How do you get whiter teeth? The answer may appear simple - to brush more - but it’s not that easy.
Firstly, there are two types of whitening, extrinsic and intrinsic, according to Askthedentist.com. The former is removing staining to restore tooth whiteness to what it once was, whereas the latter is for people who want their teeth to be whiter than natural, ie what we see from celebrities.
Good dental hygiene
First and foremost, good dental hygiene is a solid way to prevent your teeth from going yellow. Buildup of plaque can give your teeth a yellow tinge, so brushing, flossing and using mouthwash is not to be underestimated.
Although whitening toothpaste can add that little extra to your daily dental routine, Ask the Dentist argues that the toothbrush itself is even more crucial for extrinsic whitening.
Cut out the bad stuff
Apart from the buildup of plaque, either the staining or wearing away of your enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth, can also cause discolouring.
If you are committed to leading a life of purity then there are lots of things to avoid to protect your teeth from staining.
These range from coffee and red wine to fizzy drinks and processed sugary foods. Smoking is also a big no-no.
If you can’t quite say goodbye to red wine and cigarettes, then there are plenty of home remedies that may help, from the more orthodox to the outright unusual.
Although lots of sugary fruit might not be best for your teeth, munching on crunchy raw vegetables has been said to help rub plaque away as you chew. In addition, strawberries and pineapple are two fruits that have been claimed to help whiten your teeth.
Brushing with baking soda can help whiten your teeth over time, because it acts as a mild abrasive that slowly rubs off the enamel stains.
To use this remedy, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with the paste a few times per week, according to healthy living website, Healthline.
This paste can also be combined with bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide, but shouldn’t be used too often to avoid the erosion of enamel. Apple cider vinegar diluted with water can be used as a mouthwash too, but sparingly.
A slightly more exotic method is oil pulling, the swilling of oil around your mouth, which is a traditional Indian folk remedy. It can be done with coconut oil and aims to stop plaque buildup.
Healthline recommends putting one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and moving around your mouth for a full 15–20 minutes, which is safe to do daily, because it doesn’t erode the enamel.
If all else has failed or you are in search of a quick fix, then more severe steps and even cosmetic treatments to turn to, including our best picks of teeth whitening kits.
Whitening strips and gel trays are a relatively inexpensive treatment to get that dazzling smile sooner rather than later.
The strips are attached to your upper and lower teeth and removed after bleaching chemicals have worked their magic. Gel trays operate in a similar way except the gel is brushed directly onto the teeth.
Veneers are the most extreme and most expensive option. The process, which can cost thousands of pounds, involves your teeth being ground down and replaced by extra-white veneers.
This article has been updated. It was originally published in December 2017.
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