If your smile isn’t looking as shiny as it could be, you might be tempted to seek an intervention. Although your dentist and the toothbrush aisle offer dozens of whitening options, you may find some cheaper, more long-term aides at home. Don’t rush out for a professional whitening treatment without trying some at-home tips.
Brush your teeth two or three times per day. Use floss at least once per day to remove any food particles that could potentially linger and stain your teeth. At least once a day, preferably before bed–after a day of eating and drinking–dust baking soda onto to your toothbrush to brush your teeth. Scrub the surfaces of all your teeth, especially the visible surfaces of your front top and bottom teeth. Using baking soda will rub off staining food and drink particles from your teeth. Use an electric toothbrush if you have a habit of rushing through and missing some surfaces. Many electric toothbrushes come with a timer that encourages you to keep brushing long enough so that you will get to every tooth.
As you eat and drink throughout the day and introduce staining agents to your teeth, certain follow-up habits can help you remove those particles and prevent staining. Keep a glass of water at your desk or a water bottle with you wherever you go. Drink often, especially during and after a meal, to encourage saliva production. Water and saliva in your mouth will rinse away any potential stainers. A University of Cincinnati NetWellness site recommends dissolving 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. baking soda in a glass of water. You can use this mixture to clean your mouth throughout the day. Keep a bottle of it with you, and rinse a mouthful of it through your mouth, swishing it around each tooth, before spitting it out. This is convenient whether you are at work, at school, in the car or at home. You can also keep a travel toothbrush on hand for a quick scrub-down after meals.
Cut It Out
Some drinks and habits are known stainers. Tobacco in every form, both smoked and chewed, can stain your teeth. Quit this habit for a whiter smile. Red wine can also be troubling. Switch to white wine or another clear alcohol for a whiter alternative. Coffees and teas can stain your teeth. If you like the health benefits or can’t kick the caffeine habit, limit your intake to the morning hours only. Swish with water in between sips, and brush your teeth after you stop for the day.
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