Everyone wants to have bright, white teeth, but most of us can't afford frequent expensive treatments. Luckily, there are a few little things you can do on your own for whiter teeth, and they don't require buying any pricey products or special procedures. You may not be able to drastically change your teeth to become five shades lighter, but you can get rid of some yellow and brighten up your smile by adapting some habits on your own.
"People’s teeth yellow so easily from the dark pigments of common foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea and soda, which can stain the surfaces and ridges of their teeth," says dentist Dr. Sam Weisz over email. "The shade of white and yellow of our teeth also depends on genetics and age. Some people inherently have yellower teeth than others. The same goes with age — the older we get, the darker our teeth tend to become."
Luckily, if your teeth aren't the color you want, you're not stuck. Instead of getting professional whitening, you can do a few things at home to help prevent darkening of the teeth and to help whiten your teeth naturally.
If you want to brighten your smile, try doing these six little things for whiter teeth.
Stick To Water
"Avoid or limit the consumption of stain-causing foods and drinks, like coffee, tea, soda and red wine," says Weisz. "Water is the best option."
"Brush with a non-abrasive tooth paste that removes stains or with baking soda," says celebrity dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman, DDS, over email. "These products clean teeth and make them look brighter without harming the teeth."
3. Oil Pull With Coconut Oil
"[Oil pulling is an] ancient Ayurvedic practice that uses a gentle detergent action to remove plaque from between the teeth, resulting in whiter teeth and better breath," says RealSelf Contributor and celebrity dentist Dr. Gerry Curatola over email. "To oil pull, place one to two tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and swish and pull it between your teeth once each day."
4. Use Some Strawberries
"Strawberries contain malic acid, which can safely dissolve surface stains on teeth," says Curatola. "Mash one to two strawberries together with a pinch of baking soda. Apply the mixture to your teeth using a children's toothbrush. Leave the solution on your teeth for one to two minutes. This treatment can be done once each month."
5. Avoid Alcohol-Based Mouthwashes
"Staining occurs more rapidly when the natural ecology of the mouth, the oral microbiome, is not in balance," says Curatola. "[This is] a result of using harsh chemical-based detergent toothpaste and alcohol-based mouthwash."
6. Keep Up Your Regular Visits
"Get your teeth cleaned professionally," says Dorfman. "There are stains you cannot remove by yourself with just a toothbrush." The American Dental Association recommends once a year for low-risk patients and even more visits — to be determined by a dentist — for patients with higher risk.
Take care of your teeth just as you would your skin to keep them looking their best.