Simple Tricks For Whiter Teeth
There are lots of simple tricks and hacks you can do for whiter teeth. Here are the best tips to have the brightest smile of them all!Life Hacks
The eyes might be the window to the soul, but a set of gleaming white teeth is enough to charm the pants off anyone. You don’t have to fork out big time for a winning smile; there are plenty of tricks you can try at home to transform your grill. Let's take a look at some simple DIY hacks to get your teeth shining bright!
What Causes Yellowing of Teeth?
Before we get started, let's understand how your teeth can start to turn yellow in the first place. Although some tooth discoloration is normal as we age, there are a few other factors that can cause your gnashers to look a little worse for wear.
Firstly, certain foods and drinks like red wine and coffee are high in staining micro compounds known as tannins which can get into the uppermost layer of your teeth called the enamel, causing discoloration.
One of the other most common causes is a build-up of plaque, which is a soft, sticky film on your teeth that contains millions of bacteria. Without regular brushing, plaque can be responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, not to mention yellowing.
In other cases, teeth can become discolored because the hard enamel has eroded completely, revealing the naturally yellow, bony tissue called dentin that lies beneath. It’s important to maintain shipshape oral hygiene to protect the enamel on your teeth and keep plaque at bay, but it isn’t too late to turn things around.
Oil Pulling For Teeth
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy that is supposed to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. It doesn’t sound too pleasant, but the practice involves swishing oil around your mouth to rid your teeth of bacteria that could turn into plaque, causing yellowing.
Although sunflower and sesame oil have been used traditionally, coconut oil is a popular choice because of its many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, boosting heart health, and improving the appearance of hair and skin.
It’s pretty simple: just put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and push the oil through your teeth, before spitting it into a trashcan.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you’ll need to wait a few seconds for it to melt; avoid spitting it into the sink for the same reason, or else it could return to solid form and clog your drainpipes. You can continue this process for around 15-20 minutes.
One study from 2008 found that daily swishing with sesame oil significantly reduces streptococcus mutans (one of the primary plaque-causing types of bacteria in the mouth) in as little as one week.
Coconut oil is also high in lauric acid, which is proven to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria in the mouth. Although oil pulling has not yet been scientifically proven for its teeth-whitening qualities, it’s a safe practice and definitely worth a try!
You probably don’t know this, but baking soda is already a popular ingredient in many commercial toothpastes because of its natural whitening properties. Sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound that creates an alkaline environment in your mouth that can eliminate harmful bacteria and reduce staining.
Baking soda also acts as a mild abrasive, which means it can help scrub away plaque on the teeth. There are several ways you can incorporate baking soda into your regular brushing routine. The most popular is to mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water to create a paste that you can brush with a few times a week, for no longer than 2 minutes at a time.
It won’t be an overnight fix, but you should start to notice a difference in the appearance of your teeth in a couple of weeks. Research hasn’t focused on brushing with baking soda alone, but a 2008 review of 5 different studies found that toothpaste containing baking soda removed plaque far more effectively than non-baking soda toothpaste.
Everything in excess can be harmful, and overuse of baking soda could be damaging to enamel, so it’s important to use this remedy in moderation!
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that has been used throughout the ages to disinfect wounds because of its bacteria-killing properties. Many commercial whitening products you can buy in stores contain hydrogen peroxide, however, there are some ways you can use it at home in a lower concentration to achieve similar effects.
You can purchase hydrogen peroxide online or at the drugstore as a 3% solution, but it’s best to dilute this concentration to 1.5% by mixing equal parts water and peroxide. Sticking to a solution of 1.5-3% is a safe bet to avoid any side effects like gum irritation or tooth sensitivity. You can use the diluted mixture as a regular mouthwash before brushing by swilling it around the mouth before spitting.
Another method is to combine 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of baking soda to create a toothpaste that you can gently brush with. Again, it’s best to limit the use of this homemade paste to a few times per week as overuse could erode enamel.
Investigations into the effects of rinsing or brushing with hydrogen peroxide alone are limited, but one study from 2012 found that brushing with a commercial toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide twice a day led to 62% whiter teeth in just two weeks!
Foods That Whiten Teeth Naturally
We already know that a diet high in fruit and veg is good for your body, but what if I told you these simple foods could help improve your smile too? It’s often thought that crunchy, raw veg can act as a natural abrasive to rub away plaque as you chew, while the act of chewing itself can increase saliva production, which helps remove food particles that are stuck in your teeth while washing away any harmful acids.
One of the stranger vegetables that has been touted for its teeth-whitening properties is raw ginger, which is probably not something many people would choose to pop into their mouths.
Besides having antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits, some believe that gently rubbing grated ginger over your teeth can help whiten them thanks to its abrasiveness, while its vitamin C content could be beneficial in strengthening enamel.
Strawberries and pineapples are two fruits that have been hailed for their potentially whitening properties. In recent years, various celebrities have popularised a remedy that involves brushing with a strawberry and baking soda mixture, although this method hasn’t yet been backed up by science.
The main claims are that the malic acid found in strawberries will eliminate discoloration, while the baking soda will buff away stains. Although strawberries may have exfoliating properties for battling plaque, they’re unlikely to penetrate stains, according to a recent study that found that the mixture produced very little change compared to commercial whitening products.
