Are the stains on your teeth preventing you from smiling? When you’re insecure about your teeth, enjoying life can be a challenge. Teeth stains can come from a variety of causes, from medications to coffee addictions to familial genes. Often, poor dental hygiene and eating stain-inducing foods makes the problem worse. While some people opt for professional teeth whitening services, there are many ways you can whiten your teeth from home. You should always consult your dentist before trying chemical-based teeth whitening methods to ensure they’re safe and won’t damage your teeth. Here are five simple and safe ways to whiten your teeth from home.
1. Avoid Foods That Stain
The first way to whiten your teeth at home is to avoid foods and drinks that cause stains. These are foods that have staining properties or foods that make it more challenging to keep your dental hygiene up to par. For example, it’s well known that coffee and red wine can stain your teeth. However, drinking soda can have the same results. Soft drinks contain acid that eats away at the top layer of your teeth, the enamel, over time. When the enamel is weaker, it can appear dull and yellowish. Eating foods high in sugar, like candy, can cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce more acid, thus also weakening the enamel. Here’s a list of foods to limit your consumption of or to avoid:
- Coffee, red wine, dark sodas
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato sauce
- Soy sauce
- Fruit juices
You don’t necessarily have to cut out these foods altogether. When you’re done your afternoon coffee, drink some water and brush your teeth. To prevent your teeth from getting stained, always rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating or drinking these staining culprits.
2. Use Whitening Toothpaste
You’ve likely seen toothpaste on the shelves at the drugstore claiming to whiten your teeth. While these products aren’t strong enough to lighten deep-seated stains on the teeth, they can help remove surface stains, thus making the teeth appear whiter. There are two ways they can do this: by gently polishing the teeth with abrasion or by containing chemicals that breakdown the stains. Peroxide is a common chemical used in whitening toothpaste.
When used consistently, whitening toothpaste can be effective. Some take up to six weeks to show results. There are tons of toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth, but they aren’t all the same. Look for whitening toothpastes that have the Canadian Dental Association Seal because these products have been proven effective and safe. If you don’t notice a change in your teeth’s whiteness, it could be because your stains are deeper than the surface. In this case, speaking to your dentist about the next step in teeth whitening is best.
3. Make a Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is a popular household cleaner that does everything from removing stains from carpets to making your stove shine. It’s also been proven to be a natural teeth whitening agent. For surface stains, baking soda can be very effective. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water. It should turn into a toothpaste-like substance that can be placed on your toothbrush. Brush your teeth like normal, using small circular motions with minimal pressure against the surface of your teeth.
Baking soda is an abrasive ingredient, which means it exfoliates the loose, top stains off of your teeth. However, placing too much pressure on the brush can damage the enamel. It’s recommended you only use this method 2-3 times per week. For deeper stains, see your dentist to learn about other options.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes rapidly leads to yellow stains on the teeth. This is due to the tar and nicotine in cigarettes, which leaves a yellowish colour. The darker brown stains are from the tobacco in the cigarettes. Smoking also causes a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which eventually leads to stains. Not to mention the bad breath, gum disease, and increased risk of oral cancer that come with smoking. To truly transform your smile, quit smoking. Of course, this is easier said than done, but there are resources available to help you stop. Not only will you feel more confident smiling, but your health will significantly improve.
5. Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene
The most common cause of teeth stains is plaque. Plaque is a translucent film that sits on the surface of the teeth; it’s produced by the bacteria in your mouth mixing with food particles. If you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth, this translucent film builds on itself and has a pale yellowish colour. Over time, it evolves into a permanent dental substance called tartar. Once it has converted into tartar, it can only be removed by your dentist.
Maintaining consistent dental hygiene habits is the number one way to whiten your teeth. Even if you’ve had poor hygiene up until now, in the future you’ll have fewer stains on your teeth. The most important steps in your dental hygiene routine are brushing, flossing, and rinsing. You should also have regular dental hygienist appointments for deeper cleans.
Alternative Teeth Whitening Methods
There are many teeth whitening methods online that claim to be natural and effective. Unfortunately, there’s no scientific proof that these methods work.
For example, some claim the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling removes teeth stains. While swishing coconut oil can remove bacteria from your mouth, there’s no proof it can lift stains. The same goes for turmeric pastes, activated charcoal, or apple cider vinegar for teeth whitening.
In fact, some of these methods can actually damage your tooth enamel, like swishing apple cider vinegar. If you’re interested in holistic, natural teeth whitening, consult your dentist. They can point you in the direction of methods that are safe and less chemically based.
What About Teeth Whitening at the Dentist?
The most effective way to whiten your teeth is through your dentist’s whitening services. They’ll use products that contain a peroxide mixture to reverse the stains your teeth have and prevent new ones from forming. If you’re concerned about the teeth whitening cost, speak to your dentist. You don’t need to spend a fortune on teeth whitening. Often, teeth whitening by your dentist is the most effective method.
Dr. Mark Rhody Dentistry knows that whiter teeth lead to a more confident smile. We pride ourselves on only using whitening products that are safe and effective. Whether you need a touch-up on some surface stains or want to remove the more stubborn ones, we’re here to help. Allow our expert dentists in Etobicoke give you back the smile you deserve. To inquire about our teeth whitening services, send us a message or call our office today: (416) 231-4281.