Discover At-Home Treatments That May Help Reduce Stains on Your Teeth
We are continuously exposing our smiles to different foods or drinks that can cause stains and yellowing to develop. Certain habits or exposure to things like cigarette smoke can cause your teeth to discolor. With many patients, this can lead to embarrassment or self-consciousness about your teeth or smile. Typically, you can call up your dentist and schedule a whitening treatment.
Exploring Professional Whitening Treatments
These professional, in-office procedures typically last up to one year, although that can be longer depending on the strength of treatment. For some patients, however, they find that their teeth start yellowing or discoloration before then. Others find they cannot keep up with regular whitening treatments due to affordability, scheduling, or their oral health.
Thankfully, alternatives exist that can help. Take-home treatments have tons of different varieties. For example, you can pick up a kit of GLO™ Science Teeth Whitening Solution at our North Palm Beach Facility that you can apply in the comfort of your own home. However, these often take much longer to see real results. You can also run the risk of improperly using the product without professional assistance.
Another solution that many patients consider is natural treatments. These procedures don’t use any harmful chemicals or solutions so you can safely administer them yourself. Natural whitening solutions are also a great way to maintain white teeth in-between professional treatments or as a long-term preventative measure.
What Causes Teeth Discoloration and Yellowing?
As mentioned above, many different things that we consume in our everyday lives can cause discoloration. Certain foods and beverages can cause your enamel to dull and be more susceptible to stains. Sugary drinks and starchy foods, for example, can eat away at the protective outer layer of your teeth. In addition to yellow teeth, this can also put you at risk for tooth decay.
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Here are some other common culprits of yellowing teeth:
- Foods with colorants, like those that stain your tongue. They have the potential to discolor your teeth and cause them to lose their shine over time.
- Tobacco – be it smoked, chewed, or some other form – can cause discoloration when the nicotine is exposed to oxygen. Plus, you are at risk of many other health issues!
- Forgetting to brush or floss means plaque buildup forms on your teeth, which eventually develops into tartar. Tartar can give your teeth and gums a yellow or brownish tint, not to mention a slew of other harmful oral conditions.
- Loss of tooth enamel can lead to the visibility of the yellow-tinted dentin underneath, which you cannot whiten.
For some patients, yellow teeth can signify a more serious dental or health condition that should be addressed by a dental or medical professional. Talk to your dentist to find out if a basic whitening could be the solution or if more drastic treatment is necessary.
How Natural Treatments Can Be Beneficial
If your tooth discoloration is due to plaque build-up, drinks like coffee or red wine, or from bad habits like smoking, consider a natural home remedy. Look over the following options if you are looking for a solution that is affordable, safe, and proven to have whitening properties.
1. Oil Pulling
This ancient Indian method is over 3,000 years old, and it is a popular at-home option for teeth whitening. You can even find studies surrounding the health benefits behind oil pulling and various other Ayurvedic western medicine techniques. It’s also incredibly simple and doesn’t require anything that you don’t already have in your kitchen!
Oil pulling involves merely swishing oil in your mouth and through your teeth for 15 – 20 minutes to eliminate bacteria. In turn, this helps to reduce plaque buildup, tooth decay, and other symptoms that can turn your teeth yellow. Traditionally, Indians utilized sunflower or sesame oil, but many patients opt for coconut oil as it has other health properties (and a pleasant taste!).
2. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
There are two ways to use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide as a tooth whitening solution. The first is to make DIY toothpaste by mixing a small amount of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to create a thick mixture. Apply this to your teeth using your toothbrush and brush as usual. The baking soda acts as a gentle scrubbing agent, plus it has whitening properties. In fact, baking soda & hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in many kinds of toothpaste.
Another option is dilute to use the hydrogen peroxide as a sort-of mouthwash! Create a DIY toothpaste with equal parts baking soda and water. Brush and then follow with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution! (To achieve this, mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of water.) Want to learn more about how this works? Check out this laboratory study of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and peroxide dentifrice (toothpaste) treatments!
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is revered in the holistic health community (and chefs around the world) thanks to its antibacterial abilities. Not only does it tackle yellowing at the source by reducing harmful bacteria present in the mouth. It also has bleaching effects, which may explain why it is a favorite natural cleaning product, as well!
Remember, apple cider vinegar is an acid, which means it does have the potential to damage your enamel if used too often. Do an ACV rinse at least 30 minutes after you eat no more than once or twice a week. Dilute one tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water and swish it through your teeth and around your gums for two minutes. Be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water afterward.
4. Turmeric and Activated Charcoal
Technically, these are two different options. However, it is a similar concept to why it works for both! Additionally, both turmeric and activated charcoal are well-known for their staining abilities. That is to say, everything that comes into close contact with it will be stained either yellow or black, respectively. When it comes to whitening teeth, however, these two powders have shown some remarkable results.
Similar to baking soda, you can make a paste out of these powders. Either add water to a small portion of turmeric or activated charcoal and then apply to your brush, or dab a wet toothbrush in the powder and brush as usual. You’ll want to use a different toothbrush than your everyday one, as you’ll likely stain the bristles with either one of these solutions.
Find a Solution That Works For You
Have you tried any of the above methods or do you have a home whitening treatment that works for you? Dr. Acosta encourages patients to stay on top of their oral health care regimen and is available to help with any questions you may have regarding natural home remedies. Call us today at 561-622-0301.