I'm personally in a love hate relationship with my teeth (I love to hate them) and the thing I hate most about them is that yellow-y tinge that occurs every now and again from drinking too much tea. It seems I'm not alone. Whiter teeth are often cited as one of the top things women would like to change about themselves. Luckily there's a whole host of brightening methods to choose from, so here's a few ways to get your teeth whiter and keep them that way.
A popular method to whiten teeth is by using home whitening kits. These can be purchased either on the high street or online, and can cost anywhere from £10 to £100. Several options are available, ranging from dental trays, strips, ‘paint on’ formulas and even whitening pens. The choice can get a little overwhelming so speak to your dentist for guidance about whitening. To ensure you end up with a product that delivers there are certain things you need to look for when buying a home kit. Hydrogen peroxide is the most common ingredient in effective whitening products and it has to be a high enough strength in order to actually brighten teeth. Legally in the UK, home kits should only contain 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. Be wary of products with higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide as if these are used incorrectly they can leave you with nasty chemical burns. Be careful to stick to timings and usage instructions too. Over-whitening the teeth can wear away the enamel leaving your teeth translucent or grey and with increased sensitivity. In general whitening strips tend to be a safer (depending on what they're made of) and are a ‘no fuss’ option.
If you prefer to DIY and love keeping it natural, look no further than your kitchen for teeth whiteners. Oil, baking soda and strawberries are all claimed to be remedies for dull, discoloured teeth. Oil pulling is ancient Ayurvedic technique which involves swishing oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes before spitting it out and rinsing with warm water. It’s thought to remove all of the toxins and bacteria in the mouth, leading to whiter teeth. Organic oils such as Sesame, Olive or Coconut are often cited to produce the most benefits. It does sound a little crazy but at least it’s au naturel. Strawberries are also claimed to whiten teeth as the fruit contains malic acid which helps lift stains. To use, mash up some strawberries and combine with baking soda (another natural whitener) so the mixture is not too acidic. Apply the mixture to your teeth and leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing. As too much acid can erode the enamel on your teeth it’s suggested to do this no more than once a week.
The most dramatic whitening results can only take place in the dentist’s chair. Whitening available from your dentist is far stronger and effective than any legal product that can be purchased from shops or online. Gleaming white teeth can often be achieved in a single session, but the sparkling results come at a price. Costs can total over £200 for one treatment. If you don’t fancy forking out for a brighter smile, a regular clean and polish from your dentist is another option. This will remove deeper stains and discolouration more than regular brushing and it costs a lot less than a whitening procedure.
If you want to keep your teeth pearly white dentists recommend brushing teeth for a full two minutes, two times a day. It’s suggested to brush gently at 45 degree angle against the gum line for thorough stain removal. Want that super clean feeling? Go electric instead of manual. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to be more effective than a manual brush. It’s also advised by dentists to avoid certain foods and drinks to keep teeth white. Beverages such as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and wine all cause discolouration. It’s usually the acidity or the sugar levels in foods which wreak havoc on our teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and using mouthwash can also help to keep stains at bay.
No time for whitening? You can get the appearance of whiter teeth simply by wearing a red lipstick with blue undertones. This trick works as blue balances out any yellow stains on your teeth. You can also fake it by wearing bronzer as this gives the face a sun kissed glow which makes teeth seem brighter.
How do you keep your teeth white?