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Natural Ways to Whiten Your Smile

December 17, 2013

“A smile can brighten one’s day.”

Teeth Whitening: Natural Remedies and Professional Services

While a smile can literally light up one’s face, it’s the teeth that are doing all of the work. This is why there are many people who want to whiten their teeth or explore cosmetic dentistry to make their teeth look bigger and brighter. There are natural ways to whiten one’s teeth, and prevention of tooth decay is the best way. Tooth decay is more dependent on one’s food choices than how many times one brushes everyday, so eating right has a big impact on our teeth.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking is extremely hazardous not only to your teeth but also your overall health. It gives you bad breath and tar deposits into ridges in your teeth that can permanently stain your teeth a yellowish color. It decreases saliva production, converting your mouth into a breeding ground for all bacteria and killing natural defenses of the nose and mouth.

Stay Clear of Foods that are Bad for Your Teeth

Acid is the worst enemy of the teeth. It erodes enamel, letting bacteria to enter, plaque to form and essential decay. Citrus juices like grapefruit and lemon juice are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time. In a 2008 study that involved soaking pulled teeth in various citrus juices, those two caused the most damage. Orange juice caused the least. Chewy and hard candies are acid formers too. Sugar combined with bacteria results in acid and dissolves the protective layer of teeth and eventually causes cavities.

As a rule of thumb, any liquid that can stain a white tablecloth can stain your teeth. Soda and sports drinks have long been established to be harmful to teeth. Even sugar-free diet sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi—which both contain citric and phosphoric acid—can erode enamel if consumed in large doses. Tannins found in wine and some tea drinks have very high doses of acid that not only stain teeth but erode teeth enamel as well.

Note that the foods mentioned above are bad for the teeth when taken in excessive amounts. Moderation is still the key

Eat Foods that are Good for Your Teeth

Saliva is the body’s way of washing away acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.  It also bathes the teeth in calcium and phosphate that are bone-strengthening minerals. Chewing increases saliva production. So foods that encourage chewing like sugarless gum and high fiber foods like vegetables can be helpful to keep your teeth clean of bacteria.

Milk and other dairy products are the primary dietary source of calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth. Calcium is the key ingredient in a mineral, known as hydroxyapatite that strengthens tooth enamel as well as bones.

According to the American Dental Association, the phosphorus in steak protects tooth enamel and bone. "Plus, the constant chewing that comes with red meat also keeps the mouth and gums exercising to keep them strong," says Irwin Smigel, D.D.S., P.C., founder and president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics and creator of the Supersmile whitening system. In fact, a 2013 German study suggests that the more you chew, the stronger and cleaner your teeth.

Dark chocolate contains theobromine that can harden tooth enamel. Look for bars that contain at least 70 percent cacao to boost your tannins while keeping sugar to a minimum.

Strawberries contain a natural enamel whitener called malic acid. People who practice holistic treatments use these berries to make their own DIY home teeth whitening treatment: Crush a strawberry to a pulp, mix it with baking soda, and spread it on your teeth using a soft toothbrush. Five minutes later, brush it off, rinse and voila: a whiter smile. (Be sure to floss, though, as tiny strawberry seeds can easily get trapped between your teeth.

Drink lots of water

Water, like saliva, helps wash sugars and acid off teeth. It also contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion.

Other Natural Methods

Coconut oil pulling and making your own teeth whitening toothpaste can also help whiten your teeth. Combine 1/2 tsp baking soda with ½ tsp table salt to make a teeth cleanser. Add one drop of breath-freshening peppermint essential oil to the mixture. Wet your toothbrush, dip it into the mixture and brush. The particles in the baking soda polish the surface of your teeth, while a chemical reaction with the water lightens stains. To avoid damaging your enamel, don’t use this method more than once a week.

Professional Whitening Services at Indianapolis Dentistry

When these things aren't enough, you may still need professional whitening, which Indianapolis Dentistry can do for you. His practice and office can provide the complete variety of services dentistry has to offer to improve your smile, whether it be simple whitening, repair of a single front tooth, to veneers of the entire smile for maximum smile beautification. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Association for Functional Orthodontics. Schedule an appointment by calling 317-882-0228 today.