Who doesn't want pearly white teeth? Unfortunately, aging and certain lifestyle habits can turn your pearly whites into a dingy shade of gray or yellow. Anything that thins down the enamel on your teeth, like acidic foods and soft drinks, can darken or dull your teeth and make the look dingy.
Would you like to brighten your teeth at home? There are ways to do that, and you won't have to spend significant money. Here are some tooth whitening hacks that will help brighten your smile when you're short on cash.
Brush with Turmeric Paste
Turmeric is a spice popular in Indian and Thai cuisine. Not only does it have an earthy taste that adds flavor to meat and vegetables, it also has health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory activity. A little-known secret is turmeric also helps whiten teeth and is particularly effective for lightening stains from coffee and tea. To make a turmeric paste, add a small amount of water to turmeric powder and stir it into a thick paste. Apply the paste to your toothbrush and brush as you would with your regular toothpaste. Don't worry! The orange-yellow color of the turmeric won't discolor your teeth, but make them brighter and whiter.
Tap into the Whitening Power of Baking Soda
Baking soda as a tooth whitener is nothing new. Smart people who want a brilliant smile use it all the time. It's an effective and inexpensive way to remove stubborn stains from your teeth. Plus, baking soda lowers the acid-base balance of your mouth. The drop in pH creates an environment more hostile to bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay. Although you can brush with baking soda alone, it's more effective when you use it in conjunction with a good toothpaste. The advantage of baking soda is that it can remove plaque and stains without chemicals or abrasives. It also leaves behind a fresh, clean taste.
Add Milk Powder to Your Toothpaste
Adding a pinch of powdered milk to your toothpaste will enhance its tooth whitening power. The addition of the milk powder boosts the whitening potential of your current toothpaste in a way that's safe for your teeth and gums. How does it work? Milk powder contains simple carbohydrates called oligosaccharides that dissolve stains and plaque on the teeth by acting as a mild abrasive. The pH level of milk also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Cut Back on Foods and Beverages That Stain Your Teeth
Certain foods and beverages are notorious for staining tooth enamel. Coffee and tea are two common culprits, but so are wine, sports drinks, and soft drinks. Drinking soft drinks also causes longer-term damage, since the acids are abrasive to tooth enamel and wear it down over time. Drinking a glass of lemon water, as many people do in the morning, can also erode tooth enamel due to the acidity. Your best bet is to drink more water. Other foods that can stain your teeth and make your pearly whites look dingy are berries and tomato sauce.
Don't Brush Right after Eating Something Acidic
You might have heard you should brush right after every meal. If you've eaten or drank something acidic, that's not a good idea. Acidic foods soften your tooth enamel. If you brush right after exposing your teeth to acid, it can damage the enamel and cause more of the underlying tooth to show through. Since the underlying tooth is dingier, your teeth will look less white. If you wait 30 minutes after eating something acidic, you'll give your enamel a chance to re-harden, and there will be less risk of damage. Also, don't brush too aggressively, since vigorous brushing can damage tooth enamel too.
The Bottom Line
Take care of your teeth and try these tips to keep them healthy and white. Be sure to visit your dentist every 6 months, or however often they recommend. A little prevention can help you keep your smile healthy over the decades.