In one of our recent articles, we suggested 7 Cosmetic Dental Treatments to Wish for this Christmas. One of our top suggestions is cosmetic teeth whitening, but what if professional whitening isn’t in the budget this year? Even if COVID-19 took a hit to your finances this past year, there are still ways to get a brighter smile in 2021. Today we’ll discuss way 7 ways to brighten your teeth from home.
1. Be Wary of the Hottest trends
While we can certainly appreciate a good DIY or “organic” approach, we’re still hesitant about some of the latest trends we’re seeing in teeth whitening. We’re specifically cautious about charcoal teeth whitening. Perhaps you’ve seen videos of people brushing their teeth with a charcoal-derived substance (BLACK) on their teeth and thought you’d give it a try yourself?
Sure, we’ve seen some pretty impressive results, but we’d also like to warn you of the risks. Charcoal teeth whitening has the potential to cause long-term damage to your enamel and erode your teeth, especially if you do it often. There are much healthier ways to brighten your teeth, so avoid anything that claims to be a quick fix. If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
One of the best ways to brighten your smile in 2021 is to reduce the amount of sugar you consume. When you consume anything with sugar (which basically includes just about everything), the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the sugar and produces acid. That acid then attacks your teeth.
While you may not be able to cut out sugar entirely, you can reduce the amount of soda you drink and unnecessary cookies, candy, and junk food. Taken a step further, you can cut down on snacking in general in 2021. The bacteria in your mouth won’t have a chance to attack if it’s not producing the extra saliva that occurs when you eat.
3. Change Your Diet
In addition to reducing your sugar intake, if you’re looking for ways to brighten your smile in 2021, there are certain foods that you can eat that will act as natural scrubbers to your teeth and neutralize acids; and satisfy that sweet tooth. For example, in lieu of your favorite cake or cookie, eat some strawberries or oranges for dessert. Both of these fruits work incredibly well to polish teeth. You can also try foods such as cauliflower and celery. These vegetables can scrub your teeth as you chew and produce saliva that will neutralize acids. Harder cheeses can do the same thing, and are a great source of calcium.
4. Whitening Toothpaste is OK, but…
If you’re looking for ways to brighten your smile in 2021, you’re likely going to find a number of ADA approved whitening tooth pastes that claim to work magic. While many of these options will remove surface stains to a certain degree, they won’t be able to brighten beyond the surface.
Surface stains are discolorations on the outer layer of the tooth that are often developed by drinking coffee, red wine or soda. We find that many of our patients use some sort of whitening toothpaste to prevent yellowing while still enjoying their favorite beverages. These whitening tooth pastes contain hydrogen peroxide in very low concentrations (typically between 1-1.5%). Professional teeth whitening typically has much higher concentrations that are powerful enough to tackle deeper stains. So use the whitening tooth paste, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the desired results.
5. Brush Smarter, Not Harder!
If you’re looking for ways to brighten your smile in 2021, we ask that you start by consistently brushing and flossing twice a day, rather than trying to brush harder to remove any stains. Brushing harder will not make your teeth brighter, but can cause gum damage and weaken your enamel.
6. Trust Your Dentist
If you truly want brighter teeth in 2021, talk to your dentist, even if a professional teeth whitening isn’t in the cards this year. New patients are even eligible for a complimentary teeth whitening.
7. Only Use ADA-Approved Products
Earlier we told you to avoid teeth whitening trends such as charcoal whitening; however, there are a number of drug store solutions that are ADA-approved. In fact, most store-bought whitening strips and gels work pretty well to whiten teeth as they DO have higher concentrations of peroxide than whitening tooth paste.
That said, we still ask that you be careful. We find that most people do not use whitening strips or gels as they are intended, and often cause unnecessary damage to their enamel by overusing them in an effort to get faster results. If you’re unsure of a product, give us a call and we can review it with you.
2021 is Your Year for a Brighter Smile
With all of that said, we still believe that nothing will get you a brighter smile than cosmetic teeth whitening, but we understand that that’s not always an option. However, if you’re a new patient, we hope you’ll fill out the new patient form today and take advantage of our free whitening kit. We’d love to make you smile!