In 2015, 2,000 Brits were polled by the BUPA in regards to how they view their dental health. In the said poll, 42% admitted that their teeth would be the first thing they changed about themselves while 28% stated that they would refuse to smile in pictures because of how their teeth looked. These feelings are not just exclusive to the British. Many Americans share those sentiments as well. Having whiter and brighter teeth has become one of the latest self-care trends to rise to the spotlight of routines. However, having whiter teeth does not always mean your teeth are healthy. Your teeth are covered with a layer of enamel. Underneath this enamel is a pale brown substance called dentin. Dentin becomes more visible the thinner your enamel gets. The color of the dentin can appear darker if proper preventive care isn’t taken to keep teeth clean. Substances and chemicals that contribute to the darkening of dentin include:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Enamel thinning due to age
- Poor diet that includes food with high acid and sugars
- Chronic dry mouth
- Open-mouthed breathing caused by blocked nasal passages
- Excessive fluoride intake
- Genetic Predisposition
Luckily, there are many ways to whiten and brighten your teeth in a way that isn’t harmful to your enamel. If you prefer to whiten your teeth naturally, here are some options you can consider.
Brushing After you Eat or Drink
This sounds like advice straight out of your dentist’s mouth. This is because they know what they are talking about. Brushing your teeth right after you consume food or beverages prevents the residual acids and chemicals from adhering to your teeth and breaking down your enamel. Of course, this isn’t always practical to your daily life so at least try and brush after breakfast and before you go to bed.
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Paste and Rinse
An effective mouthwash can be made using just the hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. Start by brushing your teeth normally with your usual toothpaste and finish it off by swishing around the hydrogen peroxide mixture for one minute and rinsing. This mixture will effectively kill many germs still remaining in your mouth.
Another method that is effective is making a paste out of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. For the safety of your enamel, you will want to make the paste runny. This is because baking soda is fairly gritty and the last thing you want to do is scrub your enamel off. IT DOES NOT GROW BACK. When brushing with this paste, make sure you reach all the way to the back of your teeth and use a regular toothbrush. Rub the paste onto your teeth for thirty seconds and rinse well.
Coconut Oil Pulling
This one may not sound appealing but it has been proven to work and there are a few methods to using coconut oil. The first is to simply put a spoonful of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it between your teeth for five to twenty minutes. You can also brush it onto your teeth using a smaller amount on your toothbrush. You might also consider this same method but with a washcloth.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has come into the spotlight recently as an all-purpose substance used for anything ranging from a weight loss method to use in a homemade fly trap. You can now add teeth whitener to the list. Dip your toothbrush into the apple cider vinegar and brush it onto your teeth for one minute. Once it has been rinsed out, follow up by brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that is fluoride-free
Lemon and Orange Peels
It isn’t an uncommon method to use citrus juice and peels to clean caked on grime. The citric acid is potent enough to break through with ease. That being said if you opt to clean your teeth with citric acid, be sure to rinse your mouth very, very well. This is because any remaining acid can eat away at your enamel and it would defeat the purpose of using it to whiten your teeth.
If you aren’t quite comfortable using made-at-home methods of teeth whitening, there are many, many products on the market designed to whiten your teeth while also keeping them safe. Here are a few that come highly recommended for a variety of reasons.
A consensus of the reviews reveals that this product is very comfortable to use. Once the whitening strips have been applied, an LED light is used to brighten and cleanse your teeth. Users have stated that, while this product will stay in place during use, the strips can be difficult to remove by the end of the session.
Crest 3D White Professional Effects
This brand is probably one of the more popular and advertised products on the market. The low cost should not deter you from trying it out as it is fast acting with great results. However, there have been reports of increased tooth sensitivity and pain after the first couple of uses.
This kit is a little more on the expensive side. These strips are reportedly short, only covering from canine to canine but they are great for sensitive teeth and produce long-lasting results fast.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, this might work for you. The application process is easy and it contains enamel-safe ingredients. The downside has been reported that the whitening gel can separate from the whitening strip and become messy. At worst this might also render the strip unusable.
This is another affordable brand to consider. Users report that it is fast acting but can be uncomfortable to use.