How do I get whiter teeth?

By Brooke Strickland

Our teeth are one of the first things we notice when we meet new people.  Our teeth brighten our smile and keeping them stain-free and white can be a challenge.  Stained teeth are a part of aging, but there are some things that can help you reduce the amount of staining or discoloration that occurs.  There are some secrets to maintaining white teeth and to helping restore your smile to its pearly white status.

First of all, there are many do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits out on the market today.  Just go to your local drugstore and you’ll find kits, strips, toothpastes, and even flosses that can help lighten stains.  These types of products use mild bleach to minimize the yellow stains on your teeth.  Whitening get toothpastes that are used on a regular basis can help with surface stains and won’t change the natural color of your teeth. 

If you’re looking for the old-fashioned way to whiten teeth, some people still use baking soda and a toothbrush at home.  This can help scrub those surface stains off.  Another way to whiten teeth is to eat foods that trigger the development of a lot of saliva to help wash food residue off your teeth.  Try chewing on apples, pears, carrots, or celery – all saliva-inducing foods (and they’re healthy for you to boot).  Saliva helps counteract acid that can cause tooth decay.

Next, avoid foods or drinks that are known to cause discoloration, like excesses of coffee, fruit juices, soda, tea, or other alcoholic beverages.  And especially avoid smoking tobacco – this can cause nasty brown stains that get into all of the grooves of your teeth.  It will also give you bad breath and can increase your risk for mouth cancers.

It’s important to remember that maintenance is a real key here. Having your teeth cleaned regularly at your dentist, as well as regular brushing and flossing will help keep your teeth white and healthy.  In addition, remember to brush your teeth (or rinse with water) after eating to keep tooth stains at a minimum.

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