I think most of us care about our teeth and want them to look their white and shiny best. After all, we don’t want to feel embarrassed to open our mouths or smile. A nice smile is such a warm and beautiful thing. Today we’re going to look at how to get white teeth, and fast if need be. You may have a special night or event coming up where you want everything to be in primo condition, including your teeth.
Things That Stain Teeth
First lets take a brief look at some things that stain teeth; food and drinks and habits that might be best to cut down on or avoid to get those sparkling pearly whites and keep them that way.
- Red Wine
- Sports Drinks
The regular black tea that most people drink is full of tannins, as too is red wine. Tannins are notable teeth stainers, imparting that dull and unsightly yellowish-brown colour to teeth. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes not only stains teeth, but also the fingers as well. A lot of sports drinks and most soft drinks are quite acidic. The acid wears down the tooth enamel, allowing staining to set in. Cola falls into this category too, as well as containing chromogen, a substance known for discolouring teeth. Coffee will stain teeth to a degree, but not as readily or badly as black tea. Many berries and sauces contain colourings and ingredients that also mar the surface of the teeth.
To avoid discolouration one could simply cut everything out of their diet that causes it. But who really wants to do that? We want to live life, right? Cutting back on the above things will certainly help. When it comes to drinks, an idea is to use a straw when drinking cola and soft drinks. This method of drinking virtually avoids the teeth altogether. You could even use a straw with your cup of tea, but that would look pretty weird.
When eating foods that are known to discolour, chew and swallow quickly, and always rinse your mouth and teeth with fresh water directly afterwards.
Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate – all the same thing), is a known bleach that is often found in many leading brands of toothpaste. It also has a light abrasive quality that further serves to remove stains as well as polish the teeth. Carb soda is an alkaline, which helps balance your mouth’s PH levels, as much of what we eat and drink in our daily lives is quite acidic.
When I’ve used the baking soda method I’ve just applied the powder to a damp toothbrush and scrubbed away. It doesn’t taste the best, but it’s the most direct and effective method. Some people like to mix the soda with lemon juice, which also has bleaching properties. But the issue with lemon juice is it’s acidic, which is kind of counter-productive to what we’re trying to achieve here.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This works, but it’s a painstakingly-slow process, requiring daily applications of the vinegar to the teeth for about a month before seeing improvement. Not really one of my more recommended methods, but just thought I’d mention it in case anyone has a real taste for the stuff.
Known as ‘oil pulling’, using coconut oil to whiten teeth is actually an age old method that’s been used for centuries. It doesn’t so much whiten your teeth as it helps to stop them from getting discoloured in the first place. Lauric acid, found in coconut oil, kills bacteria in your mouth that can lead to discolouration. It doesn’t taste too bad either. Simply swish some around inside your mouth for 5-10 minutes, and even apply a few drops to your toothbrush when brushing.
The Banana Peel Method
Yes, bananas. The fruit contains copious amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese, all of which are useful in removing stains from teeth. It’s best to use a peel off a nice ripe banana that is yellow all over; not green and not covered in black spots. Like the apple cider vinegar, this method is a little slow, but it does work. The application process is very simple. Rub the inside of the peel all over your teeth for 2-5 minutes, then follow it up by eating the banana if you happen to get hungry.
Vitamin C helps to break down plaque build up on teeth, so any fruit containing the vitamin can be helpful. Strawberries, however, are much more mild in the acid department than citrus fruits. They do contain an acid called malic acid which can remove stains from yellowed teeth. Crush strawberries into a paste, possibly even mix in a little baking soda, dip the head of your toothbrush into the paste and brush your teeth. Allow the mix to sit on your teeth for 5 minutes, then rinse your mouth clean with fresh water.
One of my personal favourites. I generally just use hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle, swishing a small amount around inside my mouth and letting it sit for about five minutes. I do this twice a day, morning and evening. It does tend to foam up a lot inside your mouth if you use too much. You only need a tiny little bit. For the quickest results use it 4 to 5 times a day for several days. You’ll see results almost immediately.
I’m a huge advocate of the electric toothbrush and have been using one for about 15 years. I just find them way more effective in getting your teeth and gums clean. While an electric toothbrush of itself isn’t a teeth whitening solution, the cleaner your teeth and gums are and the more free of plaque, the healthier your teeth will be and the more protected they will be from staining and dreaded tooth decay. There are a myriad of electric toothbrushes on the market, ranging in price from about ten dollars right up to hundreds of dollars. Most will do a pretty decent job. I do recommend staying away from the battery-operated ones, though. They just aren’t as effective and don’t last as long. Plus you burn through loads of batteries. If you buy one, choose one that comes with an AC charger.
Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Home treatments are a much cheaper alternative than going to a cosmetic dentist and getting a teeth whitening treatment. The results will be somewhat slower than the dental method, but they are still very effective. Especially when you compare the price of a home kit to the dentist’s procedure. The Alta White Teeth Whitening Kit has been featured on CNN, NBC and USA Today. It comes with some glowing endorsements and is definitely worth trying.