As I approached my fortieth birthday my husband pointed out a horrible fact. My smile was looking dull. Years of coffee and tea, as well as several years spent smoking in the 1990s, were catching up to my teeth. A close look in the mirror confirmed that my once dazzling choppers looked downright dingy, so I began researching teeth whitening procedures.
Several hours of online research led me to some disturbing facts. Cosmetic bleaching treatments, purchased over the counter or applied in a dentist’s office, often contain harsh chemicals that can seep into the gums and tongue causing oral damage. At the advice of a friend I instead began looking into natural teeth whitening treatments that I could do on my own. Some of the things I found were obvious and seemed like common sense. However, I was surprised at some of the other things in the list – like avoid drinking water with fluoride.
- Put the Dazzle Back Into Your Dazzling Smile
- Combat Age Spots on Teeth with Natural Whitening Tips
- Tips for Teeth Whitening Due to Yellowing from Age
Tips on Undergoing your Own Natural Teeth Whitening Treatments
- Have your teeth cleaned by a dentist once every six months. Because I was born in March and my wedding anniversary is in September, my husband and I agreed that those were the best months for remembering to visit our family dentist. (That is, provided he can remember my birthday and our anniversary without prompting!)
- Quit using tobacco products. If you can’t quit, at least make a concentrated effort to use them less. The nicotine and tar from cigarettes or the juice from chewing tobacco products linger in the mouth, which not only stains teeth but could cause oral cancers.
- Using proper techniques to do so, brush and floss your teeth every day. Ideally you should do this twice a day, but it’s most important right before bedtime. This will prevent leftover bits of food particles from lying on your teeth all night, which stains tooth enamel, builds plaque, and could cause oral infections.
- Drink less coffee and tea. Because I drink an obscene amount of coffee every day, this one is going to prove most difficult for me. However, one piece of advice I found was to drink through a straw which keeps stains more towards the back teeth.
- Another I found was to rinse my mouth with a mixture of warm water, sea salt, and peppermint oil after each cup of coffee. The abrasive salt gently rubs away stains and the peppermint oil takes away unpleasant coffee breath.
- Avoid fluoride completely. This one shocked me because when I was in public school the nurse often handed out fluoride tablets to children living in homes with well water. It turns out that fluoride is associated with bone disease.
- This also goes for mouthwash – just avoid it completely. If you must wash your mouth out with something, try a homemade rinse. For instance, first gargle with water, sea salt, and baking soda, and then rinse again with plain water. After a few weeks of this I was getting better results without the harsh chemicals.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Include them in your menu for regular mealtimes as well as healthy snacking options. The abrasive quality of crunchy foods like apples, pears, celery, and carrots will gently rub away stains as you chew, and chewing creates saliva which has natural bacteria-fighting properties.
When you practice natural teeth whitening treatments, you not only brighten your teeth and prevent future cavities, but you also smile more which makes you feel better. And as William Arthur Ward once said, A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. Eating healthier snacks, like fresh fruits and vegetables, along with things like replacing soda with water and cutting back on smoking will contribute to a healthier overall lifestyle which is never a bad thing.