As we age, our pearly white teeth naturally fade in luster. Over time, white gives way to some odd hue of yellow or beige, which isn’t exactly the most flattering thing on those selfies, Zoom calls or in person. But the good news is that you can actually whiten your teeth in various ways, and many of them utilize natural products that you don’t need to visit a dentist to start using.
Sure, you could always try the tooth-whitening kits available at your local pharmacy, but some natural options can have long-lasting effects if you incorporate them into your lifestyle. Here are some strategies that you can leverage at home as real teeth whitening alternatives.
Change Your Diet
While it’s not the most interesting teeth whitening alternative out there, the number one way to whiten your teeth is to stop staining them. Foods and drinks that have tannins and other dyes such as coffee, dark sodas, juice, wine and tea can stain your teeth and make them look more yellow than you’re probably comfortable with.
Furthermore, acidic foods such as citrus, coffee and soda can wear down your teeth’s enamel, though you can help mitigate this somewhat by regularly brushing after consuming certain types of foods. That said, most dentists suggest waiting about half an hour after eating to brush your teeth as acids that weaken the enamel can lead to damage if brushing occurs immediately after eating.
If you’re a smoker or you use other tobacco products, stop. Nicotine stains are not only unsightly, but they can also cause tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health issues.
It might sound weird, but oil pulling is just a fancy way of washing your mouth with oil to remove bacteria, debris and other unwanted grime. You won’t be able to do it in lieu of brushing or flossing, but oil pulling can actually help whiten teeth.
That said, the American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t advocate oil pulling for any oral health benefits, so keep that in mind if you’re interested in this teeth whitening alternative.
To try it out, use either coconut oil, sunflower oil or sesame oil and rinse an once or so of liquid in the mouth after brushing before spitting it out (don’t swallow!).
As one of the primary teeth whitening alternatives, brushing with baking soda is a nice way to gently polish away visible stains on your teeth. It’s a harsher and grittier version of regular brushing, but it’s actually a safe way to remove stains and it won’t grind away your tooth enamel as critics suggest.
Another benefit of brushing with baking soda is that baking soda can help fight bacteria in the mouth and along the gumline, which is a great way to reduce plaque and prevent tooth decay.
While it’s part of the bleach family, hydrogen peroxide is actually found in many oral care products for good reason: it’s a good teeth whitening alternative. But it’s actually best used with baking soda — just mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda together and brush for a minute or two before rinsing.
However, because of the strength of hydrogen peroxide, you shouldn’t use it often or over a long period of time, which can end up damaging your teeth. Most users report an increase in tooth sensitivity, so don’t use it if you already have sensitive teeth.
It might sound like a joke or a meme, but certain fruits are viable teeth whitening alternatives. In fact, papayas and pineapples contain papain and bromelain, enzymes that can help whiten teeth. Studies have shown that products with these enzymes can help whiten teeth, but the benefits are modest at best, so don’t expect it to give you a moth full of pearly whites after one use.
Oral Hygiene Is Important
Most of us brush twice a day in the morning and at night. But merely brushing isn’t the same as brushing well, so if you’re disappointed in your yellow teeth, you may need to brush more frequently or do a better job when you’re brushing. Many toothpastes and oral care products today have mild whitening properties, so you can actually whiten your teeth while you’re taking care of them.
Regular brushing and flossing also helps protect the enamel of your teeth, prevents gum decay and removes stains. Be sure to brush at least twice a day or after each meal if you can, and utilize a fluoride toothpaste to fight tooth decay.
Teeth Whitening Alternatives That Don’t Work
For all the discussion about teeth whitening alternatives that work, there are even more alternatives to teeth whitening that don’t work. Worse yet, some teeth whitening strategies can actually harm your teeth, which includes acidic or abrasive techniques such as lemons, oranges, apple cider vinegar and activated charcoal. Stay away from these!
Why Yellowing Is So Common
Essentially, our teeth become yellow due to two reasons: enamel thinning and stains, and they’re both accelerated by age.
Enamel thinning is the result of the outer layer of enamel wearing away. The enamel itself is the outermost layer of teeth and is colored white. It protects the internal, yellow-brown layer called dentin, but when the enamel wears thin or wears away, your teeth can look darker without the appearance of any stains. Other things that can wear down tooth enamel include aging, gum disease and acidic foods, though some people may have naturally thinner enamel that wears down quicker.
As for stains, it’s all those common culprits, such as coffee and acidic foods that can stain and wear down the enamel for a double-dose of yellowing. Smoking and the use of tobacco products can also stain and yellow the teeth, and so can certain types of antibiotics and other medications.
The Best Teeth Whitening Alternative: Snap-On Veneers
With snap-on veneers, you’ll get a natural, long-lasting alternative to teeth whitening without bothering with home remedies that are limited at best. With Shiny Smile Veneers, you can have beautiful looking teeth that look and feel the part. Smile, speak and even sing without worry — a brand new you is just three easy steps away.
Just order the veneers, make your molds at home and we’ll send you better teeth in the mail. That’s it! No visits to the dentist or messing with harmful dyes and messy products that may only turn back the clock a couple years. With Shiny Smile Veneers, you can have perfect looking teeth without all the fuss. Contact us today to get started.