One of the first things that other people notice about you is your smile, so it’s important to have your teeth looking as pristine as possible. From teenagers to professional adults, everyone would like their smile to be whiter.
Tooth stains can accumulate over time, and nobody likes seeing dingy yellow stains ruin their smile. While this is a normal part of ageing, many food and beverages that are common are culprits of damaging the colour of your teeth.
1. Over-the-counter gels
The first method to become popular for the purpose of brightening your smile are over-the-counter gels. They are also known as the classic system of ‘boil and bite‘, and involves heating up a tray before filling it with gel and placing the tray form inside of your mouth. This is a slower method to achieving results as you may need to wait a few weeks.
2. Whitening strips
Fortunately, ever since researchers were able to develop a polyethylene strip that was infused with hydrogen peroxide that can be placed right on your teeth, whitening strips are also something that you can get from convenience stores. If you’ve ever seen these on the shelf, you have probably noticed that different levels are offered usually at different prices. The different levels of these refer to the amount of hydrogen peroxide within the gel as well as the thickness and shape of the strip itself and any modifications it may have.
3. Dental office whitening
One of the safest methods of whitening your teeth is to get it done professionally at an office. This procedure typically involves the application of a specialised bleaching agent directly to your teeth, but not on your gums at all.The bleaching agent is then activated through the use of a special laser while you just sit back and relax in a dental chair.
This will give you more visible results compared to an at-home treatment; this is why many people prefer this method to get their teeth back to their original whiteness. A single in-chair treatment can lighten your teeth anywhere from 5 to 8 shades, which is a lot more of a difference than many at-home treatments can offer.
4. Avoid the culprits
This is a more passive approach, but it will definitely make a difference over time. Here are the most common food and drink items that are a perfect smile’s worst nightmare:
- Soy sauce – Sorry sushi lovers, soy sauce is a major stain offender. Casually start to wean yourself off of your soy sauce use, and your teeth will thank you.
- Coffee – Black coffee has some strong staining powers. Fortunately, adding a bit of milk will help lighten the staining side effects of this coveted beverage.
- Pickles – The acidity of pickles makes them very damaging to your enamel, so consider switching these pickles on your sandwich from time to time.
- Dark soda – Soda, much to our dismay, is incredibly bad for your enamel due to sugar, citric acid and phosphoric acid. Lighter coloured soda is slightly better for the colour of your teeth, but soda in general is just very bad.
- Berries – The bright colour of berries that everybody loves looking at is actually full of enamel-staining pigment. What’s worse, the many little seeds that are a part of these have the uncanny ability to get stuck in your teeth or gums and have been known to cause infections.
While these snacks are the best tasting antioxidants out there, we still recommend that you brush and floss thoroughly after eating them.
How fast are the results?
The speed of which you see results in your smile can vary depending on the method that you go with. Like mentioned above, the fastest results are typically from professional procedures, although at-home options can give you slow and steady results.
Jason Smith did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.