In 2012, another study found that toothpaste containing bromelain, a natural enzyme found in pineapple, was more effective at removing stains than toothpaste. Although eating these fruits alone is unlikely to transform your teeth, there’s no harm in getting more of them in your diet!
Fruit Peel Rub
Another fruity solution to whiter teeth involves rubbing the rind or peel of certain fruits on your teeth instead of using the flesh itself. It sounds totally crazy, but the idea is that the plentiful vitamins and minerals found in the skin of bananas, oranges, and lemons can help to buff off stains and promote whitening.
Some claim that this is thanks to the compound d-limonene alongside citric acid, which is found in citrus fruit peels, but specific research is still lacking. One 2010 study found that those who brushed with a toothpaste containing 5% d-limonene combined with a whitening formula twice daily for 4 weeks significantly reduced some smoking stains, but not long-standing stains like tea or wine stains.
In 2017, one published paper tested the potential of citric acid extracts from four different types of orange peel as a teeth whitener and found that they had varying whitening abilities on teeth, with tangerine peel extract achieving the best results. Although this at-home method could be worth a try, don’t go too crazy on the fruit peel because the acid could wear away your enamel, increasing tooth sensitivity.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You might already have this everyday ingredient in your kitchen cupboard, but you probably haven’t considered it for its so-called miracle teeth-whitening properties before. Apple cider vinegar already has a centuries-old history as a disinfectant and natural cleansing product, because acetic acid, which is its main active ingredient, is a straight-up bacteria slayer.
By diluting it with water, you can use apple cider vinegar as a regular mouthwash for several minutes before brushing, although it probably won’t taste too great! In 2014, a study conducted in China tested the effects of apple cider vinegar on cows' teeth and found that the vinegar exhibited bleaching properties which aided whitening.
However, the study also found that excessive use could soften teeth, while the high acetic acid content could potentially contribute to eroding enamel. In one 2012 case study, researchers concluded that one young woman’s erosive tooth wear was the result of her daily consumption of a glass of apple cider vinegar for weight loss.
So, if you’re going to go down this route, you should limit the amount of time the vinegar is in contact with your teeth, and make sure to rinse your mouth out with water afterward!
Get Rid Of Stains
One of the most straightforward ways to keep your teeth in top nick is to try and prevent stains from developing in the first place. There are plenty of foods and drinks that can dull your shine if you consume them regularly over a prolonged period of time.
Red berries, beetroot, soy sauce, and even popsicles are among those that are known to cause discoloration. You should always aim to brush your teeth as soon after eating them as possible. When it comes to beverages, it’s the things we tend to drink the most that are the most damaging to our teeth: including tea and coffee, red wine, and most sodas.
A handy tip for protecting your pearly whites without having to give up your favorite drink is to sip them through a straw instead; your evening glass of wine might not feel so classy, but your teeth will thank you for it!
Sugar is another thing you should try to cut down on because diets that are high in sugary food and drinks have been shown to promote the growth of those nasty streptococcus mutans that can cause plaque and gingivitis.
Because most yellowing is caused by enamel erosion, which exposes the yellow dentin beneath, anything you can do to protect that upper layer is key. Certain calcium-rich foods like cheese, broccoli, and milk have been shown to protect enamel from erosion; so swerve the sugar and choose calcium instead!
The thought of putting charcoal in your mouth may not be an attractive one, but this slightly unconventional fix has been shown to help your teeth regain their shine. Because it’s such an absorbent material, charcoal is believed to be able to remove pigments and stains with ease.
There are plenty of charcoal toothpastes out there, but one of the most immediate ways to try this method is to empty of capsule of activated charcoal (which you can get in drugstores) onto your toothbrush. Gently brush your teeth in small, circular motions for 2 minutes, being especially careful around the gums, because charcoal can be abrasive; then spit it back out.
Alternatively, you can mix activated charcoal with a small amount of water to create a mouthwash that you should use before thoroughly brushing and cleaning your mouth. Don’t be alarmed, at first, it will probably look like you’ve been chewing lumps of coal, but once you wash it all off your teeth will be right as rain again.
More scientific evidence is needed to prove the benefits of activated charcoal; however, one paper published in 2019 found that charcoal toothpaste can whiten teeth within 4 weeks.
The last simple trick for whiter teeth is the most obvious, and it’s one you’ve probably heard your dentist say time and time again. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, as well as after you consume staining or sugary food and drink.
You should also brush in small, circular motions to ensure you’re not putting too much pressure on your gums. And don’t forget to brush the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
Always brush your tongue too; no one likes bad breath. If you’ve just eaten or drunk something acidic, you should also hold off brushing your teeth immediately because those acids can break down your enamel, and the last thing you want is to accidentally brush that away!
And don’t underestimate the power of flossing. As we know, a build-up of plaque is one of the biggest known causes of discoloration (besides natural aging) and flossing is proven to be one of the most effective ways of removing bacteria and plaque from the mouth. If you look after your teeth, they’ll look after you!
I hope you find these simple tricks for whiter teeth useful. Thanks for reading!