Growing up, a trip to the dentist would have put a frown on any child’s face. And while some people have gotten over their fear, some still carry their fear of dentists well into their adult lives. If you are the kind who still puts off meeting with your dentist for a clean up or a teeth whitening session, then we have news for you.
The two main causes of tooth discolouration are enamel thinning and staining. The outer layer of your teeth is called enamel, and it is directly over a layer of tissue called dentin, which is yellow in colour. Enamel thinning causes the dentin to show, and that makes your teeth look yellow. Consumption of acidic foods and gum disease can lead to enamel erosion. While ageing can also cause enamel thinning, some people are born with it, which may cause a lot of sensitivity issues.
As far as staining is concerned, this happens over a longer period and is fairly temporary when compared to enamel thinning. Foods and drinks like coffee, berries and wine stain your teeth. And if not cleaned properly, this leads to further yellowing.
- Try oil pulling
- Use baking soda once in a while
- Try hydrogen peroxide
- Rinse with an apple cider vinegar solution
- Include ample amounts of fruits and vegetable in your diet
- Use skincare staples
- FAQs about Teeth Whitening:
Try oil pulling
A dental hygiene practice as old as time, oil pulling has been part of Indian households for ages. It improves your oral hygiene and claims to rid your body of toxins by way of your mouth. All you have to do is swish an organic food-grade oil in your mouth for 20 minutes to dissolve all the plaque and give your mouth a deep cleanse. You can either use raw coconut oil or cold-pressed sesame oil, whatever suits your palette. Make sure to properly rinse with a mouthwash right after. Also, spit the oil out in a trash can or toilet because it can clog your drain pipes.
Use baking soda once in a while
Used in most commercially made toothpastes, baking soda is a well known whitening agent. It works by scrubbing away stains from your teeth. It also balances the pH of your mouth, thus inhibiting bacterial growth. Just mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water to make a paste. Brush with this mixture once a week to see the results over time. Do not overdo it, as baking soda can be abrasive and affect enamel health adversely.
Try hydrogen peroxide
Be extra cautious while using this teeth whitening hack. Hydrogen peroxide is used in very low concentrations in many kinds of toothpastes and is known for its bleaching and germ-killing benefits. The safest way of using hydrogen peroxide is to mix it with baking soda and water to make a paste. Always use 1.5% to 3% solution and you can also use this hydrogen peroxide mix as a mouthwash after brushing your teeth.
Limit this practice for once or twice a week as overuse can cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.
Rinse with an apple cider vinegar solution
It isn't just your skincare routine that can benefit from the age-old remedy of apple cider vinegar. It is beneficial as a disinfectant and a cleansing agent for your mouth. The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid , which can help whiten your teeth. Dilute a tablespoon of it with water and swish it around your mouth a couple of times. Follow that up with a plain water rinse.
Include ample amounts of fruits and vegetable in your diet
A trick used by many of your favourite celebrities, crunchy fruits and vegetables can remove plaque from your teeth quite easily. Additionally, fruits like strawberries and pineapple have been proven to whiten your teeth as well.
- Make a paste of a strawberry with baking soda to use as a tooth brightening masque. One of the main components of strawberries is malic acid which is known to reduce discolouration on the teeth enamel.
- A similar DIY toothpaste can be created by mashing a pineapple and baking soda together. Rich in an enzyme called bromelain, the mix can work wonders in removing stains.
Use skincare staples
There are a few skincare ingredients that you can also use for oral care. These can include:
- Activated charcoal
This ingredient is used in skincare to clear clogged pores and brighten the complexion. You can also use it for detoxifying your mouth and cleaning your enamel.
Kaolin clay or Fuller's Earth is used in skincare in mattifying face masks and anti-acne washes. In dental care, they come in handy for stain removal.
- Fruit peels
Reusing fruit peels is not just a sustainable practice, but also highly beneficial. You can rub orange, lemon, or banana peels on your teeth to make them whiter. It is an all-natural way of teeth whitening and has zero side effects.
Infographic: How to avoid staining before it happens
- Reduce stain-causing foods and drinks
There are several kinds of foods and drinks you need to avoid… coffee, red wine, soda, and pigmented fruits are some of them. Instead of completely giving up on them, find smarter ways to consume them instead. Drink your coffee with a metal straw; you can use the same technique for wine and juices. It should also be about time you quit smoking and chewing tobacco as they are a major cause of staining.
- Watch your sugar intake
Watch your sugar intake in all kinds of foods and drinks you consume. A sugar-rich diet leads to the growth of ‘streptococcus mutans’; a type of bacteria that causes plaque, gingivitis and tooth discolouration.
- Increase your calcium intake
A calcium-rich diet means you are protected against enamel erosion. Strengthen your enamel by indulging in foods like milk, cheese and broccoli.
FAQs about Teeth Whitening:
Q. Is teeth whitening bad for your dental health?
A. While teeth whitening is a comparatively safe procedure, you might experience some discomfort right after. Sensitivity can be experienced on your enamel, but this usually goes away within a week.
Q. How do dentists whiten teeth?
A. A procedure called ‘chairside bleaching’ is what most dentists use to whiten teeth. They begin by applying a protective gel layer over your gums and proceed to polish your teeth with safe and medical range bleach. It usually only requires one sitting to do so and it is not advisable to try on your own at home.