What is the first thing that people notice when you speak to them? No, it’s not your face or your outfit. It’s, in fact - your SMILE. Though often underrated, your smile is considered to be the soul of your face. And, in a digitally-enthused world like our own, where everybody is merely looking for reasons to click pictures and post them on social media - our smile has a major role to play. Now, what’s there in a smile that’s so unmissable? It’s your teeth, of course!
You can run but you can never hide. So, if you’ve ever faced the unfortunate situation of seeing your teeth turn yellow in colour, getting a picture clicked should be the least of your worries! For these, you can still rely on beauty perfecting apps whose filters can magically save your day, but in real life - no such filters are ever going to come to your rescue. Think about it yourself. How would you feel if you ever met someone whose teeth were discoloured? Wouldn’t you be repelled by their appearance or personality instantly? Wouldn’t you judge/assume them of having bad oral hygiene or a smelly breath as well? Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly why we need to read this and do something about it.
Whether it’s for a wedding, party, event, job interview or a date - it only takes a few seconds to destroy that imperative, ‘first impression’ with the people you meet. And seeing your yellow teeth as you speak might do exactly that! So, if you’ve ever found yourself going through a similar dilemma, worry not! You’re not alone. It’s okay to see the colour of your white teeth fade away a little - but what’s not cool is to do nothing about it. Lucky for you, we’ve got the low-down on EVERYTHING you need to know about achieving that dazzling smile, once again!
I know we repel the yellow-ness in our teeth. Just the sight of it makes us cringe, doesn’t it? But there isn’t any hardcore, scientific explanation to this discolouration which is difficult to understand - or solve. Basically, there are two parts of the teeth. One is the outer layer which consists of Enamel that is white in colour and forms like a shield of protection to the deeper tooth structure. And the other, underneath it, is a layer of tissue that is pale, yellow-brown in colour which is called Dentin.
Therefore, when our enamel thins, this dentin becomes more substantially visible, causing our teeth to look darker or not-so-white, anymore. This thinning of enamel can occur due to various reasons such as dental erosion, ageing, genetics, a poor diet, gum diseases, dental grinding, tobacco products, dehydration (suffering from a dry mouth) and excessive intake of foods that cause staining. Sometimes, people are even born with a naturally thin enamel which gives their teeth a slightly off-white colour from the beginning.
While it’s unrealistic and almost impossible to expect your teeth to remain shiny and white forever, certain habits can always be adapted to prevent the yellow-ness in the teeth from accelerating and your enamel from getting thinned/stained in the first place:
It’s important to brush your teeth TWICE a day. I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it. But does anybody really do it? Well, it’s never too late. Start now, because apart from protecting your teeth from cavities and gum-decay, regular brushing and flossing can also reduce tooth-yellowing and help in removing stains. You must do it diligently - 30 minutes after eating a meal, daily. Sounds tough? Honestly, for a beautiful and healthy set of teeth, it’s worth every second in the long run.
Having a poor diet can also be one of the reasons for premature tooth ageing. This includes all sorts of highly processed foods such as candies, chocolates, junk food, soft drinks, etc, which quicken enamel thinning due to their acidic content. Just like other parts of the body, your teeth also suffer from a lack of vitamins and nutrients to support the maximum strength and health. Hence, foods such as these should be consumed on a regular basis:
- Milk and yoghurt as these sources of calcium help in strengthening your enamel and give your teeth a brighter appearance.
- Leafy, green veggies like broccoli, celery and carrots as their abrasive texture help in scrubbing off the stains from your teeth, effortlessly.
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds as they make you chew more, which further leads to more production of saliva in your mouth and helps in getting rid of the unnecessary acid.
- Crunchy fruits like apples and pears which stimulate saliva production that helps to rinse away stains and also, improves the optimal health of your gums.
- Strawberries as their malic acid help in removing surface stains from your teeth.
- Raw onions as their sulfur stop plaque from forming and improves oral health.
Think about it in this way. Any food that causes a stain to appear on a white, cotton t-shirt can easily stain your teeth as well. Simplistically speaking, your teeth are like sponges. Whatever you consume will get absorbed deep into the roots and affect the outer as well as the inner layer of your teeth, causing them to stain and your enamel to become thinner as well. Hence, eliminating certain kinds of food from your diet which contain tannins and acid can prevent these highly pigmented substances from affecting your teeth in the long run. Some of these are:
However, I understand that it might be difficult to cut back on the above treats, completely. So, resisting yourself from consuming these kinds of food in excessive amount can also deem helpful. In the case of beverages, it’s best to drink from straw to prevent them from lurking on your teeth and staining them as much as possible.
A lot of dentists swear by this technique to maintain good dental hygiene at home. By the term ‘oil pulling’, we simply refer to the practice of rinsing/washing your mouth with oil to remove all kinds of bacteria, germs and debris. In fact, this has also proven to work as a great whitening agent! To do this, just put a spoonful of coconut, sunflower or sesame oil in your mouth (after brushing and flossing) and swish it between your teeth for at least 15 minutes. Another alternative is to apply a few drops of this oil on a cloth and rub it on your teeth. Not only does this have antimicrobial properties but is also great for protecting and cleaning your gums.
Another whitening trick is to use the best of your favourite fruits! Thanks to the generous amount of vitamins and nutrients found in the skin of bananas, lemons and oranges, many people use the inside of their peels to scrub/rub them on their teeth for at least 5 minutes, after which you must leave your teeth for 10 minutes before you brush and floss. This trick might take some time to work but is proven to show noticeable results if done on a regular basis.
As if you don’t have enough harmful reasons to quit smoking already, you should also know that the excessive amount of tar and tobacco found in nicotine rapidly discolours your teeth as well. It causes intrinsic stains on your teeth which become even tougher to remove/lighten with time. So, do yourself a favour and stop lighting up. Not only will your teeth benefit from this self-control - but so will your lungs, heart, breath and overall health!
