Whenever we see a picture of a Hollywood celebrity smiling on the red carpet, one thing that strikes us most is their bright and white teeth. Sure, most of us don’t have to smile in front of millions at a time, but we all want teeth that impress. This leads many to ask: what’s the best way to whiten teeth?
If you’re one of these people, then you’re in luck. This article will guide you through the best ways to whiten your teeth, both professional and natural teeth whitening. In the end, we will provide our verdict as to which is the best way to whiten teeth.
Many people today suffer from unhealthy and discolored teeth. This is often due to poor dental and oral health and various lifestyle choices like drinking coffee or wine and smoking cigarettes. However, most yellowing and tooth stains are not difficult to get rid of, which is why there are many teeth whitening options from which you can choose from.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Many things can potentially cause your teeth to stain and become discolored. Among them, however, are the following most common causes of yellow teeth.
- Caffeine consumption
- Grapes, blueberries, or red wine
- High Sugar diet
- Chewing or smoking tobacco
- Side effects of certain medications
- Excessive fluoride consumption
- Poor dental hygiene
Professional Teeth Whitening
While natural cleaning methods and healthy lifestyle choices can do wonders to promote oral health and white teeth, there are clinically proven ways to quickly, safely, and noticeably whiten teeth. These professional teeth whitening services are simple yet effective cosmetic ways to whiten your teeth in as little as one treatment.
There are two types of professional teeth whitening, both using pretty much the same principles. One of them is at the dentist’s office while the other is at home. We will be outlining both of these methods, after which we can go over the side effects of this treatment.
1. Home teeth Whitening
This is a bleaching method that your dentist may recommend if you have continued problems with dental stains and discolored teeth. It is simple and effective and will leave a noticeable difference in the whiteness of your teeth.
The home teeth whitening method uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel and custom-fitted bleaching trays that your dentist will provide you with to take home. During your first appointment, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This will allow them to make you a bleaching tray that is custom-fitted for your mouth and will be as effective as possible.
During the second appointment, the dentist will provide you with your custom-made bleaching trays and the hydrogen peroxide gel. They will then show you how to fill the trays with the gel and wear the trays on your teeth afterward securely.
Make sure you follow the dentist’s specific instructions on how much gel to use, how much time to leave the trays in your mouth, and how often to do the process at home. The treatment time is dependent on a few factors, including the strength of the hydrogen peroxide gel, the extent of the staining and discoloration, and your desired teeth whitening results.
2. In-office Teeth Whitening
This bleaching method is very similar to the home teeth whitening process, except it is shorter and is entirely done by your dentist. Depending on several factors, your dentist may recommend this teeth whitening method to you to combat continual problems with stains and discoloration.
The in-office teeth whitening method also uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel, but the application practice is different. Typically, you will complete this process within a single 1-2 hour appointment with your dentist.
First, your dentist will make sure your mouth is completely clean by removing all debris and plaque they can find. You will then apply a protective cream to your mouth and gums to make sure they remain moist during the entire process.
The dentist will then apply a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth that will lighten their color. You will then use a particular light or laser to speed up the whitening process. You will complete this entire process in no more than 2 hours, and you will see noticeable results almost immediately.
Side Effects of Professional Teeth Whitening
First of all, it is crucial to be aware that no matter how effective this treatment is in the short run, it is not permanent. In other words, there is no way this method can reduce or deter future discoloration from taking place.
There are a few things you can do to speed up the discoloration process after treatment. These include all the habits that lead you to have discolored teeth in the first place. Smoking, caffeine and soda consumption, and poor dental hygiene can all contribute to you losing the effects of your professional teeth whitening.
After the treatment, you may experience increased tooth sensitivity. This is entirely normal and should subside within a few days. To help reduce the discomfort from this side-effect, you can use toothpaste with a high fluoride content to decrease sensitivity. Conversely, desensitizing toothpaste can also be used to achieve the same effect. Fluoride gels are also available that can be used for this.
If sensitivity persists or you notice any other undesired effects from this treatment, please contact your dentist immediately.
Natural DIY Teeth Whitening
More often than not, you do not have to go to the dentist to whiten your teeth. Although all-around oral health needs to visit a dentist regularly, there’s a lot you can do to get white teeth at home. While professional teeth whitening is undoubtedly a valuable option for many, these natural DIY teeth whitening methods will improve your smile in no time.
