How Can I Whiten My Teeth?
Over-the-counter tooth whitening products, when overused, can lead to erosion of tooth enamel. Tooth bleaching is best done under the professional supervision of your dentist. While over-the-counter kits can cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, patients surveyed reported little or no sensitivity after using dentist-administered products.
The best way to enjoy the benefits of your tooth whitening treatment for as long as possible is to eat lots of healthy foods, brush and rinse your teeth and gums regularly, avoid smoking and omit foods from your diet that cause staining.
Top 10 Tips for Whiter Teeth:
- Brush. Brush your teeth after eating or drinking.
- Make Paste. Brush your teeth with a small amount baking soda mixed with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to remove plaque and scrub surface stains from teeth. Or, use a hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse. You can make your own by mixing one part water with one part hydrogen peroxide, swishing it around your mouth for about one minute, and then rinsing with water. Hydrogen peroxide not only helps whiten teeth, but also has been shown to eliminate bad bacteria and protect against certain gum diseases.
- Stay Neutral. Avoid acidic beverages, such as sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, red wine, tea, coffee and soda. In addition to softening the enamel of your teeth, which makes your teeth susceptible to damage and staining, the dark color of many of these liquids contribute to tooth staining.
- Go Light. Avoid red wine, and dark juices (including blended green juices), whose deep color and tannins stain tooth enamel. If you do drink red wine, pair it with cheese. Cheese and other dairy products such as milk and yogurt will stimulate your salivary glands to produce extra saliva, which will help break down the discoloration. In addition, the calcium in dairy products strengthens teeth and gums, and the milk protein casein has been shown to reduce mineral loss in tooth enamel.
- Don’t Smoke. Cigarettes and cigars contain nicotine, which yellows teeth.
- Exfoliate. Your teeth, that is. Sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts and cashews are abrasive and can actually help buff stains from the surface of your teeth.
- Eat Your Fruits. Consume fruits with tooth-whitening benefits, such as pineapples, strawberries, apples, cherries, bananas, peaches and nectarines. The enzyme bromelian in pineapple breaks down proteins on the surface of your teeth, which helps dissolve stains and discoloration. The malic acids the other fruits listed acts as an astringent that will help you maintain strong dental health by helping dissolve stains on the surface of your teeth.
- Eat Your Veggies. Eat high-fiber, course-textured raw vegetables to help strip the teeth of surface stains as you chew them, such as celery, cauliflower and broccoli. Nuts and seeds can also aid in cleaning teeth, and raw onion will help you combat plaque.
- Avoid Bubbles. Drink and swish still water after eating highly-pigmented foods to help prevent staining. Carbonation can damage tooth enamel, so stick to still water.
- Go Coconuts. Put a few drops of coconut oil onto your toothbrush and brush it onto your teeth. Leave the oil on your teeth for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. The antimicrobial properties of this oil can help protect and clean your gums as well as help whiten your teeth.