It's that time when you don’t get to meet too many people and for most part you wear a mask over your nose and mouth. But then it’s also the time for virtual zoom meetings, where the focus remains on your face mostly. You have to remain camera-ready so whitening your smile is imperative, but visiting the dentist now is not feasible. To help you make your pearly whites a little brighter, we asked to Dr Riddhi Katara, a MDS degree holder in Periodontology & Oral Implantology and the founder of Experteeth Dental Care, Mumbai to tell us how to naturally whiten teeth at home. “Very few people have naturally white teeth, as teeth tend to yellow with age. Before we go ahead and learn how we keep our teeth naturally white, it’s important to understand why they turn yellow in the first place,” says Dr Riddhi.
Dr Riddhi explains that teeth turn yellow for two reasons, both of which tend to increase with age:
The outer layer of teeth consists of enamel, which is coloured almost white and protects the deeper tooth structure. When the enamel layer thins or wears away, the teeth begin to look yellower.
Acidic foods, gum disease, and aging can wear down tooth enamel.
Specific foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea etc can stain the teeth. Other sources of stains include smoking and tobacco products and certain types of antibiotics. Also, Indian food usually has turmeric causing yellow stains to teeth.
She lists the following ways in which you can get brighter and whiter teeth.
1. Make dietary changes
Eliminate foods that stain the teeth. Foods and beverages that contain tannins, such as wine and tea, can stain the teeth. Coffee and dark sodas and juices can also stain them.
Acidic foods can make the teeth look yellow by wearing down the enamel. People who are concerned about the colour of their teeth should avoid the excessive consumption of citrus (lemon), coffee, and soda. Alternatively, they should always rinse their mouth after having them.
Quitting smoking or tobacco products can reduce the risk of nicotine stains.
2. Trying oil pulling
Oil pulling is the term for rinsing the mouth with oil to remove dirt, bacteria, and debris. It is not a substitute for regular brushing or flossing, but research suggests that rinsing the mouth with certain oils may help whiten the teeth.
To try this method, rinse the mouth with oil for at least a minute or two before brushing, then spit it out.
Oils suitable for oil pulling are:
1. coconut oil
2. sunflower oil
3. sesame oil
Apart from helping whiten teeth, oil pulling miraculously helps in reducing bad breath, helps prevent cavity formation, improves gum health, removes toxins from the body and reduces inflammation.
3. Brushing with baking soda
Baking soda can gently polish away stains on the surface of the teeth. Mix about a tablespoon of baking soda with about a tablespoon of water in a small bowl (roughly equal parts baking soda and water). Make a thick paste that you can apply to your teeth with your fingers or a soft-bristled toothbrush.
For best results, brush for about two minutes using circular motions and be sure to coat all of your teeth with the paste. Gently brush all around your mouth, hitting each tooth. Do not scrub too hard or use too much force.
After two minutes, spit out the baking soda and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or mouthwash. Rinse your toothbrush as well.
Never use baking soda with lemon. Also, it is advised to only use this method for target occasions and not on a regular everyday basis.
4. Using hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach. For optimal whitening, you person can try brushing with a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for 1–2 minutes twice a day for a week. You should only do this occasionally.
Hydrogen peroxide may increase tooth sensitivity, so it is not suitable for long-term use or if you already have sensitive teeth.
5. Whitening with fruit
Papayas and pineapples are both known to help whiten teeth.
6. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is the most important thing you can do to reduce tooth yellowing.
Regular brushing and flossing protects the enamel, prevents gum decay, and removes stains.
Good oral hygiene includes:
Start your day with oil pulling. Oil of choice for teeth whitening is usually Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Automatic powered toothbrushes newly available in the market are definitely a good choice. Use a fluoride toothpaste. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal is consumed. Flossing once a day to remove plaque between the teeth is an absolute must!
Methods that do not work for teeth whitening
Natural teeth-whitening strategies that may harm the teeth include using:
3. apple cider vinegar
4. activated charcoal.
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