Tea, coffee, berries, and tomato sauce all have two things in common: they taste great, but they can leave unsightly stains on your teeth. Even with regular dental cleanings, it’s hard to stop these stains from accumulating.
So how can you get a brighter smile and still enjoy your favorite foods?
Many dentists use bleaching agents containing hydrogen peroxide to lighten teeth. Consult your dentist before using any bleaching products, but there are many non-bleaching options you can try at home. These alternatives will not change the natural color of your teeth, but they can give you a whiter smile by removing plaque and surface stains.
Here are four natural and environmentally friendly remedies you can try at home:
1. Baking Soda with Water
Baking soda is a mild abrasive, which is why it can get rid of surface stains on your teeth.
How to use it: Create a paste of equal parts baking soda and water, and brush it gently onto your teeth. Rinse your mouth completely with water after two minutes.
Avoid using baking soda more than once a week for two minutes at a time. If used too often, baking soda can damage the enamel of your teeth. Talk to your dentist if you start feeling pain or sensitivity.
2. Oil Pulling
Swishing with coconut or sesame oil can reduce the number of bacteria on your teeth, helping to remove and prevent those unpleasant stains. (Note that it shouldn’t replace normal brushing and flossing.)
How to use it: Swish one tablespoon of oil around in your mouth for five minutes. You can increase to 10-15 minutes over time. Spit in the garbage, not the sink. (You don’t want clogged pipes!) Finish by rinsing with water.
3. Choosing the Right Foods
Photo sources: Skånska Matupplevelser, t-mizo, Didriks
Believe it or not, these foods are actually good for tooth enamel, which protects your teeth against stains.
• Cheese and milk are rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorus, which are good for your teeth. They also encourage your mouth to produce saliva—its natural cleaner.
• The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and flax are anti-inflammatories. They help your mouth protect itself by warding off inflammation and infection.
• Swish water around your mouth after eating foods that stain your teeth. It might sound obvious, but doing this diligently can make a big difference.
If you love coffee or tea, try to enjoy that steaming mug all at once rather than sipping throughout the day. Then rinse with water when you’re done.
4. Maintaining a Healthy Mouth
Photo source: Marc Samsom
The best way to get beautiful teeth is to keep them healthy. Brushing and flossing regularly removes teeth-staining plaque and food residue.
I hope these natural methods help make your pearly whites whiter. If you’re still not happy with your smile, give us a call or schedule an appointment to talk about more serious cosmetic teeth whitening options.
Image photos from: Liesl, Veganbaking.net, Anne Swoboda, William Warby