Whiter teeth are now a fashion accessory. Movie stars and television hosts gleam when they smile, and society idolizes these popular figures with their white and perfect smiles. Although there is natural darkening that occurs with aging and the gradual loss of the white enamel covering, there are some things you can act on to keep your teeth their whitest and brightest.
Eating and drinking chromogenic (or dark colored) foods is the leading cause of tooth darkening. The enamel coating of teeth is microscopically uneven and porous. This means that foods that have dark colors will remain in the crevices of the enamel and darken the whitest smile. Some foods that cause staining include:
smoking or chewing tobacco
Less common, but sometimes more obvious are:
side effects of certain medications and mouthwashes
excessive fluoride consumption
poor dental care and oral hygiene
chronic dry mouth or lack of saliva
These are all things that your dentist has many suggestions to overcome.
2. Good ways to remove stains.
Drink chromogenic liquids with a straw.
Brush, floss, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
Get your teeth professionally cleaned. Make an appointment at least twice to four times per year with the dental hygienist at your dentist's office. It will keep your mouth healthy and give you a brighter smile.
Do not use tobacco in any form.
Drink and swish water in your mouth and around your teeth, especially after eating or drinking. Water will help to wash away the dark liquids and foods. Take regular sips whilst eating and drinking.
Eat crunchy fruit and vegetables. Crunchy foods such as apples and carrots scrub your teeth, acting as natural stain removers.
Brush your teeth after each meal.
3. Whitening your teeth.
When trying to whiten your teeth, do not rush into it. The whitening process can easily cause severe tooth sensitivity if done too quickly. So, when whitening, go very slowly at first until you reach the point of maximum effectiveness with the least sensitivity.
Some whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes can be beneficial, although tooth sensitivity is a common side effect.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is a powerful whitener, although baking soda powder is abrasive and can cause tooth darkening if overdone and enamel is worn away.
Activated charcoal is also effective but has the same problem of abrasiveness problem as baking soda powder. Hydrogen peroxide can be a carcinogen if used daily, so short periods of use only are ok.
4. Bad online ways to remove stains.
Purported cures from the kitchen.
Although surfing the Internet may seem that everybody has a miracle home-grown cure for brighter, whiter teeth. Most of these suggestions are loaded with future long term bad consequences.
Some themes from the internet that will help to whiten your teeth include: Rub your teeth with apples which have malic acid and a pH of 3.3. Sucking on a fresh lemon which has citric acid and a pH of 2. Rub orange, or banana peels on your teeth which contain citric acid and a pH of 3. Strawberries mixed with baking soda, strawberries are loaded with citric acid and have a pH of 3 to 3.5.
Note for comparison that hydrochloric acid has a pH of about 3. Sulfuric acid has a pH of 2.75. These home remedies for dark teeth are equivalent to rubbing hydrochloric or sulfuric acid on your teeth! Baking soda, on the other hand may be abrasive, but at least baking soda has a pH of 8, while the natural pH of the mouth is 7.4. Baking soda will decrease the effects of acidity in the mouth.
The bottom line is that acid is bad for your teeth. Acid softens the enamel and creates pits that are harbors for stain bacteria and tooth decay. Most of the home remedies use fruit acids to whiten teeth, but repetitive use of these home remedies will cause irreversible damage that will require expensive dental treatment to correct. These fruit acids will cause your teeth to eventually soften and you may even lose the teeth, so beware that a temporary fix may lead to severe consequences down the road.
Coconut oil pulling. The American Dental Association has reported that oil pulling could cause lipoid pneumonia, which can develop if the oil gets into the lungs. In addition, according to the ADA, cases of diarrhea or upset stomach have been reported.
5. Go to the dentist.
Your dentist has seen and treated all of the causes of darkened teeth and is a great resource for advice about home remedies, and treatments for sensitivity or to whiten your teeth to give you a natural pain free radiant smile.