Have you been noticing a less sparkly smile lately? As we get older, the enamel on our teeth naturally grows thinner, meaning they are more susceptible to staining. You already know the importance of taking good care of your teeth at home. Brushing and flossing every day (yes, you really have to floss every day) are a great place to start, but they cannot always tackle tough stains.
Here is our list of seven things you can do to maintain a whiter smile.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Ideally, you should be seeing your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings. A professional cleaning at the dentist removes plaque buildup which can leave your teeth looking dingy or yellow. Simply removing this plaque can help noticeably brighten your smile. However, your dentist can also catch bigger problems. Cavities don’t do your smile any favors, and getting to the dentist twice a year is a great way to prevent them.
Use OTC Products
The two whitening products you probably see most frequently are whitening strips, or whitening gel. Both can be very effective.
Whitening sttips are thin pieces of material that you apply directly to your teeth, and leave on for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the instructions. Whitening gel on the other hand is usually applied to the teeth with a paintbrush, and then trays that have been fitted to your teeth are worn to prevent that gel from coming into contact with the rest of your mouth.
Ask your dentist which products they recommend.
Baking Soda and Peroxide Paste
For a more natural approach, you can make a simple paste out of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Simply use this the same way you would use toothpaste, and brush your teeth with this mixture three times a week to maintain a waiter smile.
Baking Soda and Lemon Juice Paste
Not keen on peroxide? Make a paste out of baking soda and lemon juice. The measurements are the same: 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. You can use this mixture up to three times a week. Be careful not to overdo it as baking soda is abrasive and can actually wind up doing more harm than good if used too frequently.
Peroxide and Water as Mouthwash
Antibacterial mouthwashes can be pretty intense. A much milder approach is to mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) to two parts water. The taste is much less harsh, and it can whiten your smile too!
Avoid Staining Foods
Coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juices, berries… these are all wonderful foods, but they can wreak havoc on your smile. If you are trying to whiten your teeth, it’s best to reduce the intake of these staining foods.
Be Aware of Medications
Some tooth staining is caused by medication, and therefore needs to be addressed in a different way. Ask your doctor if any medications that you are taking may be causing tooth staining, and how they recommend addressing it. Speak with your dentist too, as he or she will have experience with this. Do not stop any medications without discussing it with your doctor first.
What are your favorite ways to whiten your smile? Got any secrets to share in the comments?