Not only is it bad for your health, smoking is one of the worst offenders when it comes to staining teeth. Tobacco causes brown stains that penetrate the grooves and pits of tooth enamel. Tobacco stains can be hard to remove by brushing alone. The longer you smoke, the more entrenched the stains become. Smoking also causes bad breath and gingivitis (gum disease), and increases the risk of most types of cancer.
With each decade that we age, our teeth can get up to one to two shades darker. The color pigments inside teeth become more prominent as the dentin structure below the enamel grows. Consider the enamel to be like translucent glass, with the dentin structure shining through underneath, giving us our tooth color. Genetics play a large role in the darkening of our teeth extrinsically and intrinsically, but environmental factors, oral hygiene, and nutrition also contribute to the shade of our teeth.
Make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice. It will likely fizz and foam a bit. Wait for it to settle down and use this solution to brush your teeth. Rinse well. You don’t need to follow with your regular toothpaste, but you can if you wish. Lemon juice contains citric acid, so it can damage your teeth if used too often. Only do this once a week for best results.
You may be able to get rid of superficial stains by yourself. A number of at-home tooth-whitening products -- kits, strips, toothpastes, and rinses-- may lighten stains. There are even some old-fashioned remedies you can try. Tooth-whitening products available on drugstore shelves use mild bleach to brighten yellow teeth. Toothpastes use abrasives and chemicals to remove surface stains. For deep stains, you may need a dentist's help.
I know this sounds absolutely mad (I thought it was crazy too when I first read about it) but rinsing your mouth with coconut oil (called ‘oil pulling’) is a unique, old, remedy that people swear by to help whiten teeth. It doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing in the world, but I actually don’t mind the taste, and I think it does make a difference in the color of your teeth. It won’t make a difference by “bleaching” per say, but lauric acid in coconut oil can rid your teeth of bacteria found in plaque that can make them yellow. It is also supposed to promote gum health, and help keep your breath fresh.
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Teeth whitening strips may be more appropriate for the person who has more yellow teeth. These are plastic strips coated on one side with hydrogen peroxide. They can be used nightly for two to four weeks depending upon the degree to which you want to produce a lighter shade. They still are not as effective as dental whitening, but they can create lighter teeth. Most four-week kits cost between 20-40 USD. The strips don’t necessarily adhere completely to the teeth, and there may be more whitening in front than in the back of each tooth.
Chew a piece of gum. Studies show that chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol for 20 minutes a day following meals can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum increases saliva production which in turn washes away food debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria, strengthens tooth enamel, and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth.
If you have only minimal staining, whitening toothpaste is clearly the easiest way to whiten your teeth at home. Brushing two to three times a day can whiten your teeth four to five shades after about a month of consistent use. Formulas for tooth whitening toothpaste are all about equivalent in effect, but kids under 16 should not use them. They can cause irritation to the gums and teeth of younger kids.
Perhaps the intensity of the heat in the professional whitening lights is the culprit? Or maybe your sensitivity and irritation is caused by the caustic breakdown of the carbamide peroxide formula used in tray and gel whitening methods? No matter what the source of the discomfort is, here are some facts to help guide you in making the right choice when it comes to your preferred method of whitening:
Are these remedies going to guarantee ridiculously white teeth within a week? No. You may start to see a difference, but it won’t be as instant as the commercial products. In the end, will your teeth be so white people squint when you open your mouth? No. And I like it better that way. I’ve found that since using these my teeth are indeed whiter, my mouth overall feels healthier and it doesn’t look like I bleached the life out of myself. We live in a world where photo-shopped faces (and teeth) and make-up covered celebrities set the standard for how we look, which makes life hard for people who like, well, real people. As a result we seem to forget what’s good for ourselves, and spend a ton of money just to look like the ideal. By going natural here, you can save the money for something else, feel better about yourself, and have a healthier mouth (and health is what, in the end, creates real beauty.)
If the “silver” is actually amalgam, which is usually what silver or metal fillings are, it is actually mercury mixed with several other metals. The benefit for dentists is that it can be placed securely over moist surfaces, such as your teeth. There is some debate as to whether or not the oil reacts with the amalgam and produces some sort of toxicity as it is “pulling” the mercury’s toxins out-but from my knowledge and research, many people report oil pulling with amalgam and do just fine, and I have yet to find a solid report on any “poisoning.” If you’re concerned you can always ring the dentist, but I suspect you’d be fine 😉
Vicky / Lisa. I am coming in a little late here but you should not experience any staining on veneers assuming they are porcelain. This is a glass like material and does not have the porous finish of tooth enamel (which also does not stain). I totally understand your reluctance though. Charcoal (activated only) can still absorb any form of discolouration and other bio-film from veneers.
I have used all of these methods to naturally whiten teeth at one time or another and have found that since most of these are included in my diet or what I use for oral hygiene, my teeth have remained pretty white and I haven’t had to spend extra trying to whiten them. These ways to naturally whiten teeth can be used daily or weekly to keep your teeth nice and white.
I was dealing with sore gums, loose teeth, discoloration and sensitive molars. I thought my diet was healthy and that my oral care was good but my dental visits showed otherwise. I began incorporating your HealThy Mouth Blend every evening on my floss. Since then, my gum pockets have gone from 3-4s down to normal, my sensitivity and loose teeth have disappeared, and my teeth feel polished and fresh!
Give hydrogen peroxide a try. Many commercial mouthwashes and toothpastes have a 1.5% concentration of hydrogen peroxide, a powerful bleaching agent with a chemical composition that is incredibly close to water. This can help whiten your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide also helps kill bacteria, wash away debris and is especially useful to prevent gingivitis.
Once I became pregnant with our first child, I was careful to avoid all chemicals, including those normally used to whiten teeth. I wanted to find natural ways to whiten my teeth that not only worked well, but were also safe. Since chemicals can easily absorb through the sensitive skin in the mouth, I wanted to only use options that were safe enough to eat.
Eat more crunchy fruits and vegetables. A big part of keeping your teeth clean involves eating the right foods. Naturally crunchy foods contain fiber, which helps increase saliva production in your mouth, removing many of the sugars and chemicals that can cause tooth decay. About 20 minutes after you eat something, your saliva begins to reduce the effects of the acids and enzymes attacking your teeth. Additionally, saliva contains traces of calcium and phosphate, which can also restore minerals to areas of teeth that have lost them from the bacterial acids.
Given all the mixed press on hydrogen peroxide, it may be helpful to know that the human body produces hydrogen peroxide primarily in the lungs, gut and thyroid gland. A fascinating study done in 2009 at Harvard University suggests that the presence of hydrogen peroxide actually ‘calls’ the immune system to an injury. (3) This makes sense when you consider that hydrogen peroxide is such a biologically fundamental ‘defense’ strategy at a cellular level.
H2O2 shouldn’t be used orally if you have amalgam fillings as it reacts and releases the mercury vapors!! I also have heard that the inside of a banana peel works to whiten (also GREAT for itchy insect bites) and activated charcoal…apply from capsule with a designated brush, leave on for a few minutes then rinse. It is said to stain sink, clothing, brush, but whitens teeth really well…just wear a black top!
Teeth bleaching products should only be used under the guidance of your dentist. Remember that whitening treatments may work temporarily but likely not for long. The best way to whiten your teeth is by feeding your body lots of healthy foods (these are also important for strong bones), brushing and rinsing your teeth and gums every day, plus working on omitting coffee, tea and sugary foods in your diet. The very first step you should take: If you smoke, stop smoking! And of course, no matter what your age, show your teeth some love by brushing with a natural, non-irritating toothpaste every day.