We all enjoy beverages that aren't always the best for our teeth. Coffee, tea, red…
There’s a reason pretty much every thesaurus lists “pearly whites” as an informal alternative to “teeth”—we expect teeth to be white. And while gray stains and yellowing are completely normal parts of living your life, they can be unsightly, making you less eager to show off your beautiful smile.
Although hiding your choppers might not seem like a big deal, it makes an impression on others. Take it from us—when you don’t smile, the world notices. Whether it’s your boss or co-workers, a prospective client, your family, or your friends, people perceive those who don’t smile as being secretive, or unhappy, or standoffish. That’s not a great when it comes to a first impression or a lasting relationship, so let’s talk for a few minutes about the top ten easy ways to whiten your teeth!
10. Quit Smoking. We know you’ve heard it all before, smokers, but tobacco consumption can really affect your smile. Tobacco, whether it’s inhaled through a cigarette or cigar, or chewed in the form of chewing tobacco, yellows your teeth. Tobacco sticks to all the natural grooves in your tooth enamel, penetrating deep and yellowing your smile substantially. The more (and longer) you smoke, the worse the stains. It also increases your risk of gingivitis.
9. Assess your drinking habits. And no, not just liquor (though brown fluids can affect the whiteness of your teeth). We mean assess what you drink and how you drink it. Coffee and tea drinkers find their teeth acquire a lot of stains. Fruit juices like grape juice or cranberry juice can really dull the luster of your smile as well. Red wine is another culprit—frequent imbibers see the results on their not-so-pearly whites. But don’t worry—you don’t have to give up these beverages, which are packed with beneficial antioxidants and have other health benefits. Just drink through a straw when possible, and you’ll see less damage over time. With beverages like hot coffee and tea, just cut back, and make sure to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after drinking.
8. Eat mindfully. Foods like blueberries, blackberries, and beets can stain your teeth. In fact, some dentists say that anything that can stain a white cotton T-shirt can stain your teeth. But berries and beets are packed full of cancer-fighting compounds and are an excellent source of nutrition. You shouldn’t give up healthy foods for the sake of your teeth—just rinse afterwards, or brush your teeth….
7. Brushing after every meal. Speaking of brushing, we know your dentist always told you morning and before bed, but you can also brush after lunch for a whiter, brighter smile. Just make sure you’re brushing correctly! And if you tend to slack off on brushing, consider splurging on an electric toothbrush to pick up the slack. The Philips Sonicare and Oral-B electric toothbrushes are top-rated. Try one. Your teeth will thank you!
6. Whitening toothpastes. Speaking of brushing, what are you brushing with? Brushing daily with an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste can add some pizzazz to your smile.
5. Floss. After you brush your teeth with that ADA-approved toothpaste, floss. It may not seem immediately apparent that flossing helps keep your teeth white, but if you look closely at stained teeth, you’ll see they’re yellower at the edges. That’s because plaque tends to hang out on the edges of your teeth, lurking between them. Plaque loves stains, it helps them accumulate, so between your teeth is a vital place to treat if you’re battling stains!
4. Use brushing alternatives when you can’t clean your teeth. Sometimes you can’t brush and floss after every meal. Even though we’re dentists, we admit this is the case for many people! But there are a few things you can do to simulate the effect brushing has on your teeth. Nothing replaces brushing your teeth, but if you can’t brush, try rinsing your mouth, or even better, eating an apple, a pear, or a few sticks of celery or carrot chunks at the end of your meal. These foods produce lots of saliva, which rinses food debris from your mouth and neutralizes the acid that causes tooth decay. You can also chew sugarless gum to produce that same saliva.
3. See your dentist for cleanings. Twice a year, go in to your family dentist for cleanings. These will help polish your teeth, clean plaque from hard-to-reach places, and at the very least remind you how important it is to floss.
2. Get a cosmetic cleaning. Twice a year cleanings are important for the health of your teeth and gums, but you can also get cosmetic cleanings in between checkups.
1. Zoom Teeth Whitening Treatments. Only available from your family dentist, Zoom treatments can be administered at your dentist’s office or at home. See your family dentist to create a tooth whitening plan! You can come in for a mere 45-minute session that will leave you with a noticeably whiter smile, or choose a take-home option. There are touch-up options for busy people, and toothbrushes that compliment the treatments. Your dentist will know what’s best, so talk to him or her today about getting best results fast with a Zoom tooth whitening plan!
We know how important your smile is. This list is a good starting place for advice for whitening your stained teeth, but remember—be cautious! It’s easy to damage your teeth using “home remedies.” If you have composite resins or porcelain veneers, brushing with baking soda can scratch them, and scratched materials pick up more stains, for example. Dental picks should also be avoided, and anything involving chlorine bleach.
If you have questions, always call your dentist for the best advice! There are plenty of safe and effective ways to help you fall in love with your smile all over again.
This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental in Overland Park, Kansas. Our friendly office specializes in preventative dental care for the whole family. To make an appointment, please call (913) 338-3384 or click here to fill out our online contact form.