A 2015 report showed that, in America, about $11 Billion was used on professional teeth whitening whilst about $1.4 Billion was spent on home whitening products. This report shows that teeth discoloration is a real problem among people all over the world. Ideally, most people whiten their teeth to boost their self-esteem, improve their overall image and make a good first impression when meeting new people.
However, some people tend to conceal their teeth mainly because they are self-conscious of the way they look. Stained or yellow teeth can be difficult to whiten regardless of the efforts made but you should not conceal your teeth, because there are many options which could help you get the smile that you desire.
What causes teeth to turn yellow?
Type of food you eat – certain types of food are capable of staining your enamel by building up a plaque which makes your teeth look yellow.
Eroding of the enamel – also, if your enamel has been eroded over time, your dentin (which underlies the enamel and is normally yellow) is exposed. This makes your teeth look yellow no matter how much effort you put in cleaning them.
However, here are 8 simple ways you can naturally whiten your teeth:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has been used for a long period of time in making whitening tooth pastes and mouthwashes globally. In fact, it is a natural bleaching agent which actually bleaches the color of your teeth to have a lasting effect. However, you should be very cautious because hydrogen peroxide can harm your mouth when used in high concentrations. Hence, it should be used with extreme care. Also, you should not only use an equal amount of water when rinsing your mouth but also avoid swallowing the solution!
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Ideally, apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which prevents plaque build-up on your teeth if used regularly and properly. To have the best results, you should use apple cider vinegar and water in ratio of 1:2 respectively.
- Coconut oil
Coconut also has antibacterial properties and it is known to reduce the plaque which causes gingivitis. You can mouthwash daily using a tablespoon of coconut oil for about 5 minutes to whiten your teeth.
- Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is also a product you can use to whiten your teeth. It binds with particles which causes stains e.g. coffee and wine to help your teeth remain white. However, as per dentists precautionary measure, you are not supposed to use activated charcoal on a daily basis because it could wear off your enamel. It is therefore advisable to use it once or twice a week with the best approach being mixing it with water to form a paste which you will dab on your teeth for about 3 minutes before you rinse thoroughly with water.
Even though turmeric is known to cause stains, it has astringent properties where it is able to tighten your gums and remove any plaque from your teeth. This is because turmeric is abrasive and so it helps you polish your teeth enabling you to remove plaque thoroughly.
- Baking soda
As a natural stain remover, baking soda is an ingredient in most toothpastes to aid in teeth whitening. Mainly, peppermint and myrrh tooth polish are the preferred combination but you can also make you own homemade tooth paste to whiten your teeth. However, it is advisable to use baking soda a few times a week because it’s abrasive and could wear out your enamel. Therefore you should avoid using homemade baking soda regularly.
- Banana peel
Banana peels can also be used in teeth whitening because they’ve a lot of magnesium, manganese and potassium elements which plays a key role in removing teeth stains. To use banana peels in whitening your teeth, you should select a perfectly ripe banana which has no green or brown spots whatsoever. Then, you should cut a small rectangle from the peel and then use the inside of the peel on your teeth for about 2 minutes. Later, you should brush normally to remove any remaining plaque. With time, you will see positive results as your teeth start to whiten again.
- Mashed strawberries
Mashed strawberries are also rumored to be a solution for stained teeth because they are acidic. It is recommended that you mash up 4 or 5 strawberries and then rub the solution on your teeth for some time. Apparently the acidic content will eat through any accumulation of plaque. However as the acid doesn’t penetrate the teeth it is debatable that this is an effective treatment. In fact, the acid could potentially soften the enamel leading to further problems in the future! The jury’s out in this one….
Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, you should prevent stains beforehand by:
a) Try to avoid known staining foods and beverages. These include coffee, tea, soda, red wine and dark berries. However, if you need that caffeine fix or you enjoy the occasional glass of red, you can try to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to these products. This can be achieved through:
- Using a straw to avoid contact with your teeth
- Drinking water or rinsing the mouth between drinks that are staining culprits.
- Prompt brushing after teeth staining drinks or food, reducing the time your teeth gets exposed to staining products
b) Limit the amount of sugar you take. Normally, a high sugar content facilitates the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria which causes gingivitis and plaque. Therefore, the more you take sugar, the more you predisposed your teeth are to staining. However, if you can’t do without sugary food, limit their use and immediately after taking sugary food or drinks, you should brush and floss thoroughly.
c) Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco because it discolors your teeth