Tooth enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate; it covers the outer surface of the teeth and is the hardest substance in the body.
Over time, however, it can wear down and that can lead to cavities. Not only that but it can also get stained. For example, it’s not uncommon for drinks such as coffee to stain your teeth.
The good news is that there are ways to fix teeth discoloration.
Interested? Want to know what the best way to whiten your teeth is? If so, you’re at the right place. We’ll be going over a few things that can help below.
Keep reading to learn more!
1. Use Whitening Toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste usually contains a combination of ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyapatite, and mild abrasives such as silica, activated charcoal, baking soda, and sodium metaphosphate. They work by removing surface stains such as those caused by smoking or drinking coffee.
However, they won’t change the natural color of your teeth.
The only exception is hydroxyapatite toothpaste—they’re effective at intrinsically whitening teeth from the inside out. Not only will they brighten your teeth, but they can also help prevent tooth decay. This is especially true for those that contain fluoride.
They’re fairly safe as well as they don’t use any strong abrasives.
2. Brush With Baking Soda
Baking soda is a mild abrasive that has natural whitening properties. For this reason, it’s often incorporated in commercial toothpaste. Generally speaking, the higher the concentration, the more effective it’ll be.
Another option is to make your own paste. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water. You can use it a few times a week—that’ll help buff away surface stains. Not only that, but studies have shown that it can also prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth.
While it won’t whiten your teeth overnight per se, you should notice a difference after a few weeks. Keep in mind, however, that it won’t give you the fluoride protection that you’ll get with most commercial toothpaste.
3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that you can use for teeth whitening. According to one study, toothpaste that contains 1% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda leads to significantly whiter teeth.
You can also use it as a mouthwash before you brush your teeth. For the best results, use a 1.5% or 3% solution. Or if you want, you can make your own ‘toothpaste’ by mixing peroxide with baking soda. Just don’t use it too often, otherwise, it can erode your tooth enamel.
There’s also a chance that it can cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation—that’s why it’s so important to use a diluted concentration.
4. Apply Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are small pieces of flexible plastic that are coated with a whitening gel (they usually contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide). For the best results, brush your teeth beforehand; that’ll prevent food and bacteria from getting stuck beneath the strips.
Once you’ve done that, prepare your strips. Find out which goes where and apply them so that the side with the gel is in contact with the entire surface of your teeth. Leave them for about 30 minutes before removing them.
Don’t leave the strips on for longer than specified; that can cause sensitivity and irritation in the teeth and gums.
We highly recommend brushing your teeth afterward as well—that’ll help remove the whitening gel from your mouth. At the very least, rinse it with water.
5. Get a Professional Whitening Treatment
You can get your teeth professionally whitened at your dentist’s office. Generally speaking, it’ll take between 30-60 minutes. If anything, it’s the best way to get white teeth.
Not only will it work faster, but your teeth will also stay whiter longer compared to at-home whitening kits (consider these reasons as well).
The dentist will start by applying a layer of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide onto your teeth. A polymerization light will then be used to activate the gel; they will repeat this several times over the session. They may also use a UV light to accelerate the whitening process.
Cost-wise, you can expect to spend around $650 to $1250 per session. Since it’s a cosmetic procedure, it’s usually not covered by dental insurance policies.
6. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The best way to whiten teeth at home is to practice good oral hygiene. In other words, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. That’ll prevent your enamel from weakening so that it’ll yellow at a slower rate.
Not only that, but it’ll also prevent the buildup of yellowing plaque on the surface of your teeth.
And don’t skip your dental checkups. Ideally, you want to go for a cleaning once every six months. They’ll be able to remove tartar from your teeth, something that you can’t do at home. Aside from preventing gum disease and cavities, it’ll also improve the color of your teeth.
The Best Way to Whiten Your Teeth
What’s the best way to whiten your teeth? There’s no single answer. Rather, there are many things that you can do—from using baking soda to applying whitening strips. When in doubt, talk to your dentist!
Looking for more health tips? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our health and fitness section!