Raise your hand if you’d be more satisfied with your smile if you had whiter teeth. You definitely aren’t alone. Somewhere around 80 percent of Americans between 18 to 49 desire pearlier whites, with six out of 10 people thinking a brighter, whiter smile would help their self-confidence.
Having sparkling white teeth isn’t just a luxury for movie stars and rich people anymore; it’s for anyone who wants to feel good about their smile and the image they are portraying to the world. Unfortunately, many tooth-whitening products contain chemicals that bleach your enamel. In extreme cases, someone could suffer a chemical burn from a defective whitening product.
Home-whitening remedies are gentler, even if they are not as effective at removing deep stains. If you want to avoid harsh chemicals, let’s look at some other whitening options that are safer and more natural, and take into account the overall health of your mouth:
Annual Dental Exams
Even more important than white teeth is ensuring your teeth are healthy. The hue of your teeth isn’t necessarily indicative of their health, which is why it’s important to have a check-up. If you have dental insurance, be sure to take advantage of your semiannual free cleanings which are often part of your plan. A good cleaning is sure to brighten up a dull smile.
Before you do any whitening, it’s important to make sure there are no underlying diseases or dental work that needs to be addressed first. If you only have medical insurance, it’s especially important to take care of your teeth because some dental work is not covered by medical insurance. Your dentist will also be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for teeth-whitening services they offer.
We know that coffee, tea, wine, and soda all are teeth-staining culprits. But what about foods that can actually improve your oral health while brightening your teeth? The crunchiness of raw fruits and vegetables can help rub off plaque as you chew. Apples, celery, carrots, and broccoli are good plaque scrubbers. Soft fruits like strawberries and pineapple are also said to be decent at removing surface stains because of certain acids and enzymes found in them.
Even if foods aren’t as good at buffing out your teeth as commercial whitening products, the ingestible stuff is certainly a lot better for your teeth, mouth and body as a whole. Certain foods also fight stains and improve the overall appearance of your teeth.
One of the latest alternative whitening trends is brushing with activated charcoal, a finely ground black powder consisting of coconut shells, coal, olive pits, sawdust or other materials. Activated charcoal is highly absorbent, which is good for removing stains. However, this ingredient is also very abrasive and can cause damage to enamel and dentin. Many dentists say that brushing with activated charcoal is not safe for your teeth.
If you do decide to use activated charcoal for teeth whitening, don’t use it every day or as a replacement for toothpaste. Another tip is to create a charcoal paste by mixing half a tablespoon of activated charcoal with just enough water to make it thick. Apply it to your teeth as a mask, rather than brushing it into your teeth and gums. Let it sit for three minutes before rinsing. Alternative teeth-whitening techniques may not work better than traditional whitening methods, so you should weigh your options and talk to your dentist for the best way to obtain white teeth. Be sure to get a check-up before using bleaching products, even with the home whitening strips and kits. A healthy smile is a positive reflection of your physical appearance and psychological well-being.