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Home Whitening Options for Stained or Yellow Teeth

  • Date: 2009/03/16 (Rev. 2019/04/01)
  • Disabled World - www.disabled-world.com
  • Synopsis : A number of teeth whitening methods to use at home to get your teeth looking whiter and healthier.

Main Document

The natural color of human teeth is light grayish-yellow shades. You will find your teeth tend to darken with age and their appearance can be affected by surface stains from tobacco products and the consumption of certain foods, or drinks like coffee.

Making your teeth appear whiter in color is often as easy as visiting your dentist for a teeth whitening treatment consultation (See cosmetic dentistry below), or buying and/or creating your own homemade product. Whitening toothpastes or mouthwashes, whitening strips, pens, or trays are other ways to make your teeth whiter looking.

NOTE The majority of tooth-whitening products use various strengths, measured in percentage, of peroxide based bleaching methods. Home based products usually contain between 3% - 20% peroxide. Whereas, dental office whitening methods can contain anywhere from 15% and up to 43% peroxide (carbamide or hydrogen peroxides).

Home Teeth Whitening Remedies

These are among the cheapest - though not always the best or longest lasting - way to whiten your teeth at home.

  • Avoid foods and drinks that stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine, carrots, blueberries and other dark-colored foods. If possible, try to brush your teeth after every meal. - Ideally with an electric toothbrush. These can remove 98.2 percent of plaque, which holds stains.
  • Chewing gum: If brushing your teeth after every meal is impractical, which it is sure to be at times, then try chewing gum. Chewing gum has two beneficial actions helps to clean the teeth in a by removing the debris, and it also stimulates the production of saliva. (Drinking plenty of water also helps improve the function of the salivary glands.)
  • Use an enamel building toothpaste which can help re-mineralize your teeth, and assist with sealing micro-cracks in your teeth which pick up various food and drink colors resulting in stains such as coffee stained looking teeth.
  • Antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties found in coconut oil can help inhibit the bacteria that causes bad breath, tooth decay, and gum diseases.
  • Activated Charcoal: Another very popular at home alternative teeth whitening strategy. Warning: Use sparingly as the internal use of activated charcoal can interfere with absorption of medications and some vitamins and minerals.
  • Nail Biters: Habitual nail chewers damage more than their cuticles; they can damage their teeth, too. If you have weakened enamel, you end up with an exposed, dented, soft area in the center of the tooth.
  • Fizzy Drinks: Carbonated drinks (including the diet variety and sparkling water) can cause your teeth to look older than they really are. These drinks are so highly acidic that they can actually dissolve the upper layers of the tooth.
  • Mouth Washes: Those with antibacterial action and plaque dissolver's also help in the prevention of stains. Remember to be careful of brushing too hard as it will strip off the surface enamel, exposing the darker dentine, which is also more vulnerable to staining.
  • Drug Use: Ecstasy causes jaw clenching in users. A study found that 60% of ecstasy users examined had worn their teeth through the enamel and into the underlying dentine, compared with only 11% of non-users. As for cocaine rubbed on gums, it restricts blood flow, traumatizes the tissue and inhibits nutrition of the gums - gums keep teeth in place!
  • Orange Peel: Regularly use fresh orange peel to reduce the yellow appearance of your teeth. Simply rub your teeth with the orange peel each night, before bed.
  • Rinsing: Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after every meal if brushing or chewing gum is not an option. This is especially important if you do consume drinks that stain. The water will wash away and dilute the damage. If you can't get to a bathroom sink, swill some water around your mouth and swallow.
  • Baking Soda: Simply mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with your toothpaste, then, brush your teeth each day with the mixture.
  • Strawberries: Vitamin C in strawberries are said to help get rid of stains on your teeth. Just take a few strawberries and grind them into a paste. Use this mixture on your teeth and rub gently. (The Strawberry method has been proven ineffective).
  • Turmeric: It has been claimed that turmeric can help whiten teeth. Mix 2 parts ground turmeric with 1 part coconut oil, brush your teeth with the paste for two minutes.
  • Oil Pulling: Coconut oil has been proven effective against the streptococcus mutans bacteria that contribute to cavities and gum diseases. Simply swish oil, like sesame or coconut oil, in your mouth for around 20 minutes to help remove bacteria and plaque and from your mouth and teeth.
  • TMJ: Teeth grinding (TMJ) can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken. This is usually caused by stress, so listening to relaxation sessions can actually help keep your teeth white!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Rub your teeth with apple cider vinegar, rinse thoroughly and repeat for several days to get a sparkling white smile.
  • Fruit and Veggies: Try to eat more crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples carrots, celery, radishes, and peppers. Your teeth will benefit from the gentle rubbing actions that helps to keep the teeth clean without causing them any damage.
  • Essential Oils: Mix equal parts of organic coconut oil and baking soda with a few drops of peppermint oil, spearmint essential oil, or cinnamon bark oil to create toothpaste. Brush your teeth twice a day using the mixture.