1. Brushing Your Teeth
This one seems like a no-brainer, but in the world of busy schedules, it’s easy to see how this could slip by so many people. Brushing your teeth is an essential thing you can do for brighter and whiter teeth. If you have been suffering from yellow and stained teeth, this should be your first plan of action, especially if you don’t do it that often. Brushing should be done regularly, particularly after meals and when you wake up in the morning.
If you brush your teeth and still suffer from yellow, stained teeth, try using these simple tips to make your tooth brushing more effective. Brush for at least 2 minutes per session, using soft but consistent circular motions on the surfaces of your teeth. Make sure to get all the crack and crevices as well as your gums and tongue.
Using whitening toothpaste has also been proven to whiten your smile. These toothpaste contain abrasives that scrub your teeth. Just be sure to scrub gently so that you don’t damage the surface enamel on your teeth.
2. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
You’ve probably heard of people using baking soda to whiten their teeth before. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is an ingredient in most toothpaste and acts as a whitening agent.
You could use a paste made out of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for white teeth at home. This solution will give you a brighter smile while also removing the buildup of plaque and oral bacteria.
To make the solution, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. This should form a paste-like consistency which you can then use to rinse your mouth with. To rinse, swish the solution around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. Make sure you do not swallow any of the paste.
Separating Fact from Fiction
There is no shortage of quick and easy DIY methods claimed by many across the internet as teeth whitening alternatives. This is not surprising either, as many people want low-cost solutions to getting white teeth at home. Plus, when teeth brushing and baking soda pastes aren’t proving 100% effective, the natural human tendency is to get a little creative.
However, when it comes to these natural DIY teeth whitening methods, it is essential to be wary and separate from fiction. Here we will outline some of the most popular natural teeth whitening methods, suggesting which is likely true and false.
1. Turmeric Powder
It is claimed that brushed your teeth using a paste made of turmeric powder and water will remove stains and whiten teeth. The usual cleaning time for such an operation is doubled as it takes longer to rinse out the yellow turmeric stains from your teeth.
This claim is false. A rule of thumb in dentistry is that anything that will leave a stain on your shirt will do the same on your teeth. There is no spice on the planet that does not stain teeth. While turmeric has many healing properties, it is harmful in this case, and so we urge you to stay away from this method.
2. Banana Peel
This claim is straightforward. Take the peel of a ripe banana and rub your teeth with the inside of the peel for two minutes. The high levels of potassium and magnesium in the peel are said to whiten teeth within three weeks of use.
Our verdict is that this claim is valid. While the banana pores cannot reach inside the pores of your enamel, they can act as an exfoliator and clean the stains on your teeth. Since there is no deep cleaning involved, this method should be a secondary way to whiten teeth after regular brushing.
It is claimed that a great way to get white teeth at home is to mash up a strawberry, dip your toothbrush in it and brush your teeth with it. Results are usually said to be apparent after two weeks.
This claim is valid. The malic acid in the strawberries acts as an exfoliator and removes superficial debris. This acid is found in higher concentrations in ripe strawberries, so the riper, the better. However, be sure to brush your teeth gently using this method, as strawberries also contain citric acid, which tends to weaken the hardness of your enamel surface.
4. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling uses oils like mouthwash to clean the debris in your mouth and wash the surface stains. This claim has been around for a long time, as you can trace it back to a traditional 3000-year-old Ayurvedic way of teeth whitening. Accordingly, coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil can be swished around in the mouth for 20 minutes every morning before being spat out.
Our verdict here is false. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to show that this method can whiten teeth. It’s possible that swishing the viscous oil in your mouth for an extended period can dislodge some debris, but this is nothing that can’t be achieved using mouthwash and brushing.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
It is claimed that using a mixture of apple cider vinegar with water can help to whiten teeth at home by protecting gums from bacteria.
This claim, however, is also false. Apple cider vinegar is popular amongst people trying to detox, as when it is swallowed, it mixes with pancreatic secretions to become alkaline. However, upon contact with your teeth, apple cider vinegar is acidic and can only do one thing: soften your enamel surface. This will make the outer layer of your teeth less resistant to damage and can cause more significant discoloration in the long run.
All in all, it seems that there aren’t a whole bunch of different ways in which to whiten teeth effectively. Thankfully, the few available methods are very effective if done right. One should not expect white teeth if they have poor lifestyle choices and their dental hygiene is slacking. Lastly, professional teeth whitening is an effective method that anyone can undertake. If your dentist recommends the treatment for you, it probably bests that you give it a try.