Teeth whitening is one of most common procedures in cosmetic dentistry, and with good reason. The appearance of our teeth is extremely important, and not just for health reasons; stained teeth are unattractive and compromise our confidence. Save yourself costly dentist bills, and check out the five things that can threaten our willingness to smile, and five things that will make our teeth whiter and healthier.
5 Things to Avoid:
1. Coffee/Dark Soda/Red Wine: Pretty much any beverage that can ruin your favorite white cashmere sweater can also ruin your teeth. Dark teas, sports drinks, and fruit juices are other guilty culprits. When drinking these offending beverages, sip consciously, and never strain the liquid through your teeth. Be sure to drink coffee (even hot coffee), juices like cranberry and grape, and dark sodas through straws to prevent contact with your teeth.
2. Cigarettes: Obvious health risks aside, smoking cigarettes is a surefire way to yellow tooth enamel. The nicotine in cigarettes will deposit brown stains that are practically permanent, just one more reason to stay away from the things.
3. Berries: Nutritional perks aside, richly-hued berries like blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries will deposit their deep color on your teeth. Be sure to flush out your mouth with lots of water while and after eating, and, if possible, brush your teeth immediately afterwards to prevent staining. Another deliciously healthy food that can stain our enamel? Beets.
4. Snacking Before Bed: This tempting habit not only threatens our weight, but also can cause our teeth to darken. Since our saliva production slows way down while we’re sleeping, the foods consumed are not naturally cleaned, causing stains and increasing risk of cavities.
5. White Tops and Gold Jewelry: The basic uniform for summer may also be emphasizing darker teeth. Replace pure white tops with cream or ivory (keep the shade darker than your teeth), and turn to silver, rhinestones, or brightly-colored jewelry instead of gold, which will only highlight yellow teeth.
5 Things to Keep Your Teeth Pearly White:
1. DIY Teeth Whitening: At home whitening kits contain peroxide, an ingredient that will bleach surface stains. Kits are available with a peroxide-based gel placed in a tray, or small brush applicator, and are to be used each day for about a week for 30-45 minutes, so they require carving extra time into your hectic schedule. Strips, like the Crest WhiteStrips, are another, quicker way to remove surface stains. The peroxide-based gel is coated on thin strips, which are to be worn for a few minutes each day for one or two weeks. The results are less drastic than the kits, but still last at least one year.
2. Toothpaste/Mouthwash/Toothbrushes: You are going to brush your teeth twice a day regardless (we hope), so simple swap out your dental products for ones with a whitening advantage. The Spinbrush is a great, inexpensive option for daily teeth cleaning–the movement penetrates your teeth’s surface, effectively removing the day’s intake. Sonic toothbrushes, albeit more pricey, are extremely effective at ridding your teeth of plaque. Use Arm & Hammer Dental Care Advance Cleaning Mint Toothpaste with Baking Soda, one of the few ADA-approved whitening toothpastes, and contains peroxide, which will provide mild bleaching. Listerine’s Whitening Vibrant White Mouthwash is actually a pre-brush rinse that can be used twice a day to control tartar, an irksome teeth-darkening agent. The formula foams so as to lighten pre-existing stains, and the following brushing will help prevent new ones.
3. Apples, Celery, and Carrots: Biting into a crisp, crunchy apple will activate the salivary glands in your mouth and will naturally clean your teeth. Other healthy snacks like celery, oranges, broccoli, cheese, and carrots have the same effect since they will induce saliva production, which will remove plaque (saliva furthermore prevents tooth decay). Strawberries can also help whiten your teeth: the yummy fruit is a surprising key ingredient to a successful at-home whitening procedure. All that is needed is one ripe strawberry and a half teaspoon baking soda: crush the berry to a pulp, then mix in baking soda. Spread over teeth with a toothbrush, and leave on for five minutes. Safe and easy enough to administer twice a week (but not more), the strawberry combined with the soda becomes a cheap and natural astringent, easily removing discoloration.
4. Cosmetics: Glossy lipcolors in deep, rich shades will instantly lighten the appearance of your teeth, so keep that in mind when choosing a color. Reds with blue undertones, like this lipstick by YSL, are especially effective at making your teeth look whiter. Steer clear of any yellow or orange-based colors, and remember that matte or frosted finishes will do no favors for your pearly whites. Highlighting your cheekbones with a golden bronzer will also make your teeth appear whiter.
5. Xylitol gums: The sugar-free gum alternative actually works at improving the condition and appearance of teeth, instead of harming them like traditional gum. Gums made with this all-natural sweetener clean your mouth of other bad sugars and protect against plaque (which causes stains).