How to whiten your teeth naturally: 6 home remedies
While tooth-whitening kits are readily available at most pharmacies, many natural remedies can help remove stains and protect tooth enamel.
Why teeth turn yellow
Teeth turn yellow for two reasons, both of which tend to accelerate with age:
The outer layer of teeth consists of enamel, which is colored almost white and protects the deeper tooth structure. Beneath the enamel is a layer of tissue called dentin, which is yellow-brown. When the enamel layer thins or wears away, the teeth begin to look darker.
Acidic foods, gum disease, and aging can wear down tooth enamel. Some people also have enamel that is naturally thinner.
Specific foods and beverages, such as coffee, can stain the teeth. Some foods that stain the teeth may also wear down enamel, increasing the yellowing.
Other sources of stains include smoking and tobacco products and certain types of antibiotics.
Papain and bromelain, which are enzymes that occur in papayas and pineapples respectively, may both help to whiten teeth.
A 2012 study found preliminary evidence that solutions containing these ingredients could offer modest whitening effects. However, the authors of the study caution that more research is necessary to determine whether or not these enzymes are effective.
6. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is the most important thing that a person can do to reduce tooth yellowing.
Regular brushing and flossing protects the enamel, prevents gum decay, and removes stains.
Good oral hygiene includes:
- Brushing the teeth at least twice a day. A person should be sure to also clean around the gums and the backs of the teeth.
- Using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can fight and even reverse tooth decay. Though some people oppose using fluoride, dentists believe that fluoride is safe and beneficial for teeth.
- Flossing to remove plaque between the teeth.
Methods that do not work
Natural teeth-whitening strategies that may harm the teeth include using:
- apple cider vinegar
- activated charcoal
Few people have naturally white teeth, as teeth tend to yellow with age. However, maintaining excellent oral hygiene and having regular dental checkups can help to keep teeth bright.
Yellow teeth are not usually the sign of a health problem, but a dentist can check for enamel loss and tooth decay.
Natural remedies can help people whiten their teeth at home. A dentist can also offer professional teeth-whitening.
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