Why are people so concerned with how to whiten teeth at home on a regular basis? A lot of questions popped online to various health and beauty magazines reveal a pretty high interest in this topic. The reason behind this concern is actually a bit more complex, and could be described as being divided in two separate causes. First of all, it’s pretty obvious that we live in a world where one’s physical appearance matters more than ever and the standards of cleanliness and looks keep going higher and higher. Before allowing this simple observation to seep into a heated debate on whether this is a good thing or not and how much of this concern with your own looks stems from a basic decency and how much of it stems from vanity, let’s just agree that this trend is what it is and that’s that.
In this new set of standards for one’s own appearance – standards and details no one would have thought of 50 years ago or even 20 years ago – white teeth have become a norm. There are literally few worse things than yellow teeth: the lack of a shower or a slightly scruffy look can be forgiven more easily, since people just assume you’ve been partying too hard to groom yourself for a day or two; but a faulty denture indicates months or years of neglect. That is exactly the type of detail that repulses people easily these days, when so much focus is put on self-care.
Second of all, not only the standards of cleanliness and beauty have evolved right along with HD imaging, but the yellowing of teeth may be accelerated as well under the influence of our contemporary lifestyle. Our current diet, high in sugar and corrosive substances, especially when coupled with known tooth strainers such as tobacco and coffee, is certainly contributing to the fading whiteness of our teeth. What are we to do, under these circumstances, and if we also want to avoid a professional treatment offered by dentists (which can be pretty harsh on the tooth’s exterior, not to mention its high cost)? Well, this is where home remedies come in; read on for our reviews on how to whiten teeth at home naturally.
How to Whiten Teeth at Home – the Most Popular Ways
- Baking soda – This use of the rather banal kitchen ingredient has been popular since the time of our grandparents and beyond. For one of the best whitening treatments you can get, mix ¼ of a teaspoon in your normal amount of toothpaste for one wash, and then use it on your teeth as you normally would. It will work almost instantly and, most importantly, safely: baking soda does come as the least aggressive ingredient you could find, and even if you swallow some, it will be ok (you’re already eating it in cookies anyway). Our verdict: this method is guaranteed to get you whitened teeth as quickly as overnight, if you give your denture a good 5 minutes of scrubbing. It won’t irritate sensitive gums, and will work especially well if your teeth are stained from dietary causes. However, it may not last very long and you’ll need to redo it every 4 weeks or so. (I tend to do this for my teeth every week since there are no side effects).
- Hydrogen peroxide – This rather safe chemical can be bought in almost any pharmacy and can be used to lighten up the color of your hair or, obviously, to whiten your teeth at home. You have to be really careful though, since this isn’t the edible and harmless baking soda which you can simply swallow without any concern. Our verdict: this method is almost as quick and precise as getting professionally treated by a dentist, probably only laser is faster than this. Another bonus is the fact that you should not need to do it as often as the baking soda scrub (and it would be harmful to do it more than once every two months anyway). The downside is that you must take extra care when applying this substance to your teeth (preferably with a cotton swab) and potential irritation for your gums is foreseeable after application.
- Strawberries – if you’d rather go for a truly natural remedy, this is it. Many people wondering how to whiten teeth at home using nothing but what they can normally find in their fridge have turned to strawberries as a regular treatment. How does this work? The natural (mild) acidity of this fruit can make whiter teeth a reality by providing a micro-abrasion every time you eat them, but only if you do it often enough and without eating anything else (or drinking water) afterwards. Some sources also indicate that rubbing banana peels on your teeth may have the same effect, but it’s a lesser one, if any, so it’s better to just stick to strawberries. Our verdict: this is obviously not as fast or efficient as using the previous methods, so it’s better to rely on strawberries more like a maintenance treatment than anything. For a noticeable whitening effect, it’s best if you consider more drastic remedies, even if the milder ones you can do at home.
- Whitening gel (or strips) – There is also a whole range of commercial whitening gels (or strips) available in pharmacies or large hypermarkets, some of them based on charcoal or other substances. Such products promise to give you teeth so white from day 1 that it will seem you’ve been using Photoshop on yourself, even if you zoom in. But are these products really as efficient as they promise to be? The answer is that yes, these products may work to their full extent for the moment, but the effect won’t last very long if you have a lot of build-up on your teeth, the kind which can only be eliminated professionally. Our verdict: Feel free to give these products a try if you want, but keep in mind that they can’t perform miracles if your teeth are seriously stained or if you haven’t visited a dentist for quite some time to get a professional cleaning service.
Choosing the Best Option
If you have false teeth, then feel free to use the peroxide option as often as you’d like, since their artificial material can’t really get damaged by this substance. Natural options such as strawberries or banana peels may be a bit too mild for artificial teeth, so stick to the stronger stuff if this is your situation. If your denture is still your own natural one, then use the peroxide option only once every two months or so, in order to avoid putting too much pressure on your delicate tooth enamel. In between these whitening sessions, feel free to use some of the milder options as often as once a month or according to the instructions on the package (in the case of store-bought kits). No harm can come from a reasonable use of these products, and all strategies of how to whiten teeth at home naturally and safely rely on using less aggressive techniques more often, as opposed to stronger treatments rarely.
If you happen to wear braces, then take extra caution and don’t apply any harsh substances (like peroxide) without a doctor’s approval, since these devices are known to cause micro tears in the tooth’s enamel layer. The same caution should be used when trying to whiten artificial cavity fillers, previously installed by your dentist. Strong whitening substances may cause the chemicals in your fillers to become activated in ways you don’t expect, leading them to break down or change their color drastically, no matter how well bonded they seemed to be with your teeth.
Maintaining Your Teeth’s Whiteness
Besides actively using a product or following advice on how to whiten teeth at home naturally, there are also some general life-style tricks you can use to prevent yellowing and staining. Think of these as you would of the simply the best things you can do for your teeth’s looks on a minor and day to day basis. These small steps prevent the loss of your teeth’s newly attained whiteness and luster, or simply provide a mild and continuous whitening action all the while between two treatments.
- Brush your teeth immediately after consuming coffee or red wine, beverages known for staining and yellowing your teeth. If you can, reduce these drinks altogether from your diet anyway. If you need an extra incentive, white wine has been proven to cause less headaches and milder hangovers than its red counterpart.
- Include as much natural white vinegar in your diet as possible (apple cider and honey are good sources), as it too has a mild whitening effect for your teeth.
- Don’t forget that it’s ok to add a little baking soda to your toothpaste as often as once a week, to brighten up the white in your smile. There are no side effects, so feel free to do it liberally.