5 Tips for Whitening Your Smile at Home

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We all want a white smile.  But one of the challenges we all face is the tendency for our teeth to stain or become yellowed.  This is natural with age, but there are a number of strategies we can use to slow or reverse the process, up to and including cosmetic dentistry.  Although most pharmacies will offer methods to whiten or bleach your teeth, there are a number of natural methods to keep your smile white and turn back the clock.

Teeth yellow for two different reasons: stains and the thinning of the enamel, both of which tend to become more of an issue over time.  Enamel is the whitish protective layer that covers dentin, a yellow-brown layer within teeth.  When the enamel thins, the darker dentin layer shows through and the teeth begin to darken.  One of the best ways to prevent this is to brush properly to avoid wearing through the enamel.  It’s also important to avoid acidic foods and prevent gum disease with regular and effective oral hygiene.  Stains, on the other hand, are a result of outside influences, such as food, drink, and smoking.  Certain types of antibiotics can also stain the enamel.

Here are a few DIY methods from Bondi Dentists to help avoid or lighten stains and whiten teeth naturally:

1. Change your diet

First, try to avoid food and drink that will stain your teeth.  Some of the common culprits are coffee, juices, and dark sodas.  Also, beverages and foods that contain high tannin content, such as wine and tea, can stain the teeth as well.  Another common issue is acidic food or drink, such as soda, coffee, and citrus.  Acidic food and drink can thin the enamel to allow the darker colours of dentin to show through.  To reduce the impact of acidic food and drink, wait thirty minutes after eating or drinking before brushing.  It’s also best to rinse the teeth well before abrading them.  Finally, avoid smoking or other tobacco products, as these are major culprits for tooth staining.

2. Blend your toothpaste with baking soda

Baking soda is ideal for both preventing tooth decay and removing plaque.  And, though some people worry that it is too harsh, recent studies show that baking soda is safe for removing stains without wearing through enamel.  Remember that it’s important to brush properly, as excessive force can wear away enamel with or without baking soda. 

3. Rinse with hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can act as a mild bleaching agent to whiten teeth that have become stained or yellowed with age.  You can dilute it and use it to rinse after brushing a few times a week or blend it with baking soda to make a DIY toothpaste.  In either case, use it for one to two minutes each time.  This can be done twice a day for a week, though it should only be done occasionally.  Excessive use of hydrogen peroxide can result in increased sensitivity.

4. Fruit!

This is one of the best and most natural processes, ideal for prevention and effective in some cases to reverse staining.  Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet and improves health for a number of reasons.  Water rich fruits are ideal for mildly cleansing and rinsing the teeth, so including them as a part of your regular diet can help to prevent staining over time.  Some fruits take it a step farther with special enzymes.  Pineapple contains bromelain and papaya contains papain, both of which can be helpful for whitening teeth.  Strawberries contain malic acid, which has been shown to be effective in reducing dental stains.

5. Maintain excellent oral hygiene!

Though this is the last tip, we at Bondi Dental Care want to let you know that it’s as important as the rest put together.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Brushing and flossing properly and regularly helps to remove stains, prevent gum decay, and protect the enamel.  This means, brush twice a day, making sure to clean around the gums and the back of the teeth.  Make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste and look into proper brushing methods.

A few things to avoid: acidic compounds like lemon, oranges, and apple cider vinegar.  They will tend to wear through the enamel fast than the stains, so treatments with them can be counterproductive.

If you want to know more about proper oral care, or if you have any questions about what your teeth need, feel free to contact us.  At Bondi Dentists, we are dedicated to helping you have the whitest, healthiest smile you can have.