How to whiten teeth at home
Appearances matter, and having stained or discoloured teeth can make us feel self-conscious and even create a poor first impression. A match.com survey says of the 10 things men judge women most on, teeth came top at 58%. And for women, bad teeth are a deal breaker, with 78% saying teeth are the thing they notice most about men. So what’s causes tooth staining and what can you do about it?
Why do teeth get stained?
Teeth can become stained or yellow in 2 ways: either stains buildup on the surface of the tooth enamel or the tooth material inside the enamel changes. Most people have discoloured teeth owing to stains caused by food, drink and smoking.
How to whiten teeth at home
If your teeth are discoloured, there are ways to brighten them up without turning to DIY kits. So before you shell out on an over-the-counter whitening treatments, try these white at home tips.
Step up your oral health regime
The easiest way to improve the appearance of your teeth is by keeping them clean. It sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget. So, check you’re following advice from dentists:
- Brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day
- Floss every day – or at least 3 times a week
Teeth whitening products
Plaque is like Velcro for stains. So doing everything you can to get rid of it keeps teeth bright. Products you can use at home to help are:
- Mouthwash – kills the bacteria that causes plaque
- Whitening toothpastes – to help get rid of surface stains
- Sonic toothbrushes – electric toothbrushes that remove plaque and stains
But, if you’re on a fixed budget (electric toothbrushes can be expensive), simply brushing with a manual toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and using dental floss will keep your teeth and gums in great shape.
Foods and drinks that stain
Prevention is often better than cure. And it’s the same when it comes to keeping your teeth white. Smoking is, of course, a well-known culprit when it comes to staining teeth. But many foods and drinks can stain teeth too. Going without a cup of coffee, or a curry might be unthinkable. So avoid if you can; if you can’t, cut down. And when you do consume food or drink that stains, rinse your mouth out with water afterwards. Here’s a list of foods and drinks to watch out for:
- Tea: Tannin in black tea can stain teeth even more than coffee. Cut down on your daily brews or switch some to green, white or herbal teas.
- Wine: Red wine is acidic and packed with chromogens and tannins that stain teeth. White wine is no saint either. Cut down, or switch to another beverage instead.
- Coffee: It’s well-known that coffee stains teeth. Cutting down to a couple of cups a day will reduce staining. And it will benefit your health too.
- Cola: Cola is an acidic and chromogen-rich brew that has no health benefits at all. And it’s packed with sugar, which harms teeth anyway. Even the sugar-free kind is carbonated, which is not good for teeth. Avoid whenever you can.
- Berries: Fruit is great for our health, but too much fruit acid can erode tooth enamel. Added to this, certain berries such as cranberries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, blueberries and blackberries can stain teeth. Cut down your intake for white teeth.
- Sauces: Curry sauce, with its highly coloured spices, soy sauce and even tomato sauce can stain teeth. Most of us wouldn’t want to cut these out of our diet, so rinsing with water afterwards is a good compromise.
How to whiten teeth naturally
The internet is overflowing with natural teeth whitening tips. And it’s wise to take a cautious approach. Even natural products can harm tooth enamel. Here are some popular ingredients:
Rubbing strawberry pulp on your teeth can gently clean and remove stains. But beware, strawberries are high in sugar (which plaque loves). Brushing well is probably just as good.
Baking soda contains abrasive particles that brush off stains, while the chemical reaction between baking soda and water lightens them. But overuse can your damage enamel. And because it’s difficult to judge how much or how often you should use it, using a trusted whitening toothpaste is a better choice.
Oil pulling is the latest health craze, endorsed by celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow. The idea is to dissolve a spoonful of the oil in your mouth and swish it around your teeth for 5 to 20 minutes every day. Oil pulling is said to have other health benefits as well as whitening teeth and can help gum health. While there isn’t a great deal of evidence to back up these claims, oil pulling won’t damage your teeth or gums.
When to see a professional
Getting your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist regularly goes hand in hand with your home tooth care. A hygienist can clean your teeth in the places your toothbrush can’t get to. And they can give you specific advice on caring for your teeth.
Dentist teeth whitening
If your teeth are very discoloured, Grosvenor Place Dental Practice in Mold can help with professional and safe teeth whitening.
Sometimes damage to your tooth, such as chips or breaks, can lead to tooth discolouration. Or root canal treatment can darken teeth. In these cases, teeth whitening won’t work. If you have permanently discoloured, we offer crowns, veneers or tooth bonding to make your smile bright again.
Call us for more information on teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry on 01352 753777.