Many people simply use a teeth whitening toothpaste or scrub their teeth using baking soda. The downside? Well, most of these just taste awful!

Closeup image of a female mouth showing a split view comparison of teeth before (left side) and after (right side) tooth whitening process.
Closeup image of a female mouth showing a split view comparison of teeth before (left side) and after (right side) tooth whitening process.

Whitening Strips

If you've already heard about this, you're not alone. These have been around for the longest time. It was pioneered by big brands such as Colgate and has been among the most widely accepted teeth whitening methods.

These strips contain a whitening substance and you place them onto your teeth using the attached adhesives for up to one hour before removing them.

While these strips are among the cheapest option, the downside is that they are not the most effective way to whiten your teeth. It will take at least a few strips to see any noticeable results.

Laser Bleaching

There is also the process of laser bleaching.

A dentist uses a laser along side a whitening gel. The gel is applied to the teeth and a laser light is used to activate the crystals to absorb the energy from the light and penetrate the teeth enamel to increase the lightening effect on the teeth.

This is one of the most expensive remedies, but is usually the quickest.

Whitening Gels

These have been popular since the last couple of years. These gels work by fitting a teeth tray filled with whitening gel onto your teeth.

Most people will find these uncomfortable as you have to wear them for a few hours before you see any results. Whitening gels used to be the favored teeth whitening product...until the revolutionary and far more effective whitening swabs come onto the market.

Teeth Whitening Trays

A home whitening procedure accomplished by using a special mouth tray you wear at night. As the tray-based whitening method is so simple to use, safe, and comparatively lower costing, more dentists use a tray-based approach with their patients than any other whitening method.

You can usually find these teeth bleaching trays at any drugstore however, store purchased bleaching kits do not use a custom teeth fitting tray which may not contact your teeth evenly. And, they often do not have the same concentration of bleaching agent. The professional whitening trays provided by your dentist are custom designed to mold to your teeth and mouth shape. Dentist supervision when using a teeth whitening tray is also advised.

Whitening Rinses

Among the newest whitening products available are whitening rinses.

Like most mouthwashes, they freshen breath and help reduce dental plaque and gum disease. But these products also include ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide in some, which whiten teeth. Manufacturers say it may take 12 weeks to see results.

You just swish them around in your mouth for 60 seconds twice a day before brushing your teeth.

Whitening Swabs

These do-it-yourself whitening kits are becoming very popular, simply because they are highly affordable and produce lasting results. Each of these handy kits comes packed with a six-day supply of disposable application swabs containing liquid formula and a separate container of whitening powder. They are designed to use with ease and best suited for those who want a fuss-free way to whiten their teeth.

Many users have testified that these are among the best teeth whitening products they have used. These disposable applicator swabs contain a patented liquid formula combined with a special whitening powder. They are easy to apply at home in just minutes and brighten your teeth in just a few days. Home teeth whitening kits are among the most affordable products that actually produce long-lasting results.

Cosmetic Dentistry

This is certainly one of the proven ways to whiten your teeth professionally, however, clinics that specialize in cosmetic dentistry often charge anywhere between $500 to $800 for the service. Plus, multiple visits are often required, which means you need to take time off from work or home to make the trips.

Teeth Bleaching by Dentists:

  • Vital Bleaching - Performed on "living" teeth and used to whiten your teeth if they have become stained by food, drinks, or tobacco products, or if they have become naturally darker with age.
  • Non-vital Bleaching - This is bleaching done on teeth that are no longer "alive." If your tooth has changed color, for example from a root canal procedure, non-vital bleaching can be used to lighten your tooth from the inside out.

Zoom! - Using a procedure such as the Zoom! In-Office Whitening procedure, which is safe, effective and very fast, a dentist can usually get your teeth much whiter in around an hour.

Warning on Using Fruits and Juices to Whiten Teeth

Lemon juice is a natural bleach and whitener, and a very good general purpose stain-remover. However it should never be used on teeth as the high Vitamin C content will strip the teeth of calcium and damage the tooth enamel faster than anything else. In fact avoid using any acids, even it is from relatively harmless ingredients such as strawberry's or other fruit. You do not know what quantity of acid you are applying, so it is difficult to calculate a safe level of usage. If you must use these methods, then rinse the mouth thoroughly with water, then brush with a fluoride toothpaste about 20 minutes later, when the enamel has hardened.

There are many ways to help you get a brighter whiter smile. Use your head and make sure you are not actually doing more harm than good. Look after your teeth in the traditional sense, with regular brushing and avoiding sweet, acidic foods, and staining foods. If you have more serious stains, then visit a dentist, or buy products from a reputable dealer. Be very careful when using the common household remedies, such as hydrogen peroxide, acids, baking soda and salt. They could cause you more harm than good in the long term.

NOTE: Teeth whitening systems do not lighten porcelain crowns or fillings. You may need to get these replaced if they are prominent.

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