According to research conducted in 2017 by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, Americans spend nearly $1.5 billion annually on teeth whitening. As it happens, the effects of teeth whitening using bleaching agents are popular and effective.
There are also other methods to maintain white teeth once they’re whitened that are cost-effective and can be done in the comfort of your own home. Before we discuss them, it will be useful to explain what robs your teeth of their beautiful sparkle and white color.
What Discolors Your teeth?
There are multiple reasons for teeth discoloration:
Poor Oral Hygiene Maintenance
The white color and sparkling shine of your teeth are due to the enamel layer on the crown (visible part) of your teeth. When regular brushing and flossing is ignored, the food we eat starts to accumulate on our teeth. Ultimately, a layer of fine food particles mixed with your saliva starts forming over your teeth surfaces. This is called plaque, and over time as the layer thickens, your teeth get the characteristic yellow color.
Another reason for discoloration and staining of your teeth. Is excessive use of liquor, tobacco, and certain drinks like coffee and tea, especially in the presence of plaque.
Certain medications like tetracycline, when taken during the developmental stages of teeth, can result in permanent discoloration.
Gastric reflux can cause saliva to become acidic and cause yellowing of your teeth by making the teeth weak and porous.
Teeth Whitening Methods
Now, let’s discuss the various methods for teeth whitening. The most important method of having and retaining white teeth is to prevent them from staining or discoloration. That means three things:
Good and regular oral hygiene
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day each time for about two minutes spread evenly over the entire set of teeth, inside and outside is the main activity in good oral hygiene. But it is not complete without through flossing after every food intake and vigorous rinsing of the teeth.
Things to Avoid
Drinking alcohol, smoking, chewing betel nut and tobacco, drinking too much tea and coffee, all tend to discolor or stain your teeth. Avoid them as far as possible if you cannot abstain.
Foods to Avoid
You should also avoid fruits and food items that cause teeth stains, like berries and citrus fruits.
Apple Cider Vinegar
For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used for disinfection and cleaning purposes. Research has shown that it also possesses good bleaching properties as well. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has proven quite useful in killing cavity-causing bacteria and whitening teeth.
However, acetic acid also causes the erosion and softening of the enamel, causing sensitivity and increasing the chances of development of teeth cavities. Therefore, apple cider vinegar should not be applied to the teeth daily. In addition, the duration for which the teeth are exposed to the acetic acid during whitening should also be kept to a minimum.
Baking soda naturally possesses teeth whitening properties. That is why it is an ingredient of most of the toothpaste available in the market. Baking soda has mild abrasive properties which are helpful in removing stains from the surface of teeth. In addition, application of baking soda makes the saliva basic, which promotes remineralization of the enamel, making it stronger and more resistant against stains.
For whitening teeth with baking soda, make a paste by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with it. You may not observe a remarkable improvement in the shade of your teeth overnight. However, with repeated applications, you will achieve your desired results.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Certain fruits and vegetables have teeth whitening capabilities. Biting into raw fruit and vegetables helps remove plaque to whiten them and strengthens your teeth and gums. In addition, a few delicious fruits like strawberries and pineapple are also helpful in removing teeth stains.
Strawberries, in addition to being sweet and delightful, possess Vitamin C and maleic acid. Vitamin C keeps our gums strong and healthy, while the maleic acid removes adherent teeth stains. For whitening your teeth, you can make a mixture of strawberries and baking soda. However, studies have shown that this method may not be as potent as other natural teeth whitening procedures.
Nature has gifted us with a beautiful set of pearly white teeth, and it is very easy to keep them like this throughout life. Simply maintain good oral hygiene through brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, and eat a balanced diet. If you can do this, you can say goodbye to teeth stains forever!
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2. Hara, Anderson T., and Cecilia P. Turssi. "Baking soda as an abrasive in toothpastes: Mechanism of action and safety and effectiveness considerations." The Journal of the American Dental Association 148.11 (2017): S27-S33.
3. Kwon, S. R., et al. "Efficacy of do-it-yourself whitening as compared to conventional tooth whitening modalities: an in vitro study." Operative dentistry 40.1 (2015): E21-E27.