Show off your pearly whites and smile like everyone is watching.
As teeth yellow over time, sometimes it takes a while before you notice that your pearly whites look a little dingy and are in need of a touch up. Donning a white shirt and then looking in the mirror can make you wonder where the sparkle from your smile went. Whether it's the coffee, wine, summer berries, or plaque build up, the question remains: how do you get them back to their sparkly white color?
While there are a lot of whitening products out there—from mouthwash to white strips—these products can contain harsh chemicals that end up causing tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Below are three options for a more gentle whitening solution.
Oil pulling strives to capture and remove harmful bacteria in your mouth. Most people who practice oil pulling choose extra-virgin coconut oil. It is arguably the best tasting oil, but does come in solid form, which means you must work a little harder in the beginning to melt the oil in your mouth as you swish it. The oil will melt quickly, however, and become just as thin as any other oil. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, a strong antibacterial that can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi within your body. This acid will work just as well in your mouth as it attacks harmful bacteria—especially Streptococcus mutans—the leading bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Swish 1 tablespoon of oil in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. Once the time is up, spit the oil into a trashcan. Then, rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth.
Baking soda takes the prize as the most versatile whitening product. You can use it for you hair as well as your smile. The natural whitening properties in this kitchen ingredient promote alkalinity in your mouth to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. You also may be surprised that many of our favorite tooth paste brands already include baking soda in their ingredients. But you can give your mouth an extra dose to scrub away the buildup of stains.
Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda together with 2 teaspoons water and brush your teeth with your new toothpaste concoction a few times a week. Do continue using your normal toothpaste and keep up with your regular brushing and flossing routine as well.
Did you know that your diet can promote a brighter smile? Raw fruits and veggies can especially help whiten your teeth. The crunchier, the better to scrub off the plaque build up. The malic acid in strawberries, for example, has been known to remove discoloration or yellowing. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain that can potentially exfoliate your teeth better than some toothpastes.
Calcium can also help protect the enamel in your teeth from eroding. Try to include foods rich in calcium, like broccoli, milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you don't think you are eating enough, you can also supplement with a calcium vitamin.
Include the above foods in your diet and/or mash a strawberry or a pineapple slice with 1 teaspoon baking soda for another toothpaste concoction that will double down on your teeth whitening regime.
You do not have to nix the caffeine, red wine, or berries from your diet. Don't worry—take a breath. But, they are especially known for permeating the white of your teeth. Try to limit the contact they have with your teeth. Use a straw to sip your beverages (I know, a little weird to sip wine from a straw). But for whiter teeth? I think it's worth it. Also, brush your teeth as soon as you finish drinking or eating these substances in order to decrease the amount of time they have to work on degrading your teeth's color.
Besides strong-colored foods, foods high in sugar can cause your teeth to yellow as well. The more sugar you eat, the more your mouth can grow and house Streptococcus mutans. Try to limit the amount of sugary foods you consume and, when you do consume them, brush your teeth right after eating them.