If you've spent any time on the internet trying to learn how to whiten your teeth at home, you may be a little confused. After all, there are hundreds of so-called "natural" ways to bleach to lighten teeth listed online. Which are the best? We've investigated, and we cut the list down to four.
Teeth tend to darken over time. It's almost unavoidable. Even with regular brushing and flossing, it can be hard to avoid the gradual graying the teeth undergo. Likewise, if you have poor oral health habits, your teeth can rapidly turn yellow, brown or even black. However, that doesn't mean that you can't get your teeth white again by whitening them yourself.
According to information provided by the TLC Channel, teeth naturally darken with age. This is due to the slow removal of enamel from the surface of your teeth. It's a bit of a conundrum, actually - if you don't brush, your pearly whites will turn yellow, and if you brush too hard, you'll scrape away your enamel, leaving your chompers to turn yellow.
The health resource notes that teeth can also gets stained from the inside. This is a process called "intrinsic" staining. For example, silver fillings can discolor teeth in adulthood, as can the antibiotic tetracycline in childhood.
And of course, poor oral health, smoking, drug abuse, mouth breathing and dry mouth syndromes can all contribute to dental stains.
If you want to know how to whiten your teeth at home, here are a few of the most effective methods:
1. Avoid staining beverages. Coffee, soft drinks, alcohol, fruit juices and sweetened beverages can all stain your teeth. If you absolutely cannot go without them, TLC has a helpful hint: studies have shown that drinking through a straw can prevent staining by keeping beverages from touching the teeth.
2. Use a specialty whitening toothpaste. According to the Mayo Clinic, whitening toothpastes can lighten your teeth with abrasives and all-natural bleaching agents. These products typically take at least two weeks before you can see any difference in tooth color.
3. Avoid smoking. Makes sense, right?
4. Use teeth whitening kits that includes molded trays and bleaching gels. Here's how to whiten your teeth at home in days, not weeks. These products can lighten your tooth stains quickly and - perhaps more importantly - evenly. Brush-on whiteners and tooth strips are no good since they can miss the cracks between teeth or peel off, leaving large, spotty stains. By contrast, molded trays keep specialty teeth bleaching gel firmly and evenly applied, leading to brighter, whiter teeth.