A friend recently complimented me on how white my teeth are and asked if I do anything to whiten them.
I was kind of embarrassed at first because I thought they were kidding. You see, I’ve noticed my usually white teeth have started to yellow. I’m sure it’s because of my coffee-aholic ways. But over the past few years I’ve started to whiten my teeth on a fairly regular schedule.
Since my friend was so inquisitive about the subject, I thought I’d do a little research on how to whiten teeth as well as share the methods I personally use.
So here are a few easy teeth whitening tips. Read on to see what might work for you!
Using a dentist to whiten your teeth
The whitening agents dentists use claim to be up to three times more powerful than at-home versions, so you’ll probably see results faster than if you go solo. If you’re looking for a dramatic, fast solution, asking your dentist to whiten your teeth could be your best option.
Here’s what to expect:
- First, a protective rubber guard or barrier gel is placed over your gums to help avoid possible sensitivity to peroxide.
- Then the teeth are coated with a bleaching agent and a light is aimed at them to activate the ingredients.
The procedure takes about an hour, and usually costs $500 to $700. However, you might want to call around and ask for a deal. I’ve received several postcards in the mail over the past year advertising dental teeth whitening services for about half that amount.
Custom-fit whitening trays.
If you like the idea of asking your dentist to whiten your teeth but don’t have that much cash to shell out, there is a cheaper but slower option.
Your dentist can custom-fit you with plastic dental trays, kind of like retainers, which you fill with peroxide gel and wear at home.
Most people have brighter teeth within a few days, though some need up to four weeks to see results.
This procedure could cost about $250 to $400.
Whitening teeth at home – strips and gels
If you don’t need professional dental help, using teeth whitening strips is an easy and cost effective way to whiten teeth.
I’ve been using these strips once or twice a month and they’ve kept my teeth white, despite my daily 4 cups of coffee. What I like best is that it doesn’t take any extra time out of my day; a very important feature to this busy mama! As I’m getting ready in the morning, I just stick the strips on while I dry my hair and put makeup on. Easy. Peasy.
I think it’s important to note that using the strips more often than twice a month caused my teeth to be really sensitive. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this but it definitely something to consider.
Teeth whitening strips cost anywhere from $20 to $60 (or $1-$2 per strip), making them a very affordable option.
Whitening teeth at home – DIY methods
If you’d rather pass on the peroxide, here are a few other options to whiten your smile, naturally.
Use baking soda to whiten teeth.
We all know that baking soda is an effective refrigerator deodorizer, but it’s also an effective teeth whitener. The abrasive particles polish the surface which helps lightens stains. All you have to do is dip your damp toothbrush in baking soda and scrub away like usual.
Since the baking soda is pretty abrasive, I’ve read that we should limit it’s use to about once a week.
However, baking soda is very inexpensive and also natural; two very big pluses in my opinion!
Of course you could also use toothpaste that contains baking soda, such as Arm & Hammer Complete Care Toothpaste or Tom’s of Maine Cavity Protection Fluoride with Baking SodaToothpaste.
Chomp the crunch.
Foods that are high in cellulose – a strong starch-like compound found in celery, apples, and carrots – act as natural abrasives, removing surface stains naturally and cleansing teeth. Furthermore, they’re known to contain malic acid which is a chemical actually used in teeth whitening products to dissolve stains.
Also you can chomp on greens such as spinach, lettuce, cucumber, carrots and broccoli contain mineral compounds that form a film over the teeth, so pigments from other foods can’t stain.
Because these foods are crunchy, they get the saliva going which helps lessen tooth stains.
Take strawberries, for instance – they contain natural whitening agents and are one of the popular home remedies for tooth whitening and bleaching.
It’s kind of weird, but you can rub strawberry onto your teeth to whiten them before your normal brushing routine.
Lemons also have the ability to aid in teeth whitening. Just make a paste by mixing a few drops of lemon and salt. Apply to your teeth with a tooth brush and then brush with toothpaste like usual.
Recent studies show that eating a bit of cheese after a meal can potentially help to prevent tooth decay and promote enamel re-mineralization. Milk and yogurt keep teeth sparkling and cavity-free, too, because they contain the minerals calcium and phosphorus, which promote the re-mineralziation of tooth enamel.
I love that certain fruits actually have the ability to whiten teeth naturally. They act as excellent and simple tooth whiteners or bleachers.
Healthy food does a body good – in more ways than one!
Rinse with water after eating:
To prevent your teeth from yellowing in the first place, make it a habit to gargle after eating. It will help remove any leftover food or residue from your teeth will help prevent stain and decay.
This is an especially good idea if you’re away from home and can’t squeeze in a good tooth-brushing.
Color on the lips:
Want to make your teeth look fashionably white without all the work? Stick with blue-based red and pink lipsticks or clothes in dark colors.
Warm colors (yellow, orange, brown, warm shades of red) worn close to your mouth will only bring out the yellow in your teeth.
Studies show that as we age, it is just natural that our teeth color gradually changes to yellow. So there’s a good chance we’ll all be looking for a way to whiten teeth at some point in our lives.
Hopefully one of these ways will work for you so you can have whiter teeth, a brighter smile, and more youthful appearance!
Do you whiten your teeth? If so, how?