How to get a radiant smile without breaking the bank? Today, we’re putting aside professional teeth whitening treatments and exploring effective and budget-friendly methods for teeth whitening at home and healthy habits for maintaining good oral hygiene.
How to Whiten Teeth at Home: The Basics
As we age, tooth discoloration becomes a common problem. While aging is a contributing factor, the primary cause of stained teeth lies in plaque buildup, a biofilm of bacteria on the tooth surface.
Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine is crucial for keeping the teeth and gums healthy, as well as a defense against teeth stains. Regular brushing with whitening toothpaste helps remove surface stains and prevents yellowing of teeth.
Additionally, there is more to this story than brushing. Often overlooked but equally important aspect is flossing. Flossing isn’t just about getting those annoying bits of food out between your teeth. It’s also about the less obvious but equally important issue of eliminating bacteria that contribute to plaque formation in those hard-to-reach places.
This extra step not only enhances the overall cleanliness of your teeth but also helps prevent plaque formation, which, if not removed, will turn into tartar, which, in the end, will make your teeth look yellow.
*Brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day is recommended.
Once we’ve covered the basics, here are five at-home treatments for obtaining whiter teeth:
1. Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are a popular choice when looking for a hassle-free and effective method of teeth brightening. Coated with a layer of peroxide-based whitening gel, these thin, flexible strips are designed to fit and adapt to the natural shape of your teeth. The most convenient part about teeth whitening strips is how easy it is to use them– simply apply the strips to your teeth, wait for the recommended time (each package has its own, but up to 30 minutes), and peel them off once the time has passed. Many users appreciate their discreet nature, allowing you to continue your daily activities while the strips work their magic. Incorporating these strips into your routine can provide noticeable results over time, making them a good product for teeth-whitening.
2. LED Light
Using LED lights to enhance whitening has become another trend in at-home teeth whitening. Many whitening kits now come equipped with LED devices that emit a specific wavelength of light, activating the whitening substances in the gel and potentially speeding up the results. The concept is based on the idea that light accelerates the chemical reaction, resulting in a more efficient breakdown of stains on the tooth surface. While research on the efficacy of LED light in teeth whitening is ongoing, many users report better outcomes when combining LED treatments with whitening gels or strips.
3. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional remedy from India that has become a go-to at-home method for improving oral hygiene while detoxifying the body.
This technique consists of the simple yet impactful act of swishing oil in the mouth to eliminate harmful bacteria, which are known to be the reason for plaque formation.
How to do it?
Simply choose an oil (sesame, sunflower, and coconut are preferred), put one tablespoon directly in your mouth, and swish for about 2 to 5 minutes. Try to force it through all your teeth area and all over your gums.
After you spit the oil, continue with your regular brushing and flossing.
* It is recommended to do it in the morning after breakfast daily.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is used in medicine to disinfect wounds because of its ability to kill bacteria. However, its antibacterial properties make it an excellent solution for oral care, so many commercial teeth whitening products contain it as well. Those concentrations are much higher than the ones you will use at home.
By incorporating hydrogen peroxide into your dental routine, you will whiten your teeth and ensure that your teeth are bacteria-free. However, before using hydrogen peroxide, research the recommended concentrations because high concentrations may cause side effects, including damaging teeth.
5. Silicone Toothbrush
Antibacterial silicone toothbrushes have gained popularity for being much more hygienic, preventing bacteria build-up, and being more gentle than other electric toothbrushes that can easily damage gums and enamel.
ISSA 3 – the Largest Oral Care Advance in 70 Years
This ultra-hygienic silicone sonic toothbrush has incredible effectiveness that no other manual toothbrush could possibly simulate. The plaque adheres very quickly to the enamel, and only a sonic pulsating movement like an ISSA™ 3 toothbrush can remove it efficiently. According to dental experts, ISSA™ 3 is closest to a professional ultrasonic scaler done at the surgery.
Clinically proven to improve oral health by 140%, ISSA™ 3 is powered with Sonic Pulse technology that creates up to 11,000 high-intensity micro-sweeps per minute, allowing ISSA™ 3 to gently yet thoroughly clean, making it an ideal toothbrush if you struggle with gum irritation and redness. Additionally, it is very effective at removing 30% more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
Teeth Whitening Hacks
Beyond products, some people swear by unconventional teeth-whitening hacks and products. From using banana peels to rubbing strawberries on your teeth, these DIY approaches often garner attention for their natural elements. While scientific evidence doesn’t support the efficacy of these hacks, users report positive results.
However, it’s crucial to approach these hacks with caution and be mindful of potential risks, since the American Dental Association (ADA) said fruits mixed with an abrasive (like baking soda) are acidic and can actually cause harm by wearing down your enamel.
Healthy Habits For Whiter Teeth
Watch Your Diet
To maintain the white smile, it’s wise to be mindful of certain habits that can contribute to teeth staining. Staining substances, such as coffee, tea, and red wine, are known to leave undesirable marks on the teeth over time. The pigments present in these drinks can latch onto the tooth enamel, gradually causing discoloration.
It’s not just about what to avoid; teeth-friendly foods also play a significant role in preserving the smile’s radiance. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots act as natural abrasives, gently scrubbing away surface stains while promoting saliva production. Saliva, in turn, serves as a natural defense mechanism for your teeth, helping to neutralize acids and wash away debris, contributing to an overall cleaner and brighter appearance. Try to balance the intake of staining agents and the consumption of teeth-friendly foods.
Water plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and contributes significantly to teeth health since it rinses away food particles, acids, and bacteria that could potentially cause teeth staining. The neutral pH of water offers a protective alternative compared to acidic beverages that can potentially erode tooth enamel.
Even though achieving a brighter smile at home has never been easier, before using any whitening products, approach teeth whitening cautiously. Seek guidance from dental professionals who can recommend safe and effective methods for individual oral health needs. Strong acids can have detrimental effects on the teeth. They are often present in certain teeth whitening products or treatments to break down or bleach stains on the enamel. In some cases, acids can increase tooth sensitivity, gum irritations, or weaken the tooth structure. Ultimately, a brighter smile should not come at the expense of dental health. In the end, healthy teeth are the prettiest.