The current fashion is for gleaming, bright white teeth. There are certainly many dental treatments available for keeping teeth white and shiny. However, many of them are prepared using harsh ingredients that could end up damaging the tooth lining. This type of damage cannot be reversed. The other option is to use a natural product to whiten your teeth. Here are some ideas.
Why do our teeth become stained?
The enamel lining of teeth is slightly porous, which means that it has microscopic holes on its surface. Food collects in these holes and is removed when we brush our teeth. However, there are some foods and drinks that stain teeth more permanently, and over time this leaves a yellow or brownish colour on teeth which looks far from attractive!
The main culprits for staining teeth are beverages like coffee, tea, or colas. The problem is made worse by cigarettes and poor oral hygiene because they increase the porosity of teeth. Put simply, it makes it easier for staining agents to stick to teeth.
Acid from certain foods also damages enamel. Meat, dairy products, eggs, citrus fruit, refined sugar, beer, artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages and vegetable oils are typical.
You don’t overcome this problem by brushing teeth straight after finishing eating. This may prevent the formation of cavities but actually weakens the tooth enamel.
You can help the situation by altering your diet. There are foods that help naturally whiten your teeth. Try some fruits and vegetables, like pears, apples, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, and spinach. They all contain plenty of fibre and their nutrient content helps to create a protective film on the tooth enamel which prevents stains.
Cheese contains plenty of protein and fat, which helps to neutralise acids from other foods. They stimulate saliva production, and saliva contains phosphorus and calcium, which is great for maintaining enamel.
Home tooth whitening methods
- Rub the inside of an orange peel (the pith) on your teeth for 45 seconds. It contains a natural whitener. Wait half an hour before brushing your teeth.
- Make a paste from strawberries and sodium bicarbonate. Strawberries act as a natural whitening agent. Make the paste by crushing the berries and mixing with the sodium bicarbonate. Apply to your teeth and leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse. Wait half an hour then brush as normal. Only use the remedy once every other week.
- Eat one slice of papaya and one apple every day. These fruits are great for strengthening the gums and will leave teeth white.
- Add a dab of wood ash to your toothbrush and brush your teeth as normal. Then rinse with warm water brush with your usual toothpaste.
- Place two tablespoons of sage leaves in once cup of boiling water and allow to cool. Use this as a cleansing mouth rinse after each meal.
- Make a paste with one tablespoon of brewer’s yeast, 2 teaspoons of salt and a bit of water. Use the mixture as your toothpaste.
- Rub your teeth with the inside of a banana peel for 20 minutes. You can repeat this throughout the day. Banana peel contains salicylic acid, which has a whitening effect on tooth enamel.
- Sprinkle some sodium bicarbonate powder on your toothbrush and brush every single tooth with it. It can feel strange at first but it is highly effective as a whitener.
Advice for whitening your teeth
- Always keep your mouth clean – oral hygiene is vital for maintaining stain-free teeth. Visit your dentist regularly and get some great advice.
- Don’t brush too hard – over vigorous brushing can do more harm than good. Brush gently with a good quality toothbrush and take your time. Make sure that every single tooth has been cleaned.
- Use dental floss – this can take a while to get the hang of but is worth the effort. Carefully floss in between all of your teeth to remove food debris and plaque. This will help to prevent tooth cavities and infections.
- Stop smoking – this is the single cause of stained teeth. The sooner you stop, the less your teeth will get stained. Of course, it is best not to start in the first place if you want glistening white teeth.
- Reduce your consumption of coffee, tea, cola and red wine. These are the classic tooth staining beverages. Try malted milks and herbal teas instead which are also better for your health.
- Drink with straws – it bypasses the teeth!