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Smiling woman holding up a whitening strip and looking in a mirror.Smiling woman holding up a whitening strip and looking in a mirror.

How to Whiten Teeth at Home

By: BeSeen Team

Date: May 18, 2023

A great smile can transform your face into a beaming ray of light that can brighten the dullest day. The problem? Your smile lacks a bit of wattage no thanks to your yellowed teeth. Scroll down if you want to learn how to whiten teeth at home. Discover teeth-whitening strips and other brightening methods in this article. 

Why You Get Stained and Yellow Teeth  

The outer part of your teeth is called enamel, which is typically ivory or off-white. Discolouration can be due to several factors, such as drinks like cola, tea, wine, and coffee; habits like smoking; and even certain medications. Plaque, a bacterial film that develops on the enamel, and its worse cousin, tartar, can also give your teeth a yellowish tint. 

Beneath the surface is a layer of calcified tissue called dentin, which is yellowish brown. If you have poor oral hygiene, your enamel might wear off and expose this discoloured inner layer.  

How to Whiten Teeth at Home

Can yellow teeth become white again? Definitely! Walk into any pharmacy or supermarket, and you’ll likely find an entire selection of whitening products that range from toothpaste to mouthwash. Apart from OTC methods, your dentist might be able to prescribe treatments like gels, lasers, or power bleaching, which are usually more concentrated than what you would find in a shop.  

From natural teeth whitening methods to more aggressive approaches, there are many things you can do (and avoid) to add a little more brilliance to your smile. Find out your options so you can wipe out stubborn stains and give your teeth a nice clean slate.  

Try teeth-whitening strips. 

Closeup of teeth whitening strip and toothbrush being held by a blurred image of a smiling woman in the background.
Brush your teeth before applying the strip to maximise whitening benefits and avoid trapping in food particles.

Teeth whitening strips work the same way as bleach does on stubborn laundry stains. The common denominator? The active ingredient peroxide, which you could find in many teeth-whitening products. Whitening strips penetrate the enamel as the peroxide enters the dentin layer, bleaching the chromogens or pigmented molecules that cause staining.  

Make sure you brush your teeth before applying whitening strips. Stick them directly over your teeth and leave them on for about 30 minutes, depending on the recommended length of time by the manufacturer. Follow the prescribed instructions and do not go overboard since these materials contain bleach. Research shows that improper use can lead to dental damage.

Teeth whitening strips are an easy and affordable method for whitening stains. However, one con is that they only whiten the surface they touch – leaving your molars and the inner side of your teeth still stained.  

Swish some oil around.  

Ayurvedic medicine introduced the concept of oil pulling for whitening teeth. It entails swishing oil, ideally coconut or olive oil, around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Do you want to pass on gargling grease in your mouth for almost half an hour? A 2016 study that explored the benefits of oil pulling reveals its effectiveness in reducing plaque, a major contributor to tooth discolouration.  

Research supports that oil pulling can be a be-all solution for many dental needs, from reducing bacteria, bad breath, and inflammation and preventing cavities. Ready to get down with a brighter smile? Oil up. However, make sure to get the all-clear from your dental practitioner first. 

Brush with baking soda.  

Many people use baking soda as a natural, teeth whitening at home. Studies suggest that brushing with baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth that prevents bacteria growth. 

There are many kinds of natural dentifrice available that contain baking soda. However, you can DIY one. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water. Then, brush your teeth as you normally would with this concoction instead of store-bought toothpaste. 

Eat fruits and vegetables. 

Portrait of a woman happily taking a bite out of a green apple. 
An apple a day keeps the dentist away and teeth stains at bay. Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables can help keep your teeth clean.

Everyone knows eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables is good for you, but did you know that loading up on your greens can help make your teeth look whiter? Chowing on crunchy, high-fibre fruits and vegetables will give your choppers a good scrubbing. They’ll also help balance hydration levels in your mouth because of their high water content.  

Limit Teeth-Staining Foods and Drinks  

Now that you know how to whiten your teeth, here are a few reminders on what not to do. Avoid acidic food or drink like coffee, tea, wine, or sugary drinks. Although you shouldn’t have to avoid them completely, there are some things you can do to minimise staining on teeth.   

For instance, you might want to sip on your cola using a straw to avoid direct contact with your teeth. If you fuel up with coffee to power through the day, try having a strong shot of espresso in the morning instead of several lattes spread throughout the day so you can brush your teeth right after your first cup instead of saturating your teeth in caffeine all day.  

Ensure Good Oral Hygiene   

When it comes down to it, the best way to prevent tooth discolouration is to practise good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice a day, along with regular visits to the dentist, will prevent plaque (and consequently tartar) build-up and food stains on your teeth.  

You can also inquire about achieving your optimum dental condition. For example, crooked teeth are more prone to yellowing because they’re also more prone to bacteria development and decay. Ask your dentist how you can improve your oral care game with dental treatments, such as the possibility of bridges or aligners. Visit ClearCorrect to learn more.    

A healthy smile is a bright one. From teeth-whitening strips to simple home remedies, many options are available to help you feel confident about flashing your pearly whites. So go on, light up the room with a dazzling grin. 

 

References: 

Vilhena, K. F. B., Nogueira, B. C. F., Fagundes, N. C. F., Loretto, S. C., Angélica, R. S., Lima, R. R., & Souza, M. H. S. E., Junior. (2019). Dental enamel bleached for a prolonged and excessive time: Morphological changes. PLOS ONE, 14(4), e0214948. 

Shanbhag, V. K. L. (2017). Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 7(1), 106–109. 

Li, Y. (2017). Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice. Journal of the American Dental Association, 148(11), S20–S26. 

Madeswaran, S., & Jayachandran, S. (2018). Sodium bicarbonate: A review and its uses in dentistry. Indian Journal of Dental Research, 29(5), 672. 

Zhao, X., Zanetti, F., Wang, L., Pan, J., Majeed, S., Malmstrom, H., Peitsch, M. C., Hoeng, J., & Ren, Y. (2019). Effects of different discoloration challenges and whitening treatments on dental hard tissues and composite resin restorations. Journal of Dentistry, 89, 103182. 

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