Discolored and stained teeth are one of the most frequent complaints that dentists hear from their patients. Apart from aging, there are several other factors can make even a young person's teeth become yellow or gray. Tobacco that's either smoked or chewed is one of the biggest threats to white teeth. Other offenders are tea, coffee, red wine, cola, grape juice, cranberry juice, blueberries, spices and condiments. In fact, any type of food or beverage that permanently stains clothing is likely to impact the brightness of your smile. Some people also have stains that are described as intrinsic. This means that the stains originate within the enamel or dentin of the tooth. Intrinsic stains can be caused by medication and silver fillings.
Attempting to treat discoloration on your own puts you at risk of damaging your teeth or gums. It's important to talk to your dentist about the cause of your stains before you take action. Many food and beverage stains can be treated with professional cleaning or whitening. If you have intrinsic stains, your dentist may suggest cosmetic treatments. Before you seek dental treatment, bear in mind that all teeth lose their whiteness over time and it's not realistic to expect your teeth to return to a pristine shade of white.
Want Whiter Teeth? Remember These Dos and Don'ts!
After surface or intrinsic stains have been corrected, you can follow the techniques described below to keep your teeth bright and prevent stains from returning.
- Clean Your Teeth - Daily brushing is a necessity for whiter teeth. Brush with a light touch and a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid the formation of grooves in your teeth. If you want to be sure that you're doing a thorough job, use an electric toothbrush.
- Floss Regularly - Stained teeth tend to look worse along the edges due to an accumulation of plaque and food residue. Fight plaque with daily flossing and you'll see fewer stains on your teeth.
- Get Tooth-Whitening Kits - There are a wide variety of at-home tooth whitening kits available in supermarkets, pharmacies and over the Internet. These include whitening strips and gels that are applied directly to the teeth or placed in a mouth tray. Many of these products are recommended by dentists and some are even used in dental offices. The majority contain carbamide peroxide that bleaches surface stains as well as deeper discoloration from the teeth.
- Avoid Substances That Stain the Teeth - Exercise discretion with coffee and tea since they can stain your teeth in the same way that they stain a porcelain cup. Try to brush your teeth after drinking coffee and tea. If you haven't given up tobacco for your health, consider doing it for your smile.
Top Natural Home Remedies for Whiter Teeth
These natural remedies can help whiten your teeth without requiring expensive dental visits or treatments.
- Strawberries - This delicious fruit contains Vitamin C and an enzyme called malic acid. Both substances appear to have tooth whitening properties. Mash strawberries and use the mixture to brush your teeth, or eat strawberries slowly to give your teeth maximum exposure to the fruit.
- Crunchy Veggies and Fruits - Celery, apples, carrots and other crunchy vegetables and fruits are like natural toothbrushes. As you chew, stains are erased from the surface of your teeth and food debris is removed from between your teeth. Acids in these foods also help whiten your teeth.
- Table Salt - Brush your teeth with a mixture of iodine rich salt and lemon juice or mixture of salt, baking soda and vinegar. Use salt treatments sparingly since the abrasive qualities in salt can damage tooth enamel if overused.
- Basil - A mixture of basil powder and dried orange rind can be used as a natural tooth whitener. Brushing with the mixture will also help kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.
- Lemon - Citrus fruits like lemons are natural stain removers due to their acidic content. They also contain Vitamin C, which kills bacteria and fights gum disease. Lemons increase saliva production, another natural mechanism for cleaning the teeth. Be careful not to overdo this treatment since the acid in lemon juice can remove calcium from the teeth and weaken them.
- Sage - The leaves of the sage bush are used in many tooth and gum medications. Brushing with sage leaves can also help whiten the teeth.
- Walnut - Crushed walnuts can be used as a natural tooth cleanser and anti-yellowing agent, but care must be taken to avoid damaging the surface of the teeth.
- Wood Ash - Potassium peroxide, a substance found in wood ash, is a natural bleaching area that whitens the teeth. Brushing the teeth with wood ash can brighten your smile, but don't overdo it since potassium peroxide can harm tooth enamel over time.
- Oil Pulling - This inexpensive treatment originated in Indian. Take a tablespoon of pure, organic oil and swish it in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Spit out the oil, rinse and drink two to three glasses of purified water.
- Hydrogen Peroxide - Swishing food-grade hydrogen peroxide (FGHP) in the mouth for a few seconds can help prevent bacteria growth and bad breath as well as whitening the teeth. You can also swish with a mixture of 50 percent FGHP and 50 percent water.
- Use a Straw - Sip fruit juices, cola, iced tea and other staining beverages through a straw whenever possible to help protect your teeth from stains.