You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! Studies conducted by dating and corporate-recruitment sites
show that the first things someone notices about you are your smile and your teeth. So your mom and dentist weren’t that far off the mark – all that brushing and flossing is super-important!
Your smile says it all. People with confident bright smiles are those who know for sure that their teeth are healthy, clean and white and if you’re embarrassed about your teeth, you’re certainly not going to put them on show.
So get your pearlies shining with these simple tips!
1. Baking Soda Bonanza
Everyday ingredients like baking soda found in your kitchen cupboard are effective home-made teeth-whitening agents. Combine it with enough water to make a watery paste and gently rub your teeth. Instant shine! The abrasive, gritty action of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) balances the pH levels in your mouth and neutralizes harmful acids. This helps to improve over-all oral health and keeps your breath fresh. Ensure that you don’t over-use this remedy as it can wear away tooth-enamel with prolonged rubbing.
2. Throw Away Old Toothbrushes
Stop using that ancient, cotton-woolly toothbrush. Most of us tend to forget that the role of the toothbrush is equally if not more important than the toothpaste we use. Dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months, or as soon as you find the bristles worn down, bent and softened. Old toothbrushes are ineffective and they’re no longer able to clean your teeth, remove food-particles from between the teeth or massage the gums as they should when they’re new.
3. Brush Your Tongue
Often, we’re so focused on getting our teeth brushed and flossed properly that we forget about cleaning the tongue. Tongue cleaning is not just to prevent bad breath, but brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth removes bacteria which cause tooth discoloration. Use a soft toothbrush and apply it in long strokes along the length of your tongue and don’t forget to brush along the sides too. Rinse your brush after each stroke to prevent redistributing the bacteria.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Looking for a simple, organic and eco-friendly way to brighten your smile? Apple cider vinegar is your best bet. Well known for its role in weight-loss and while it may not give instant and brilliant results as chemical whitening agents, it provides extra benefits like keeping your oral environment healthy and fresh. Take two parts water to one part vinegar and swish around in your mouth for a few minutes after your regular brushing routine and see the amazing results!
5. Crunch on Raw Fruits and Veggies
Get your fruits and veggies to do double duty! They’re great for your health, and keep your hair and skin healthy and fresh. Plus as you chew fresh, raw apples, pears, carrots, cauliflower, and other crunchy, crisp fruits and vegetables, your teeth get an automatic cleaning. Biting down on these fruits and vegetables scrubs out bacteria and accumulated food-particles from hard-to-access places between your teeth. This also helps to remove stains and prevents plaque build-up that could lead to discoloration.
6. Rinse after eating Citrus Fruits
Oranges and other citrus fruits are a great source of Vitamin C which provides amazing health benefits. But they’re also highly acidic, containing a good amount of ascorbic acid which can damage your tooth enamel if it’s left to accumulate in your mouth. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to staining and discoloration. Make it a point to rinse with water immediately after you eat oranges, limes/lemons and their juices to remove acids and prevent the damage they cause.
7. Go For Gel Trays and Not Strips
We’ve all seen ads promoting the amazing power of whitening strips, with teeth emerging brilliantly shining as quickly as three days after use. They’re easy to use and affordable. However, they’re not as effective as they’re made out to be. Select whitening trays instead. They help to distribute the whitening paste more evenly especially along inaccessible areas like the gum-line, where most discoloration appears. Teeth-whitening strips are only good for a quick, temporary fix, if your problem is not severe.
8. Activated Charcoal
Traditionally used in many Eastern cultures, activated charcoal powder (charcoal that has been heated/treated to increase absorptive power) whitens your teeth effectively and naturally. It has the capacity to trap toxins/chemicals. It’s an excellent stain remover, and can attack stubborn stains like tea, coffee and tobacco discoloration. Activated charcoal restores the pH balance in your mouth, prevents growth of bacteria, keeps your breath fresh and decreases risks of decay/gum-disease. Dip your toothbrush in the powder and brush as usual.
9. Ditch Those Energy Drinks
Coffee, tea, red wine, colas and sodas can play havoc with your teeth. Wine and sodas have acids that could wear down tooth-enamel, while tea/coffee stain your teeth. But another enemy of pearly whites is the pick-me-up energy drink that you grab when you’re tired. They’re full of tooth-destroying acids and very high in sugar content, both sworn enemies of healthy teeth. If you really love them and need them, use a straw while drinking energy drinks. Think and drink!
10. Stay Away From Dark Foods
Foods with added coloring or naturally dark hues, like marinara sauce, jellies, soy sauce, blueberries, chocolates, etc can stain your teeth, especially when the enamel is weak or has been worn down. Coffee, sports drinks, tomato sauce and berries are other culprits that leave hard-to-remove and ugly stains on your teeth. Green tea has great health benefits but it can leave gray stains, while black tea makes teeth yellow. Adding milk helps neutralize the staining power of tea and coffee.
11. Hot Straw Strategy
They take getting used to, but hot straws protect your teeth much more than regular plastic ones. Hot straws are used typically with hot tea/coffee to go. They help to take the beverage safely past your teeth, straight into your mouth. Coffee and tea cause stains because of their tannin content and when they’re hot, it seals-in the stain. Hot straws are a healthier option because they don’t leach chemicals into your drinks when you plunge them into hot drinks.
12. Coconut Oil
The wonders of coconut oil are being discovered in the West! It’s a great teeth-whitening agent, has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties, corrects the pH balance in the mouth and has healing properties too. Used in a treatment called oil-pulling, coconut oil is an effective, natural and healthy option for maintaining oral health. Swish a teaspoon full of coconut oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. It helps to flush out bacteria and accumulated food-particles, keeping your teeth gleaming!
13. Optical Illusions!
Girls, wear dark colored clothes closer to the top of your body. Unless you have a million-dollar smile, avoid warm shades like yellows, browns or orange. They make your teeth appear discolored and highlight yellow shades in them. And pink lipstick! Or pink-based lip colors with shades of blue/mauve or fuchsia. If you love reds, pick a darker shade of blue-toned red if you want to highlight your teeth. Men, you’ll have to make do with bright tees and shirts!
14. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental treatment used for general oral health. It draws out harmful toxins from the body. It also helps remove stains and bacteria from the mouth. Take a tablespoon of fresh oil like coconut/gingelly oil and swish it round in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Spit out into the trash can preferably and not your sink, since oil can clog your drains. Wash your mouth out with warm salt water, then brush/floss as usual.
15. Don’t Over-use Baking Soda
Though baking soda paste certainly helps to whiten your teeth and keep the mouth fresh and healthy, over use of sodium bicarbonate can damage the tooth enamel. It may wear off layers of enamel, leaving the teeth vulnerable to staining and decay. Hence, though baking soda is a great pH balancing agent and helps to maintain oral health, use it in moderation. It helps remove surface stains, but you need more effective, specially-formulated dental-whitening products to clean the teeth properly.
Find yourself concealing your teeth when you smile or get a picture taken? You definitely need to analyze the problem! Are your teeth stained/discolored, yellow-brown, unhealthy-looking? They convey a message to people when you meet them for the first time – that you’re careless about health and cleanliness. Bright, white and healthy-looking teeth signal that you’re a healthy, disease-free and hygienic person. So use some of these simple home remedies and tricks to keep your smile sparkling, happy and bright, just like yourself! And in no time, you’ll find that your social life improves and you get a boost of confidence and self-esteem too.