When it comes to whitening teeth naturally, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. Some people think that gargling with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing an orange peel across your chompers will do the trick. But the reality is that there is no shortcut to whiter teeth.
Instead, the best strategy for obtaining pearly whites the natural way is to commit to a solid oral health routine. While the following tips might not get your teeth looking white for a date or dinner party that’s only a week away, they will help you develop a brighter smile over the long-term.
Commit to brushing and flossing well.
Sure, this isn’t a glamorous strategy, nor is it a quick fix. But it is your first and most powerful line of defense against tooth discoloration. Good oral hygiene (in the form of proper brushing and flossing on a daily basis) helps remove bacteria and food particles from your teeth so they can’t harden into plaque. When plaque does form, it tends to make your teeth look darker and less shiny. So if you want pearly whites, keep plaque at bay by brushing and flossing every day.
Don’t smoke cigarettes.
Among many other side effects, smoking cigarettes significantly increases the chances that your teeth will become yellow or otherwise discolored. (The same is true for chewing tobacco.) So if you’re looking to enjoy a brighter smile and better health overall, it’s time to ditch the butts.
Choose a toothpaste that contains baking soda.
There’s a reason so many whitening toothpastes are made with baking soda: It’s a mild abrasive, which means it can help to remove stains from the teeth. Much like brushing and flossing, this strategy isn’t a quick fix—it’s unlikely that brushing once with baking soda will cause a dramatic difference in the appearance of your teeth. But studies do show that using a store-bought or DIY toothpaste with baking soda will, over time, help to remove surface stains from your teeth.
Watch what you eat (and drink).
The foods and drinks you choose to consume (or not) can make a big difference in the appearance of your teeth. For example, foods and drinks that notoriously contribute tooth discoloration include:
·Sugary foods (because they promote the development of discoloring plaque)
This doesn’t mean you can never have a cup of coffee again, but it does mean that moderation will help stave off yellowing. If you do consume these foods, aim to swish your mouth with water shortly afterward so they have less of a chance of sticking around on your teeth.
On the other hand, certain foods can promote healthy enamel, thereby helping to protect your teeth from stains. Some of the best enamel-strengtheners are calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, cheese, sardines, broccoli, and dark, leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, spinach, and turnips.
Head to the dentist on a regular basis.
Maintaining regular dental checkups means your teeth will benefit from professional cleanings, which help to remove plaque, bacteria, and other particles that might otherwise stick around and discolor your teeth. Even the best at-home brushing and flossing routine can’t deep clean as well as a professional cleaning, so maintain regular dental appointments to enjoy whiter teeth.
By practicing stellar oral hygiene, being mindful about what you eat, and getting professional cleanings on a regular basis, you’ll help keep your whites pearly and your smile bright.