Keeping your pearly whites gleaming and beautiful may be a tough job as you age. It could be due to coffee, colas, and energy drinks, cigarettes, or eating and drinking other staining foods and beverages like certain berries, tomatoes, and wines. Or, it could be from poor dental hygiene overall. No matter the cause, yellowing enamel on your teeth can make you feel a little self-conscious about your smile. But you don’t have to hide your toothy grin from the world or from your dentist. You can whiten your teeth in a variety of ways.
The Natural Way: Water, Fruit, and Vegetables
Your mouth comes equipped one specific way to keep your teeth clean and healthy—saliva. So one way to boost your smile is to drink more water. Water not only helps to cleanse your teeth but also helps to increase saliva production. That can be especially helpful you’re on any sort of medication that decreases saliva.
Although some foods can stain your teeth, there are others that can keep your teeth looking and feeling healthy: fruits and vegetables. Specifically, you’ll want to start munching fiber-rich foods that take a while to crew: apples, broccoli, carrots, celery, strawberries, and watermelon. You can call these foods as nature’s toothbrushes, as the rough surfaces remove food particles as stains as you chew. Citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, limes, and oranges can boost saliva production. Apples and strawberries can also increase saliva via the high amounts of malic acid found in both fruits.
The Old Standby: Toothpaste
Some toothpastes come with a little bit of hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an bleaching agent. The results in the long-term are slight, but at least you’re keeping your teeth clean as you brush your teeth.
The New Standby: Whitening Strips
Whitening strips have become the over-the-counter go-to product for teeth whitening. They provide some dramatic results, but come with a downside—temporary tooth sensitivity. When you use such products, be cautious of extreme temperatures with your food and drink—you could feel more than an ice cream headache.
The Ancient Method: Oil Pulling
Recently, oil pulling has become a trend that has come back into fashion. The belief is that by swishing oil in your mouth, it can pull harmful bacteria off of your teeth while whitening them. Scientific evidence has been scant because of small studies, so this method is not recommended. There’s also the risk of swallowing, which can cause an upset stomach and a medical condition called exogenous lipoid pneumonia, where oil molecules are caught in your lung tissue.
The Conventional Way: A Visit to Your Dentist
Your dentist can provide you with stronger teeth whitening options. You can either have the whitening procedure done in the office or be given taken-home whitening trays that you use for two to three weeks. A whitening gel used is activated by a special light or a laser, and, depending on the severity of your stains, the procedure will take about 30-90 minutes, within 1 to 3 appointments.
If you find that your smile is still stained after eating healthily and using over-the-counter methods, consulting with an experienced Anaheim dentist can be the next step to restoring the pearly luster of your teeth.