5 Teeth Whitening Tips For A Bright White Smile

The best teeth whitening strategies including natural DIY methods using baking soda.
Having a bright white smile can boost your self-confidence and improve self-esteem. | ,

Having a white smile is directly connected to your image. A glowing smile helps you to gain others' trust at first, and this has an immediate impact on your interpersonal relationships. These are just a couple of reasons why people are starting to opt for teeth whitening and practicing good dental hygiene.

In this article, we bust myths surrounding white teeth and share some teeth whitening tips that will have your pearly whites looking fantastic in no time.

Why do teeth turn yellow as you age?

Teeth have a natural tendency to yellow or even turn gray as you get older, but this is all determined by genetic and environmental factors.

The type of dentition that you have and the color of your dentine are inherited genetically -the same holds true for the thickness of your enamel.

Genetics

Dentine has a yellow hue and gives teeth their color which is controlled by the thickness and quality of the enamel, which is actually transparent. The visibility of the dentine depends on the thickness of the enamel, and tooth whiteness is also affected by this factor.

With this in mind, natural white teeth are actually a myth. Healthy teeth are typically varying hues of ivory. Even so, people are obsessed with the idea of having radiantly white teeth, even though this doesn't necessarily mean that they're healthy.

Studies on tooth quality show that slightly yellow teeth are healthier and stronger than white ones. This is because, as we mentioned before, chemical treatments that modify the color of the enamel or dentine are the only way to get pure white teeth.

Environmental factors

Natural tooth color is genetically determined and can vary slightly between teeth -just like our eye color, or the shade of our skin isn't entirely uniform.

However, factors like drinking too much coffee or other highly pigmented drinks can make teeth turn an unsightly color.

Also, smoking can damage gums and stain enamel since its surface is porous and it absorbs chemicals like nicotine that come into direct contact with it. So, here you have it, just one more reason to quit!

Taking antibiotics with minocycline on a regular basis (ex: as an acne treatment) could also make teeth take on a gray hue.

Too much fluoride while teething, losing baby teeth, or when permanent adult teeth come in, could have a negative impact on the way your teeth look. This usually manifests itself in the form of white stains on the teeth because of excess fluoride consumption during childhood.

Ask your dentist how to whiten your teeth.

 

How to whiten teeth: 5 simple tips

As we've seen, tooth color is dependant on a wide variety of factors. However, thanks to advances in pharmaceuticals, dental hygiene products, and cosmetics, people can now change the color of their teeth.

Below we share the best teeth whitening tips to give you a beautiful and healthy smile. Here we take a look at natural methods and others that involve chemical products.

1. Practice good dental hygiene

Sometimes we forget all about the most important factor when it comes to having healthy white teeth: good dental hygiene. Taking care of your teeth is key if you want to get rid of food or pigment buildup that can leave enamel discolored.

Brushing your teeth after every meal, or at least three times a day is necessary to keep the bacteria and microorganisms from spreading which can damage enamel, and cause cavities and yellowing. We highly recommend using mouthwash and dental floss for better oral health and white teeth.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a chemical substance that comes from natron, a white colored mineral. It's water soluble and works to neutralize the acids that it comes into contact with. When baking soda dissolves in water, it turns into carbon dioxide.

The neutralizing effect that sodium bicarbonate has on acids means that it is capable of getting rid of all of the organic particles found in the mouth, whether this means food residue or other microorganisms. This substance breaks down everything that makes teeth yellow. To use this method, you should dissolve the baking soda in a half a teaspoon of water and brush your teeth with this solution.

In spite of this, don't forget that baking soda is acidic. Because of this, using it in excess could damage your enamel and cause serious tooth problems. Keeping this information in mind, this method should only be used once a week and not on a regular basis, just occasionally. 

3. Whitening strips

Whitening strips are another highly effective way to lighten tooth stains. They're easy to use, and you'll see almost immediate results. However, there's just one 'tiny' problem: they contain elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide (oxygenated water), a chemical substance that causes an oxidation reaction in the teeth which leaves them looking whiter.

Hydrogen peroxide increases tooth sensitivity significantly which is not only uncomfortable during the whitening treatment, but can also last for a very long time. Besides, using high concentrations of this chemical can destroy the enamel which could lead to severe consequences.

Only whitening strips containing less than 1% hydrogen peroxide are sold in Europe. For example, Oral-B recently launched its own version of this product which is now for sale on the European continent. On the other hand, in the U.S. Crest whitening strips that contain over 10% of this compound, is the most popular product.

4. Professional teeth whitening

Whitening treatments offered by dentists in their clinics also use in hydrogen peroxide in higher concentrations than can currently be bought in stores. Besides, in this case, you are supervised by a professional which makes it one of the safest options, but this also raises the cost.

However, there are natural alternatives to hydrogen peroxide treatments out there that don't damage enamel. This method uses LED lamps as a catalyst to strengthen the effects of gentler natural whitening gels.

At any rate, whitening with hydrogen peroxide is more effective, which is why it is the most popular option even though it can actually be damaging to dental health.

5. Whitening toothpaste

There are many types of whitening toothpaste on the market that promise instantly whiter teeth. However, these kinds of toothpaste don't actually whiten teeth. Instead, they contain substances that temporarily 'dye' them, making them appear white. This blue gel neutralizes the yellow appearance of the teeth.

This toothpaste is a favorite since it doesn't put dental health at risk for purely aesthetic reasons. Using this method, you can show off a white smile without any of the potential dangers. Some brands that make it are Oral-B, Colgate, and Signal. 

There are professional and DIY teeth whitening methods for all kinds of budgets.

 

Risks of at home teeth whitening

Although both at home and professional teeth whitening can cause certain side effects, some DIY kits don't contain enough whitener to actually even be effective.

Besides, if this treatment isn't done by a professional, and the mouthguard is misplaced, the chemicals could leak onto the gums or into the mouth and cause issues like sensitive teeth, irritated gums, or even blisters.

Sensitive teeth

Teeth can become sensitive after a whitening treatment. This can happen after the first or second session and tends to disappear gradually over time.

Products that contain potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride can be used to reduce sensitivity in these cases.

Gum irritation

Besides sensitivity, after this type of treatment, experiencing gum irritation is quite common. The gums coming into direct contact with this chemical product is what causes this reaction.

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