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How to Whiten Your Teeth: Practical Methods and Popular Myths

If you want a whiter, brighter, Hollywood smile but you don't want to pay for professional dental treatment, what can you do? Several teeth-whitening methods enjoy wide circulation. Some of them work, and others are little more than folklore. It's important to make the right decision as certain proposed methods might damage your teeth or gums.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

 The leading cause of stained and yellowing teeth is a build-up of plaque. Plaque is a substance composed of bacteria and food waste which coats the teeth and destroys the white enamel. There's no escaping that regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing between your teeth, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash is the best way to keep your smile sparkling white. Nonetheless here are some practical methods and popular myths about teeth whitening contributed by Healthy Smiles Stuart’s Dental Office!

Ayurvedic Oil 

Ayurvedic medicine is a 3,000-year-old Indian health system. Over the last few decades, it's enjoyed increasing popularity in the western world and supports a multi-billion dollar industry manufacturing and distributing Ayurvedic preparations. Ayurvedic oil purports to "draw out" bacteria from the teeth and gums. You can try it if you like, and some people swear by it. But there's no scientific evidence to suggest it works. Whatever else it might do, it won't whiten your teeth.

Baking Soda

Brushing your teeth with baking soda is a time-honored solution for putting the shine back in your smile. It's also handy because you most likely have it in your kitchen at home. But does it work?

Research has shown that repeated use over time can help remove stains on the surface of your teeth. The best bet may be to use toothpaste which contains sodium bicarbonate rather than brushing with it straight from the pot. Baking soda has an unpleasant taste and, if you use too much,its abrasive effects could damage your tooth enamel.

An Apple a Day

Eating fruit is good for you. But all fruits are acidic, and while the malic acid in an apple may help curb bacteria, the citric acid in other fruits can damage tooth enamel. Research suggests apples and other fruit have no whitening effect on stained teeth. An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it's no substitute for a visit to the dentist.

Hydrogen Peroxide Gel

This is the key ingredient in so-called "whitening kits." You can get them over the counter at the drugstore. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent. Research suggests that regular application over two weeks can whiten teeth. If you opt for this solution, make sure the product you buy has at least a 6% hydrogen peroxide content. But remember it can also cause sore and bleeding gums in some people. It's not a substitute for good oral hygiene.

Rinsing with Cider Vinegar

Despite a body of research which shows beyond reasonable doubt that rinsing your mouth with cider vinegar has no whitening effect on teeth, the idea is very persistent in popular culture. But it's pure folklore. Vinegar is acidic and might even damage your teeth. It's one for the kitchen rather than the bathroom.

Touch-Up with Turmeric?

The bitter Indian spice adds flavor to curries and creates colorful rice dishes. It's a natural dye which can turn white cloth a shade of deep yellow. That it can buff up your teeth to a pearly shine seems absurd. And it is. Experiments show that turmeric is more likely to stain your teeth than clean them. It's another one to leave in the kitchen.

Tobacco, Wine, and Coffee

Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco will help restore the natural whiteness of your teeth. Long-term smokers and tobacco chewers, besides increased risk of cancer and heart disease, also enjoy the dubious pleasure of yellow stained teeth and skin.

Red wine is another offender. The tannins and other chemicals in wine discolor teeth. To avoid the worst effects, drink water with your wine and brush your teeth as soon as possible afterward.

Coffee is the world's favorite pick-me-up beverage. But the dark, bitter fluid will color your teeth a dirty brown. You don't have to give up coffee to keep your teeth white. As with wine, drink water afterward and brush your teeth as soon as you can.

Don't Dodge the Dentist

Whatever home remedies you try, the dentist is your true friend for keeping a mouth full of glittering pearly-whites. A professional clean and buff from the dentist is the best remedial action if you already have stained teeth. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene are the best ways to prevent your teeth from discoloration. Your teeth are worth looking after well. After all, they say everyone is beautiful when they smile.

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