Few body parts say more about you than your teeth. Several studies confirm that straight, white teeth are
among the most attractive features, and many scientists believe our emphasis on a high-quality smile is due to the information contained in our chompers. Pearly white teeth are indicators of good health and high status, so people are naturally drawn to those with gleaming smiles. Conversely, those with stained teeth tend to make poor first impressions, putting them at a disadvantage in most social encounters.
Fortunately, it is possible to engineer your own luminous smile at home with a handful of natural methods. Here’s why your teeth might not be their brightest and what you can do about it.
Alternative Causes of Stained Teeth
Before you begin experimenting with household remedies, you might benefit from learning exactly why your teeth have developed an off-hue. While food is the most popular culprit of stained teeth ? most people blame coffee, tea, and wine for their colorful smiles ? there are a handful of less-expected and more-likely reasons your teeth aren’t gleaming white. For example:
- You are ill. Some diseases cause tooth enamel to decay quicker or dentin (the underlying material) to darken, while others have treatments that discolor smiles. You should consult your doctor for an appropriate treatment that preserves your pearly whites.
- You smoke. Tobacco has a number of detrimental health effects, including unnatural wear and tear on the teeth. You should switch to non-staining nicotine products, like smokeless e-cigarettes, to keep your mouth looking fresh.
- You have a genetic proclivity. Some people simply inherit enamel and dentin of a different hue. Fortunately, if all of your family suffers from less-than-shining smiles, you can still enjoy the benefits of the following natural tooth-whiteners.
The most popular home stain remover by far, baking soda is now a common ingredient in most toothpastes. For extra whitening effects, you should apply baking soda with lemon juice for a minute once per week ? any more frequently, and you could do permanent damage to your enamel. You should begin seeing a whiter smile after a few applications.
This common anti-septic also has a mild bleaching property that can help with colored choppers. After procuring food-grade hydrogen peroxide, you can swish with a small sip of the liquid for a few seconds to clean your mouth and whiten your teeth. However, you should be careful not to overuse hydrogen peroxide, as the chemical can inflame the gums, which produces an ugly smile despite your new pearly whites.
It may sound unbelievable that something so black can produce sparkling white teeth, but charcoal is actually exceptionally effective at removing yellow stains. Mixing activated charcoal with your regular toothpaste, you can create an extra-powerful whitening solution. Alternatively, you can use the ashes of burnt bread or burnt rosemary to scrub your smile.
Crunchy Fruits and Veggies
The saying should go: “An apple a day keeps the dentist away.” Apples, celery, carrots, and other crunchy fruits and vegetables act like natural toothbrushes, scouring your teeth of built-up food and bacteria and leaving your mouth clean and fresh. Plus, the acids in the fruits and veggies have a mild whitening effect, making them especially useful in keeping you healthy, hygienic, and handsome.
Oil pulling is an ancient Indian technique much like swishing with mouthwash. For 15 to 20 minutes, you should swish, suck, and pull a tablespoon of olive oil around your mouth and through your teeth, and when time is up, you must spit out everything. Purportedly, this process draws out toxins from your saliva and blood ? but in truth, it does work to strengthen your jaw, prevent bad breath, moisturize the mouth and throat, and reduce tooth decay, giving you a whiter, brighter smile.
Holy basil (also called tulsi) is more than a tooth-whitener ? it is an oral health necessity. The herb has been found to thwart a number of devastating oral problems, including pyorrhea, an advanced periodontal disease. A paste of mustard oil and holy basil leaves will brighten your smile, but adding dried holy basil to your regular toothpaste might provide extra cleaning and whitening power.
Though this herb hasn’t caught on in Western cooking, margosa (also called neem) is common all over the Indian subcontinent. Long used as a healing herb for its astringent, anti-septic qualities, margosa is also good at reducing teeth stains. Plenty of Indians simply chew on margosa twigs, but mixing crushed margosa or margosa oil with your regular toothpaste will also have a whitening effect.