Around one-fifth of the people say they hide their teeth in photos because they are embarrassed about the discolouration.
Unfortunately, teeth don’t like to stay white and a huge number of things that will cause them to discolour. A couple of common causes include drinking lots of coffee, thinning tooth enamel, smoking cigarettes and unavoidable genetic factors.
With so many ways to discolour your teeth, a little yellowing over time is inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do!
In this post, I’ll share 7 completely natural (and effective) ways to whiten your teeth.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda isn’t just for the kitchen, it’s great in the bathroom too! A mild abrasive, baking soda particles rub your teeth, which gently buffs out the surface stains.
A lot of toothpaste actually contain sodium bicarbonate (the chemical name for baking soda) as an ingredient, which gives you an idea for how good it is.
Several studies have shown that products that contain baking soda can reduce surface stains over time
2. Cider Vinegar
Cider vinegar has been used for years as a natural cleaning product. It’s active ingredient (the thing that actually gives it all the benefits) is acetic acid, which actually kills bacteria. So swishing cider vinegar in your mouth kills the bacteria in there and helps keep your teeth nice and healthy.
One recent study found that cider vinegar has a bleaching effect on teeth. However, it also showed that cider vinegar can soften the surface of your teeth. If you want to try cider vinegar for yourself, don’t use it every single day and remember to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
3. Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut oil is probably the most famous superfood now. It’s great for calming hunger pangs, improving your cholesterol and moisturising your skin.
But it gets better! Coconut oil is also great for your teeth!
Simply place a spoonful of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it between your teeth for around ten minutes. The oil will dissolves biofilm (lots of bacteria stuck together) and plaque and generally give your mouth a clean.
Not only does it help with whitening but coconut oil is antimicrobial too, which helps your gums will stay healthy.
A study in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene concluded: “Edible oil-pulling therapy is natural, safe and has no side effects. Hence, it can be considered as a preventive therapy at home to maintain oral hygiene.”
4. Crunchy Fruits and Veggies
Crunchy fruits and vegetables are a little like nature’s toothbrush. Munching on, say, a stick of celery helps remove excess food from your mouth and prevent the buildup of bacteria. The stringy strands foods scrub the surface of your teeth, keeping them bright and shiny.
However, if we’re going to single out one crunchy food in particular, it would have to be the apple. Apples contain malic acid, which is actually the whitening chemical in a lot of teeth whitening products. This means apples pull double duty, scrubbing the surface of your teeth and whitening them at the same time.
5. Calcium-rich foods and drinks
As I mentioned in the intro, discolouration of your teeth can be caused by the enamel wearing away to expose the layer of dentin underneath. If you want to ensure your teeth stay strong and healthy for years to come, you should consume lots of calcium-rich foods and drinks to help keep your enamel healthy and strong.
Common calcium-rich foods and drinks include milk, cheese, almonds, kale, yogurt and broccoli.
6. Cut down on staining drinks
Some foods will stain your teeth more than others. For example, liquorice will discolour your teeth more than white wine.
The two worst drinks are probably coffee and red wine, which are notorious for staining teeth dark yellow.
The goods news is that you don’t have to completely cut out coffee and red wine completely as any reduction will help reduce the staining on your teeth.
7. Brushing and Flossing
I admit that this tip probably won’t surprise you but that doesn’t mean it won’t help. Brush and floss your teeth.
Proper brushing helps buff stains off the surface of your teeth and flossing gets rid of excess foods that could harden into plaque. Together they have keep your teeth healthy, strong and gleaming.
Guest Post by Angela Rowlands – Co-founder at Buttercup 7 Day Dental
Angela grew up in Glasgow and was a distinguished student at Glasgow University, graduating with honours in 2004 with the William Hunter Medal in Prosthodontics, the James Rankin Brownlie prize for Dental Surgery and the Lord Provost’s prize. Angela founded Buttercup in 2011 with Gerwyn Rowlands.