In a previous article, we talked about over-the-counter and professional whitening solutions. But maybe you want to give your sensitive teeth, gums, and wallet a break! At Platinum Dental, we offer free whitening to all new patients, but if you want to brighten that smile before your next appointment without leaving home, here are some safe and effective at-home solutions brightening your smile.
- Baking Soda: Many toothpastes include baking soda as a whitening agent, this household staple combats yellow teeth and bad breath. One online source suggests mixing several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice (or water) to make a paste, and then apply the paste with your toothbrush, allowing to sit on the teeth for 1 minute, then rinse. In addition to this advice, our dentists advise leaving the paste for no longer than one minute so as to avoid any adverse effects from the acid on the enamel.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Deeply held stains are no match for this kitchen essential. Although it may take longer to see results, consistent users compare their whitening results to those of professional whitening kits. Simply use the apple cider vinegar to brush your teeth normally over a designated period of time, making sure to rinse completely so as to protect the enamel from over-exposure to the acid.
- Strawberries: Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid (and is also found in many whitening toothpastes). Just cut a berry in half, rub on your teeth for approximately one minute, and rinse.
- Eat Cheddar, Drink Milk: Lactic acid has been found to help maintain and strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Hard cheeses, like cheddar, not only help to remove other food particles from teeth but also fortify your diet with calcium and vitamin D.
- Follow Your Dentist’s Recommendations: Brushing twice per day for two minutes will not only remove surface stains but will prevent further damage and discoloration.
- Eat (naturally) Abrasive Foods: Apples, carrots, celery—all these foods contain cellulose which cleans teeth by removing surface stains. Considered by many dentists as “natural toothbrushes,” greens also provide a barrier to stains because of their mineral compounds.
- Blue-Based Red or Pink Lipstick: Red lipstick is notorious for making teeth appear more yellow. However, hues with cooler undertones make teeth appear brighter to the average eye. The same is true for dark colored clothing.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: A 3% solution hydrogen peroxide is considered safe for oral use by the American Dental Association (ADA). Swishing a 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water for about one minute and then rinsing with water is the recommended use. Following the rinse with your normal brushing routine helps to solidify results.
- Floss: So often we assume that brushing alone will effectively remove surface stains. However, flossing removes food particles and bacteria that live in the spaces between teeth. Both for cosmetic purposes and overall oral health, flossing is a must for whitening and strengthening your teeth.
- See Your Dentist: Not just once, but at regular intervals for cleanings and screenings. Professional cleaning with the best tools out there cannot be beat by any at-home solution. You will be equipped to combat problems from the start and notice major changes in your mouth.
- Make Small Changes: Quit smoking, cut back on the coffee and caramel-dyed beverages, drink less pop and increase your water intake. Steer clear of the foods and beverages that cause permanent stains and you will have a whiter smile.
None of these solutions will produce the immediate or guaranteed results of professional whitening, but each habit will enhance your oral health and, ultimately, your overall health. At Platinum Dental, our staff are more than qualified to provide personal consultation on the best oral health solutions for your situation and budget.