Let’s understand one thing - gums form the backbone of your teeth! If your gums are in terrible shape, do you think anyone would care about how white your teeth are? Not really. Healthy gums will not only allow your teeth to whiten and be the centre of attention when you smile but also improve your overall oral hygiene. You must also use a toothbrush with soft bristles as it’s abrasive texture might cause sensitive gums to recede or bleed. Brush carefully, but thoroughly!
We’re all aware of water’s cleansing abilities, aren’t we? Well, it basically works the same way in washing off the extrinsic stains from your mouth and reduces the amount of contact that staining agents can get with your teeth. Hence, it’s best to consume water while/after consuming coloured or acidic food. It works just as well from outside as it does from inside. That’s why you’re also advised to swish your mouth with water after eating every meal to help wash away the staining agents that naturally occur even in healthy food like fruits or vegetables.
Now that we’ve learnt about the habits to make (and break) to prevent your teeth from turning yellow, let’s take a look at some super effective ways of ‘naturally’ whitening your teeth to help you achieve that flawless and healthy smile (without burning a hole in your pocket):
Ingredients - 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of lime/lemon juice and a toothbrush
Instructions - Mix the baking soda and lemon juice. With the help of a toothbrush, apply this paste on your teeth and leave it for 2-3 minutes before rinsing your mouth with water.
Benefits - While sodium bicarbonate’s abrasive nature helps eradicate stains from your teeth and reduces the acidic content in your mouth, lemon juice, known for its natural bleaching properties, helps to remove discolouration from your teeth.
Ingredients - Half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of water.
Instructions - Add the vinegar to the water and gargle with this solution before brushing your teeth. Do this for 2-3 times a week, every morning.
Benefits - Due to its mild acids, apple cider vinegar is known to be one of the most effective and strongest stain-removal natural ingredient for yellow teeth. It also makes your teeth substantially whiter from the very first use!
Ingredients - 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 strawberry
Instructions - Mash the strawberry using a spoon and mix it well with the baking soda. With the help of a toothbrush or your fingers, apply this paste on your teeth and let it stay for 5 minutes. Rinse it off with water and brush your teeth with regular toothpaste.
Benefits - The malic acid and ascorbic acid present in strawberries help in lightening the stains on your teeth and gives them a brighter and whiter appearance than before.
Ingredients - 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Instructions - Add the salt to the lemon juice and mix it well. Use this mixture as toothpaste for at least twice a week to whiten your teeth and make them strong.
Benefits - There’s a reason why most toothpastes contain salt and lemon nowadays. While the bleaching quality of lemon juice helps in whitening your teeth, the salt, on the other hand, acts as a gentle exfoliant in scrubbing away the yellow stains that get built up on your teeth.
Ingredients - Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and a toothbrush.
Instructions - Wet your toothbrush with water and sprinkle the turmeric on it. Brush your teeth thoroughly, allowing the turmeric to reach all corners of your teeth to work its magic. Let it stay for 2-3 minutes and then rinse it off with water. You can also add some water to the turmeric powder and use this as your alternative toothpaste for a few weeks to see instant results.
Benefits - Known for its antiseptic and natural lightening properties, turmeric paste will not only help in reducing the toughest of stains from your teeth but will also make your teeth and gums stronger and free of unhealthy germs.
Ingredients - 4-5 neem leaves and 1 cup of water
Instructions - Boil the neem leaves in warm water for a few minutes and strain the solution. Let it cool down to a lukewarm temperature and gargle with this solution before/after brushing your teeth on a regular basis.
Benefits - As a natural astringent, neem leaves are known to improve the overall health of your teeth, making them strong and free of any yellow stains.
Ingredients - 1-2 guava leaves
Instructions - Crush the guava leaves into a coarse paste and rub it on your teeth. Let it stay for a minute or two and then rinse it off with water. Repeat this every alternate day.
Benefits - Guava leaves work wonders for many dental concerns such as removing plaque, gum swelling and tongue infections. Plus, it also helps in removing the oxidative stress caused on the teeth by different microorganisms, which is one of the main reasons for teeth staining in the first place.
If you have been using a certain natural remedy regularly and brushing your teeth thoroughly, it should not take more than 1 or 2 weeks to see a remarkable difference in your teeth.
No. We wish it was that easy! But brushing your teeth strenuously will not help your teeth become whiter or remove any sort of stains from them. In fact, brushing your teeth too strongly might actually do worse than good. For those with sensitive gums, it might cause them to bleed or give way to harmful infections or swelling. And if your gums begin to fall out, having yellow teeth may just be the least of your worries!
No, whitening toothpaste cannot remove the intrinsic stains that go deeper into the tooth structure or change the colour of your teeth permanently. But yes, they can help in lightening the surface stains such as those which appear as a result of drinking coffee, tea or other staining-food. However, their results may vary from person to person and do not last very long.
Polishing is a teeth-whitening procedure, carefully administered by a dentist using several bleaching agents to give your teeth, a shiny and glistening whiteness. However, these cosmetic treatments are extremely expensive and may have side effects in the long run. People with sensitive teeth and gum diseases are advised not to go ahead with this treatment. Due to its artificial ingredients and man-made chemicals, teeth whitening can also lead to temporary sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch. Nevertheless, if done the right way and under the guidance of a trusted dentist, you should be able to get through it without any risks.
So, go ahead and try the above tips and tricks - which are all trusted and safe - to bring back that picture-perfect smile of yours in no time. And show them what your spell-bounding smile is made off, ladies! *wink*
Image Sources: Pexels, Unsplash
Cover Image Source: Instagram
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