Teeth Whitening: 8 Home Remedies
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A mouth full of white teeth not only makes your smile more beautiful, but it also makes you look younger. While dark beverages like red wine, cranberry juice, soda, coffee and tea, and foods, such as soy sauce, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar stain teeth, other foods (and a few natural remedies) can quickly and safely brighten your smile.
Strawberries may help whiten teeth because they contain an enzyme called malic acid, which can be found in some whitening toothpastes, said Louisa Maccan-Graves, celebrity beauty expert and author of "Hollywood Beauty Secrets: Remedies to the Rescue," told AOL Health. You can mash up the strawberry or just rub it on your teeth, cut in half. Leave the juice on your teeth for one minute and then rinse with water, said Maccan-Graves. Dr. Steven Roth, cosmetic and implant dentistry expert, agreed, stating that the fiber in strawberries also behaves as a natural cleaner by removing bacteria from the teeth and mouth. <strong>More From Aol Health.</strong>: <a href="http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/01/29/anti-aging-food/" target="_hplink">Anti-Aging Foods </a> <a href="http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/03/30/improve-your-memory/" target="_hplink">Improve Your Memory</a> <a href="http://www.aolhealth.com/2011/01/07/25-easy-instant-energy-boosters" target="_hplink">25 Easy Instant Energy Boosters</a>
Apples, Celery And Carrots
According to Dr. Jeffrey Gross, who teaches in the graduate periodontal program at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, these fruits and veggies act like natural stain removers. The reason: They increase saliva production, which is the body's built-in cleaning agent. "It may sound hard to believe, but some people swear that rubbing raw carrot sticks on your teeth will make them look brighter," said Gross. The added bonus: "These foods are high in vitamin C, which prevents gum disease and gingivitis and kills odor-causing bacteria," Dr. Michael Apa, who specializes in cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics in New York City, told AOL Health.
Citrus fruit, such as oranges and pineapples, also cause the mouth to produce more saliva, which help clean the teeth and whiten your smile, said Apa. Lemons, in particular, are particularly good for teeth whitening. "Just as they naturally 'bleach' your hair, lemons will lighten and brighten your teeth," Roth told AOL Health. He suggested rinsing with half water, half lemon juice once or twice a week. However, do not rinse with this concoction more than two times a week and do not rinse with straight lemon juice. "Overdoing it would be too acidic, which can be damaging to the teeth."
Yogurt, Milk And Cheese
"Dairy products have lactic acid, which decreases gum disease and maintains development and maintenance of teeth," said Apa. "Even the milk in coffee counts -- and it has the added benefit of [decreasing] coffee's staining ability." Along with protecting and strengthening the enamel, hard cheeses, like cheddar, are more effective at cleaning and whitening the teeth than softer cheeses, since hard cheese helps remove other food particles. "And keep in mind that dairy products and foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D are important not only for healthy teeth but your jawbone, the foundation for your teeth," added Apa.
All of the experts agreed that baking soda is one of the strongest -- and safest -- whitening ingredients out there because it's an acid neutralizer that gently removes stains and buildup from the enamel. If this mild abrasive agent is not already mixed into your toothpaste, you can sprinkle a bit on top of your paste each day. Roth also suggested brushing with straight baking soda twice a month. "This is similar to what your dental hygienist does."
When drinking dark beverages, like soda or grape juice, Roth suggested sipping them through a straw. "The straw allows food dyes to bypass teeth altogether."
Gross and Maccan-Graves both stated that rinsing with this antiseptic a couple of times a month can also brighten your smile, thanks to its oxidizing agents. Many mouthwashes are alcohol based, but hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic. "Mouthwash kills existing bacteria, but hydrogen peroxide prevents the growth of bacteria," said Gross. "You can gargle daily with hydrogen peroxide, but it always needs to be done in a 50/50 solution with water. Hydrogen peroxide is good for preventing infections and can also be helpful for preventing bad breath, which is often caused by bacteria." Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide with water (about one tablespoon each) and swish around teeth for 60 seconds. "After a minute, spit it out, leaving the bubbling and whitening action of the peroxide [to] sit on teeth for another minute or two, then rinse mouth with water," said Maccan-Graves.
Brush And Strip
Apa advised brushing daily with a whitening toothpaste. "Crest Weekly Clean is a good product because it contains heavy silica ingredients that work to brush stains away," he said. Most over-the-counter whitening strips contain a peroxide-based whitening gel to brighten teeth, and Apa recommends Crest 2-Hour Express Whitestrips, which are made with an advanced-seal, no-slip technology that allows you to talk, drink water and go about your day. <strong>More From Aol Health.</strong>: <a href="http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/01/29/anti-aging-food/" target="_hplink">Anti-Aging Foods </a> <a href="http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/03/30/improve-your-memory/" target="_hplink">Improve Your Memory</a> <a href="http://www.aolhealth.com/2011/01/07/25-easy-instant-energy-boosters" target="_hplink">25 Easy Instant Energy Boosters</a>