issues or you’d like to avoid having sensitive teeth, you should consider skipping the DIY route and come in for a consultation.
2. Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Another way to help get your teeth whtier over time is by using whitening toothpaste and mouthwash. These products typically have a safe amount of whitening chemicals that can help you lift surface stains and get whiter teeth over a few weeks. Combining mouthwash and toothpaste is recommended to achieve the best results. Be sure to brush, floss, and rinse your mouth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time.
3. Oil Pulling
This is an ancient technique found in Ayurveda, which is considered the oldest medicinal system in the world with roots in India. This simple yet effective system helps to lift stains from the teeth while simultaneously clearing out any leftover food particles or infection-causing bacteria. The method is easy: just take a tablespoon of oil and swish it around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this while watching your favorite TV show or taking a shower! Any oil can be used for this, but the most popular option is coconut oil.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the most versatile tools around, and you can typically find it in your cupboard. Thanks to its many beneficial features, ACV has anti-bacterial properties and can help to battle tooth decay and germs that can cause gingivitis. Plus, it can help to lift stains on your teeth such as those caused by smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee regularly. However, be sure to dilute it well! ACV is an acid. So too much of it can be bad for your enamel by causing erosion. (And losing enamel does not make your teeth whiter!) Dentists recommend using five parts water to one part apple cider vinegar for a tooth-safe whitening rinse. Use it a few times a week for at least a month to see results. Be sure to rinse with water after, as well, to help protect your tooth enamel.
5. Activated Charcoal
You might not think that a powder that turns your teeth black would be good at fighting dental stains, but think again. Activated charcoal—not to be confused with the charcoal you use to barbeque—is a finely ground powder made of naturally occurring substances. It offers a wide range of medicinal benefits, including uses in skin care treatments and even as an anti-toxin. While there is technically no scientific evidence that activated charcoal can remove stains, its ability to absorb and trap toxins has increased its popularity as an at-home whitening option. You can find some toothpastes that already have it as an ingredient, or you can dip a wet toothbrush in loose charcoal powder and brush as you would normally. Do this two to three times to a week to help fight stains and gradually brighten your smile.
Enhance Your Smile with Whitening Treatments
While nothing can replace a professional whitening treatment performed by a dental professional, incorporating preventative methods in your at-home routine can help to keep your teeth white between visits. Remember, you should never replace regular oral care with these, but rather mix them into your daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing routine. Don’t forget to schedule those bi-annual checkups with your dentist too
At Dr. Graham Farless’ office, we offer Greensboro, NC family and cosmetic dentistry solutions for all ages—including a variety of teeth whitening services—tailored to suit your individual needs. Contact us today to plan your visit, and don’t hesitate to ask about what you can expect during your first visit.