Teeth whitening is one of the highest demanded and most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures sought after by people of all ages. You can call it vanity if you want, but wouldn’t all of us feel a little more confident if we had a beautiful pearly white smile to show off?
Our smiles often help us provide a first impression to strangers. And in today’s culture, that’s all it takes for someone to form a quick and lasting opinion of us.
Teeth whitening has become such a widespread practice that whitening toothpaste and kits are popping up all over the place. The teeth whitening industry is expected to reach an annual growth of 6% over the next five years. These whitening products may be able to whiten your teeth a few shades, but they may do damage in addition. Most teething whitening processes include harsh chemicals that can damage the enamel on your teeth.
While we recommend professional teeth whitening from your dentist, there are some safe and effective ways to whiten your teeth at home. If you’re considering whitening your teeth and want to give an at-home treatment a try, one of these methods may be just what you’re looking for.
1. Baking Soda
There has been a lot of controversy and mixed reviews on the safety of using baking soda as a natural tooth whitening agent. You’ve probably noticed baking soda as a main ingredient in many different brands of toothpaste. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and gently removes surface stains. And although it is abrasive, it has been deemed safe and effective for whitening teeth, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Baking soda won’t provide you with drastic whitening results, but it can help remove coffee and smoking stains. The best way to use baking soda for teeth whitening is by making a gritty paste and applying it to your teeth, either using your toothbrush or your finger. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with a few drops of water and gently apply it. Leave the paste on your teeth for up to two minutes for best results.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Another good and affordable at-home treatment for teeth whitening is hydrogen peroxide. When used safely, hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that lightens your teeth. It’s the main ingredient in most teeth-whitening products. However, you should always be aware of the concentration when using hydrogen peroxide. Concentrations that are too strong can damage the enamel of your teeth.
Most hydrogen peroxide you buy at the store is diluted to around 3 percent. Because it has a low concentration, you won’t get the same level of whiteness as you would if you were using a higher concentration. But, over time, you will begin to notice a difference. It just takes more time. You can use hydrogen peroxide as a rinse by mixing it with equal amounts of water. Or you can mix it with baking soda and make a paste to brush your teeth with. Try not to swallow any hydrogen peroxide during use.
3. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy used to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. It involves holding a small amount of oil in your mouth and swishing it around and pulling it between your teeth for 15-20 minutes before spitting it out. You can use any type of oil, but coconut is the most common.
Oil pulling helps to remove plaque-forming bacteria from your mouth. And while there is no scientific evidence that oil pulling whitens your teeth, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests it may remove stains from the teeth’s surfaces. It’s safe, and regardless of its whitening properties, it has proven highly beneficial at preventing cavities and improving gum health.
4. Good Oral Hygiene
It may sound too simple, but practicing good oral hygiene is actually the number one way to keep your teeth a white shade. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly helps remove stains by eliminating food particles that, if left in your mouth, may turn into plaque which in turn causes your teeth to appear yellow. Watching the amount of sugar you eat is also vital for your overall oral health and keeping your smile white and bright.
5. Tooth Whitening Toothpaste
We’ve already mentioned how many whitening toothpastes contain baking soda and/or low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. So it should come as no surprise that studies have found whitening toothpaste to be safe and effective at lightening your teeth by one or two shades. This may be one of this easiest and most routine ways to whiten your teeth at home.
Keep Your Teeth White and Bright At Home
With so many at-home treatments circulating, it can be difficult to know what’s safe and what will damage the health of your teeth. For example, activated charcoal quickly became a top at-home teeth whitening option. However, studies show that although effective, activated charcoal can be too abrasive and strip your teeth of enamel, leaving them susceptible to damage and decay.
We highly recommend that you consult your dentist first before attempting to whiten your teeth at home. Discuss your options. At-home natural treatments will not be as good as the professional whitening solutions you can select from, but they can help you lighten your teeth slightly and give you the confidence to show off your bright, beautiful smile.