Whitening teeth at home – what you need to know
Perhaps you have experienced this before; you’re feeling good, so you decide to take a couple of selfies, but when you look over them you stop in your tracks — yellow teeth. Before you hit that delete button, you probably wonder what turned your pearly whites to an off yellow.
The realization that your teeth, which you probably brushed and never thought twice about before, are slowly turning yellow is a sobering thought. But time and bad habits can wreck havoc on your smile if left untreated.
But not to worry, we’ve got your back. Here we look into how to whiten teeth at home, without massive expenses and without numerous trips to the dentist.
What causes teeth to yellow?
The truth is, yellowing of the teeth is something that happens gradually. Usually you don’t notice it until you take that photo, or someone points it out. While yellowing teeth from the health perspective is not cause for alarm, it can certainly give your confidence a knock.
So why do teeth go yellow over time? Good question. There are lots of reasons; stain-causing beverages and foods, neglect, wear and tear, can all cause those once white teeth to dull over time.
But with some attention and care, teeth can be restored. However, if you want to maintain teeth whiteness for years to come, take note of what causes teeth yellowing. Some of the main ones are:
One of the primary causes of teeth discoloration is age. Just like a white shirt that’s been washed over and over again, our teeth stop looking so bright after a number of years. This is usually due to the wearing down of the enamel, a shiny white protective covering on our teeth.
Enamel thins and fades with age. As the enamel thins, the dentin beneath it becomes more visible. The majority of a tooth structure is made up of dentin, a substance that is essentially calcified tissue. It is almost bone-like in hardness and it ranges from yellow to brown in appearance. While enamel can be whitened, dentin cannot. What this means is that depending on how thin your enamel is, or the color of your dentin, you may not be able to get your teeth to your desired whiteness
Just like age, this is another teeth yellowing factor that is somewhat out of your control. Like your hair or eye color, teeth color is hereditary. There are four main teeth hues that teeth tend to come in: reddish yellow, reddish brown, gray and reddish gray. But do not be dismayed, the good news is that teeth whitening products can make a difference, no matter what tooth hue you have inherited.
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Foods and drinks
If you want to know which foods stain teeth; coffee, tea, sodas, wine, berries, sugar, as well as acidic foods and drinks are usually the biggest culprits.
That does seem like a lot of foods that could potentially stain your teeth, particularly if any of them are on your daily menu. Before you break out into a sweat, thinking of how you will have to skip that morning coffee, don’t worry, it hasn’t come to that yet. You don’t necessarily need to avoid all the above foods completely, however limiting them should be considered.
In cases where major limitation is not a viable option, be sure to properly clean your teeth whenever you consume any of these teeth staining foods and drinks.
Aside from being detrimental to your health and the freshness of your breath, tobacco is also a major cause of severe teeth staining. And whether your chosen method is cigarettes, a cigar, pipe or dip, tobacco is still tobacco.
If this is the cause of your yellowing teeth, the best way to whiten them is to ditch the tobacco for good.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Good teeth need good care. Teeth need to be brushed at least twice a day, and let’s not forget regular flossing. While flossing is generally overlooked, it’s essential when it comes to keeping trapped food out from between the teeth. It’s this trapped food that leads to tartar buildup and eventually cavities.
So what is tartar? This substance begins as colorless plaque – which you can easily remove via brushing. However, if left, this yellowing and unsightly substance hardens on your teeth. Once this happens, this can only be removed by your dentist.
Tips for whiter teeth
Use these tips to whiten teeth at home. These are easy to implement and make a massive impact to your dental health and smile.
Brushing your teeth
To start getting those teeth looking bright again, you need to start brushing your teeth more often – and in the right way. As mentioned before, if you eat teeth staining foods and drinks, you need to get into the habit of brushing afterwards.
That being said, take care when brushing straight after consuming acidic foods and drinks. When you brush staright after an acidic beverage or food, it can actually brush more enamel away – which you certainly don’t want.
