Getting naturally whiter teeth can be a struggle, yet many of us don’t want to go down the route of using harsh chemical treatments or paying a lot of money to get them whitened professionally. Artificially whitened teeth can also look unnatural, but fortunately, there are many ways to get a better smile from the comfort of your own home.
1.) Avoid teeth-staining food and drinks (and cigarettes!)
Use this as a rule of thumb: anything that can stain a white shirt will stain your teeth. This can include curries, coffee, tomato-based sauces and red wine (and obviously cigarettes are another big culprit!). If you really can’t avoid them, make sure to follow up by drinking some water or milk, swishing it around your mouth, which can help remove any residue.
2.) Try oil pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional remedy used in Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems developed in India more than 3,000 years ago, which involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes. It’s said to remove stains and bacteria from your teeth and toxins from the body in general. Lab studies have shown that oils such as coconut and sunflower oil have antibacterial properties, so using these will definitely help towards getting healthier – and whiter – teeth.
3.) Brush before breakfast
If you wake up starving and just want to eat something, it might be tempting to wait to brush your teeth until after breakfast. But this can be hazardous where your teeth are concerned, because bacteria grow on your teeth overnight (when there is less saliva to wash them away). The sugars from the food you then eat combine with these bacteria to create an acid that attacks the tooth enamel, so it’s always best to brush first thing in the morning before you eat anything.
4.) Spit, don’t rinse!
Fluoride toothpaste is renowned for preventing tooth decay and yellowness (make sure your current toothpaste contains it!), but for it to properly do its job, it should stay in your mouth for as long as possible. This is why you should spit but not rinse after brushing, so that all-important fluoride isn’t washed away.
5.) Eat more fruit and veg
Strawberries contain a natural tooth whitener called malic acid, which works to dissolve stains for a brighter smile. (But don’t use the strawberry pulp as a ‘leave-on’ treatment as it can erode tooth enamel over time!) Other foods that work as a ‘natural toothbrush’ include apples, celery and raw carrot sticks, as the rough textures can help lift away bits of plaque-causing food and debris.
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