Did you know that nearly one out of five people purposely conceals their teeth in photographs? Many people, no matter how well they brush their teeth, will have some sort of lasting stains, usually from coffee or tea, nicotine, and wine. Add to that the fact that teeth will naturally darken with age anyway (because of use) and it is easy to see why teeth whitening is one of the most sought-after forms of cosmetic dentistry. Fortunately, there are several easy-to-perform practices that you can do at home with common ingredients, to keep that smile its whitest.
Strawberry and Baking Soda Paste
I know. You’re thinking “Strawberries? You’ve got to be kidding, right?” But I’m not. Strawberries have two great things going for them with regards to tooth-whitening:
1. They are high in vitamin C, which helps break down the plaque that makes teeth look yellow in the first place.
- Malic acid. This is a natural enzyme that helps remove surface stains.Using this method is easy. Simply take around two to three large, ripe strawberries and mash them up, mixing them with one teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive and works in conjunction with the strawberries to effectively whiten teeth. Baking soda also has the added benefit of removing bad breath and freshening the mouth. And it’s super-cheap.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is different from regular, white vinegar, so make sure you’re using ACV and not the other. It is fermented and has a unique Ph. that enables it to dissolve plaque and neutralize stains without harming your tooth’s enamel. It also is a natural antibacterial, making it great for oral hygiene. There is no need to mix it with anything. Simply brush with it up to a minute as a pre-treatment prior to your regular brushing. Keep in mind that although you must be consistent in your usage, it has been said that apple cider vinegar can make your teeth look like they just had a professional cleaning. Teeth-whitening is an integral part of overall smile design.
One of the more esoteric ways to whiten teeth is the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil-pulling. This is simply taking coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, and swishing it around in your mouth for two to three minutes. It’s not as bad as it sounds, and leaves the mouth feeling incredibly fresh. So how in the world can this possibly whiten teeth? Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which breaks down the bacteria found in plaque that contributes to that unsightly yellow color.
These three ways are excellent ways to maintain a beautiful, white smile between dental visits. Keep in mind, though that there is such a thing as “too much”, especially with regards to abrasives like baking soda. While treatments such as oil-pulling can be performed as often as desired, treatments with acids or abrasives should be kept to no more than three times per week. This way you will see great results without damaging the enamel. And always be sure to rinse well.