As you get older, the enamel on your teeth can become stained, taking on a yellow appearance. Other things that can make your teeth look yellow include plaque build-up or the enamel wearing away revealing the dentin underneath. Dentin is naturally yellow and gives your teeth an unsightly appearance.
Most tooth-whitening products use chemicals to bleach your teeth, but what are some common ways to whiten your teeth naturally?
How Teeth Whitening Works
The way most over-the-counter tooth whitening products work is through either a bleaching procedure or through a non-bleaching procedure. The bleaching procedure, used in most dentist offices, can make the shade of your teeth up to seven shades brighter. This process uses bleach to whiten your teeth.
You can also find over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, including whitening gel and strips. Just like in the dentist’s office, these products use chemicals to bleach your teeth to a lighter shade. Most often, these chemicals are either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide in a concentration of 10 to 22 percent.
A non-bleaching procedure relies on whitening toothpastes specially designed to polish and whiten your teeth when you brush. Just like in the dentist’s office, whitening toothpastes use mild abrasion to remove surface stains and then polish your teeth to make them look brighter.
Both procedures use non-natural ingredients to whiten your teeth, something that many people want to avoid. Luckily, there are some natural ways to make your teeth whiter. Here are some of the more natural tooth-whitening solutions.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid as the main ingredient. Not only does acetic acid kill bacteria, but it can also help whiten your teeth. And while studies show that apple cider vinegar does indeed have tooth-whitening powers, it can also soften your teeth and erode the enamel. Make sure to dilute it with water when making a mouthwash and to rinse your mouth with water afterward.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing and flossing every day is another effective way to keep your teeth white. The toothpaste can gently rub out stains, while flossing can cut down on the buildup of bacteria between your teeth. It is this bacteria that can lead to the formation of plaque, which can make your teeth appear yellow.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
While hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent sometimes used in dental-whitening procedures, the chemical is a natural solution to use at home. In addition to whitening your teeth, hydrogen peroxide can also kill plaque-causing bacteria. In addition, studies show that toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are safe and effective in whitening teeth.
Prevent Staining Early
To truly keep your teeth white and looking great, you should avoid items that can cause them to stain in the first place. Limiting the amount of coffee, red wine, soda, and dark berries you eat or drink can go a long way toward avoiding stains setting in. Smoking and chewing tobacco can also stain your teeth.
Use Baking Soda
Using baking soda alone is another effective and natural way to brighten your teeth. Naturally abrasive, baking soda can scrub away stains on the teeth while also creating an alkaline environment in the mouth, preventing bacteria from growing. In addition, toothpaste containing baking soda is an effective means of removing yellow stains and plaque from teeth.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Raw fruits and vegetables can also help clean your teeth when eaten, cutting down on the amount of plaque in your mouth. Strawberries and pineapple, in particular, are known as two fruits that can whiten your teeth. To top it off, eating raw fruits and veggies is good for you too.
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Oil pulling is another natural means to whiten your teeth. The oil is said to kill bacteria and helps to keep your mouth clean. To oil pull, place a tablespoon of sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 15 to 20 minutes. While swishing, push and pull the oil through your teeth. When finished, spit the oil into the trashcan instead of the sink so it doesn’t harden up and cause blockage in the plumbing.