Who doesn’t love that bright smile? With tonnes of selfies being posted every day, that smile is there for everyone to see all the time 🙂 But some of us keep our mouth shut in those selfies because of being very conscious about how our teeth look when we smile. Why let small problems like the discolouration or yellowing of teeth stay there at all and dampen our smiles?
No wonder we have toothpaste brands and chewing gums and dentists all claiming whitening our teeth in a quick fix. But why face the side effects from the harsh and strong chemicals used in these solutions? Going for the natural teeth whitening methods instead has proven to be more ever-lasting, effective and tooth-friendly!
Why do Your Teeth Become Yellow or Discoloured?
It is important to first understand the anatomy of a tooth first. Our teeth are the hardest part of our body. The outer part of a tooth is called enamel. It is made of calcium phosphate and white in colour. Did you know that Enamel is the second hardest compound in the world, right after diamonds? Below the outermost layer of Enamel, is a layer called Dentin. This is a yellowish/ light brown coloured layer is a hard tissue and consists of microscopic tubes. Below the Dentin is the Pulp, the most sensitive part of a tooth. Blood vessels and nerves run through it and it is the living part of the tooth. This is surrounded by gums and bones to hold the structure. Understanding the structure gives us a better idea of why teeth discolour over time. Let’s now look at some of the reasons why teeth become yellow or discoloured.
1. Formation of Tartar
Dental plaque is a mass of bacteria, that settles and forms around the tooth. It is a colourless deposit, but over time, forms a yellowish substance called Tartar if not removed regularly. Not only does this make your teeth yellow but also causes tooth decay.
2. Thinning of the Enamel Layer
Sometimes the yellow Dentin, below the Enamel layer starts showing up as the latter layer starts thinning. This happens due to age and genetic factors and is very common.
3. Drinking Coffee/Tea
Polyphenols in coffee are known to bind with the teeth and stain enamel over time. But what’s even more shocking is that tea leaves behind a stronger stain because of the higher levels of tannin in it!
4. Dry mouth
The lubrication aka saliva in the mouth is often taken granted for. Lack or inadequacy of saliva leads to a weaker protection of your teeth.
Tooth discolouration due to smoking cigarettes leads to a detrimental decrease in the social appearance of a chain smoker. This is one of the downfalls of smoking, among an ocean of other serious issues like tooth loss or even oral cancer.
6. Look Out for What You are Eating
Frequent intake of processed food with high levels of acid content leads to dental corrosion and discolouration of teeth. Lack of a balanced and healthy diet leads to a brittle tooth, cavities and stained teeth due to lack of vitamins, minerals or proteins.
Home remedies for Teeth Whitening
Opting for natural and traditional teeth whitening tips and methods will lead you to more healthier teeth in the long run without any side effects. Here is a list of proven and effective methods on how to whiten teeth at home.
1. Brush with Baking Soda
Baking Soda is an abrasive substance that helps clean the teeth and remove stains in the process. It also has natural whitening qualities. Baking soda has alkaline properties that balance the corrosive and acidic levels in the mouth. It is a slow process, that needs patience, but you’ll definitely see a difference over time and regular usage.
Check here to know more about the other uses of baking soda for various purposes.
2. Mashed Strawberries
Berries are known to have malic acid that has astringent properties that help to remove the surface discolouration of the teeth. This method works best when used along with baking soda. To do this, mash the strawberries to a pulp and mix with baking soda to form a nice blend. Rub this to your teeth and leave for 5 minutes and then proceed to brush your teeth. However, it is best to do this once a week at the maximum as acid content in strawberries are known to damage enamel over a long period.
3. Oil Pulling
Oil Pulling refers to gargling and swishing of oil through your teeth. It is an age-old traditional practice which has been proven to be very effective over time. It helps with curing boils, reducing bacteria in the mouth, general oral hygiene and teeth whitening. To try this method, rinse your mouth with oil for a minute and then spit it out. You can use sesame oil, sunflower oil or coconut oil for this exercise. This is also known to remove bad breath and keep your mouth fresh.
Activated charcoal is a very well-known method to undo discolorisation of teeth. Because of its large amount of pores, it is it is known to absorb toxins and bacteria and removing them from your mouth leaving you with a wider and whiter smile!
5. Turmeric Powder
An age-old Indian traditional agent, turmeric powder is very well known for its disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties. This bright yellow colored spice is known for removing stains and whiten the teeth considerably. Remember to rinse your mouth thoroughly after a round of turmeric application on your teeth.
6. Rubbing Lemon
Not only does lemon contain antibacterial properties that cleanse the mouth and stimulate bile production, but it also contains citric acid that can work as a cleaning agent and remove dental plaque deposited on teeth, preventing the formation of tartar. However, it must also be noted it should be used with caution as citric acid is also known to weaken enamel if used for a long period.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is another such remedy that is effective against tooth-decaying and tartar-forming bacteria. For concentrated and stubborn stains, use apple cider vinegar directly and then rinse it off with water. For a milder mouthwash, dilute it and use it. As with strawberries, it is important to not use this too often, as it can make the enamel brittle.
8. Fruit Peels
The white part of the inside of orange peels contain d-limonene and Banana peels are known to contain traces of magnesium, manganese and potassium can help remove tough stains from the teeth and whiten them naturally. To do this, take either of the peels and rub the inside part of the peel on your teeth in a gentle circular motion. After finishing, let it sit for 2-3 minutes and brush normally. It is also suggested to floss too as tiny parts of peels might get stuck in between the teeth. You should do this regularly for 2 weeks before the results start showing.
9. Homemade Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
One other way to whiten teeth is to go for homemade teeth whitening toothpaste. And another added benefit of using homemade toothpaste is that your kids are protected from the harmful chemicals in commercial toothpaste. Here’s how you can do it yourself.
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons for bentonite clay
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 1 spoon activated charcoal
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- Take the bentonite clay, sea salt, ground cloves and coconut oil in a glass container and mix them with a wooden spoon and mix well.
- To this add activated charcoal and the essential and mix again.
- Always store this in a glass container and use as a normal toothpaste to brush your teeth.
Other ways you can care for your teeth and Prevent Discolouration
Previously, we dealt extensively for mitigation of yellowish teeth. Now, let’s look into ways you can prevent discolouration altogether!
1. Make Dietary Changes Immediately
Eating a balanced diet brings about a very impactful upgrade in anyone’s life- health wise. It also helps teeth to remain fresh and white!
2. Brushing and Flossing
Brushing your teeth twice a day systematically and flossing before bed is the best way to make sure your teeth remain healthy and shining.
3. Stop smoking
At the end of the day, tobacco does more harm than any good and it is advisable to quit altogether, for a healthier lifestyle that includes perfect teeth!
4. Chewing Neem Sticks
Neem has a bunch of medicinal properties and helps keep the teeth white and strong in the long run.
5. Hydrate yourself
To prevent a lack of saliva and dryness in the mouth, it is important to keep yourself well hydrated at all times.
6. Opt for a Natural Toothpaste
Most of the toothpaste you find in stores are filled with chemicals that do more harm to teeth than good over a long period of time. To avoid this, you can opt for a natural toothpaste that does not contain these chemicals and keeps your teeth white over a long period of time.
In extreme cases with very high discolouration, it is advisable to take it to the professionals and let them help you through it. But if you are looking to brighten your smile and highlight your pearly whites, the above methods will work like a charm. Patience is your mantra when you resort to natural ways of whitening teeth. Systematic and relentless efforts will eventually pay off. It’s time to flaunt the perfect wide, selfie smile!