Teeth brushing should be done at least twice a day for around 2 minutes. Set a timer somewhere, so you actually do the two minutes. Also, really get in there between the nooks and crevices.
There’s no need to be overly vigorous with your teeth brushing, gentle circular motions are enough to ensure you remove stains while protecting your gums. Always brush the chewing surface of your teeth, inside and outside.
An electric toothbrush is also a handy tool for removing more stains on the teeth. However, just like a normal brush, replace the heads every three months.
Foods that whiten teeth – eat these more regularly
Did you know that just like there are foods that stain your teeth, there are foods that whiten teeth too? So you get to eat and improve your smile, definitely win win. Below are some foods that improve oral health and give you a healthier, whiter smile.
Dairy: Cheese, yogurt and milk are all high in calcium. These all help in strengthening tooth enamel.
Apples: Who doesn’t like a nice crunchy apple. As a bonus, these fruits help improve gum health while stimulating saliva production. The increase of saliva helps to remove foods particles and also flush out harmful acids.
Raw onions: Rich in sulfur, it’s this element found in raw onions that prevents plaque from forming.
Abrasive textured vegetables and nuts: Aside from there satisfying crunch, nuts, carrots and broccoli are coarse in texture. It is this coarseness that works so well in scrubbing off stains from the teeth. Best of all, they benefit your overall health, so crunch away.
Strawberries: The malic acid within strawberries help to remove surface stains naturally.
Brush Your Tongue
Tongues often get neglected when it comes to brushing, but think about it, when you eat, drink or swallow, your tongue is involved. So, just like the teeth, bacteria can accumulate on your tongue. The act of brushing your tongue removes food particles and stops bacteria in its tracks.
If left alone, excessive bacteria on the tongue can be rubbed onto the teeth and cause stains.
Mouthwash for whitening teeth
Mouthwash is not just for fresher breath, it can also reduce bacteria buildup, which leads to tooth-decay.
To get whiter teeth, look for a mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide. It’s the hydrogen peroxide that is the main ingredient in most teeth whitening products.
Teeth Whitening Gum
Saliva is crucial in helping to remineralize your teeth. So when you produce more saliva via chewing gum, this will strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities in the long run.
However, if you really want to whiten your teeth through chewing gum, you will need to find gum that contains sodium hexametaphosphate. It’s this that will help remove existing stains and prevent future stains from occuring.
Gum can also contain abrasives which, just like rougher textured vegetables, can rub against the teeth and help to clean them.
Whiten teeth with Arak root
Also called the “toothbrush root”, ancient Egyptians utilized Aarak in curing dental ailments. Nowadays, this root can easily be found in herbal medicine, and is one of the best natural methods to whiten teeth.
Arak root is naturally high in sodium bicarbonate, potassium and fluoride, it helps combat dirt accumulated on the enamel. To use massage the root over the entire surface of the teeth for a few minutes, this should gradually remove stains.
Teeth-Whitening kits at home
There was a time that if you wanted to really whiten your teeth you would have to go and get them professionally done. Dentist would use highly concentrated chemical bleaching agents consisting of 38% hydrogen peroxide gel and 45% carbamide peroxide. No doubt, most dental whitening results are amazing – but who wants to spend hundreds and even thousands to whiten your teeth?
Thankfully, teeth whitening kits enable many people to safely whiten their teeth at home. The best we have tried so far is Ivismile, which can be found below.
This home teeth-whitening kit is ideal for those who want professional teeth whitening results and affordability. It has a high enough concentration of 22% cabamide and hydrogen peroxide to really whiten teeth at a deeper level, and all without leaving your home.
This diy teeth whitening kit is a superior product and is designed by industry professionals. Follow the simple instructions included in the kit and say hello to a more dazzling smile.
Of course there’s other ways to whiten teeth at home, like using baking soda. But this, like any abrasive treatment, should be used sparingly. Our recommendation would be to use a home whitening kit, like the one we recommended above, and then maintain your teeth whiteness with regular brushing and mouthwashes.