Trying to stop nature’s process of yellowing teeth is the pursuit of many patients. But it has been said that “time and tide wait for no one”. So we try our best by practicing good oral hygiene habits. But even with regular brushing and flossing, it can be hard to avoid the gradual greying the teeth undergo. Likewise, if you have poor oral health habits, your teeth can rapidly turn yellow, brown or even black. However, that doesn't mean that you can't get your teeth white again by whitening them yourself. But to do so you may have to separate fact from fiction!
The Never-ending Quest For Natural Teeth Whitening
Here are some natural, at-home remedies which are safe and can whiten your teeth. But try them at your peril because some may be just myths and actually harmful!
This technique is popular in Ayurvedic medicine. You swish a tablespoon of oil (such as sesame, coconut, or olive oil) around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes to "pull out" bacteria. A recent study found that using coconut oil could prevent tooth decay, but there's no science to support it leaving a sparkle.
Apples, Pineapples, and Strawberries ?
Maybe. Malic acid in apples boosts saliva to wash away acids. Toothpaste with bromelain, a compound in pineapple, help whiten teeth. But there's no evidence that eating these fruits will make your grin gleam. Skip the strawberries, too. A study in Operative Dentistry found that brushing with a mixture of them and baking soda had no whitening effects. Even worse, the citric acid in strawberries can break down enamel, the outer shell of your tooth.
Hydrogen peroxide ?- be careful
It's the bleaching agent found in most home whitening kits. It actually changes a tooth's colour. One study found that painting an over-the-counter gel with 6% hydrogen peroxide on teeth made a noticeable difference after 2 weeks. The inexpensive bottles of liquid you can buy in a drugstore usually have a lower percentage. And the American Dental Association says swishing will probably irritate your gums before it whitens your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar?
Gargle before you brush to help kill bacteria and remove stains, they say. You'll get a whiter smile, it is said. Sorry, no studies confirm these claims. While it can brighten the taste of your salad dressing, don't expect apple cider vinegar to brighten your teeth!
The warm, bitter spice that's known for flavoring curry is also a natural dye that can turn a white fabric a bright gold. Supposedly, turmeric paste can turn dingy teeth back to pearly white. But hold on: There's no solid research to back this up.
YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH:
Good old brushing and flossing
Good oral hygiene is a tried-and-true method for keeping your smile looking its best. Toothpaste gently buffs out stains from the surface of your teeth. Whitening toothpaste work the same way with more ingredients; they don't bleach your teeth. Flossing gets rid of food and bacteria that could harden into plaque, which makes your teeth look dull and darker.
Besides helping batter rise, it's also a mild abrasive that scrubs away stains. You could try using a DIY paste of baking soda, but you'll probably get better results by switching to a toothpaste with sodium bicarbonate. Studies show brushing with products that have baking soda will work on surface stains over time.
and, don’t forget the common sense… watch what you eat and drink
Here at Forest & Ray, we remind you that: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Foods including dark berries and drinks such as coffee, red wine, and soda are known offenders, but you don't have to give them up. Enjoy these in moderation, and rinse with water right afterward so there's less chance they'll affect your teeth. (Wait 30 minutes before brushing to protect the enamel.) Since smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause stains, we think it’s another good reason to quit.