You want the kind of teeth you see in the magazines – sparkling white. The whiter, the better. If your teeth glow in the dark, that would be perfect. OK, maybe not that white, but pretty white.
The problem is, you can never seem to get those kinds of results at home, or can you?
Take It Easy On Teas and Coffee
Coffee, tea, and other dark beverages do a number on teeth. Sure, you can whiten your teeth every day (which would not be good for the enamel), but if you keep throwing stain-causing agents at it, you’re creating more work for yourself.
So, while you don’t have to completely cut out coffee or black tea, you should probably take it easy on those beverages. At the end of the day, they’re not going to prevent you from getting white teeth, but they’ll make it harder. So, maybe you could sip them through a straw (as long as it’s not piping hot) or brush immediately after drinking them.
Use Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal can help remove stains. Make a paste of it and apply it to your teeth. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then, wash it off. Your teeth will be whiter before you know it.
Use Baking Soda
You have to be careful with baking soda, but this is one of the best ways to whiten your teeth. Make a paste with baking soda and water. Then, apply the paste to your teeth. Brush gently. This is key. You do not want to brush vigorously because baking soda is an abrasive. And, doing so could damage your enamel – especially if you do it over time.
Let the baking soda sit on your teeth for at least 10 minutes. Then, rinse. If you do this once per week, you should notice whiter teeth after a few weeks of application. It takes time, but this is one of the gentlest and most effective home whitening methods you can use.
If you want even more powerful whitening, add hydrogen peroxide. Cut the time on the teeth by at least 5 minutes as peroxide is a bleaching agent and can be very harsh on your teeth.
Get More Vitamin D
Everyone knows that vitamin D is essential for good health. What you might not realize is that vitamin D will help your teeth become whiter. Because vitamin D is instrumental in bone formation, and teeth are bones, more vitamin D means stronger teeth.
In other words, vitamin D will help with remineralizing teeth, making them look whiter and feel stronger.
There are several ways to get more vitamin D, with the easiest being supplementation. However, food supplements may not be the more efficient way to get vitamin D if your body doesn’t absorb it very well.
The most highly-absorbable way to get vitamin D is by spending 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the color of your skin) out in the sun under a high UV index.
UVB is ultraviolet light that is responsible both for causing skin cancer and for producing vitamin D in the skin. The key is to get enough sunshine to product vitamin D but not so much that you cause damage to your skin.
This means getting moderate exposure to sunlight each and every day. You will develop a “sunkissed” glow and be healthier for it. And, the contrast between your skin and your teeth will make them look even whiter.
Go To Your Dentist
This is definitely not the last thing you should do, but go to your dentist. If you can’t afford to pay out of pocket, contact Guardian Life about some dental insurance.
The dentist can perform a variety of tooth-whitening techniques that are either impossible or impractical (and unsafe) for you to do at home.
For example, dentists can purchase and apply special tooth whitening pastes which are not for sale on the retail market. They also have the skill and experience to help you whiten your teeth without damaging them.
Most at-home tooth whitening agents contain abrasives that can scratch your enamel. You want to get the help of a professional to minimize or eliminate the risk of this kind of damage. If your enamel is damaged, it usually will not repair itself so you’ll be stuck with damaged teeth for the rest of your life.
Make sure you follow up with your dentist every 6 months for treatment or a regular cleaning.
Sofia Hutchinson is in her last year at dental school. A keen writer too (it being a tough call whether to go into dentistry or journalism!) she writes articles for health blogs in her spare time to get the best of both worlds.