You can hardly get through the line at the grocery store without seeing a row of rag mags plastered with photos of celebrities that look like they’re flashing a mouth full of Chiclets. The uber-white smiles that you see on the magazine racks and during red carpet coverage may be a little out of your price range (since they’re achieved through multiple laser whitening sessions at about a thousand bucks a pop), but there are definitely ways you can get your own teeth a little brighter at far less expense. And if you’re looking for eco-friendly ways to preserve your bright, white smile, there are plenty of options out there that you may find appealing. Here are a few to try out.
1. Diet. You are probably aware that beverages like coffee, tea, and wine can stain your teeth, but did you know that pre-packaged food and drinks that contain chemical dyes, additives, and preservatives can also get beneath your enamel to stain and discolor dentin? By cutting these items out of your diet you can work to preserve the natural color of your teeth (and better your health). Switching to all natural foods is a good start, but you may also want to reduce foods that are acidic (and damaging to protective enamel), incorporate more tooth-strengthening dairy products, and of course, drink plenty of water to wash away food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
2. Whitening toothpaste. Did you know that many whitening toothpastes actually contain no whitening ingredients? In fact, they rely on gentle abrasion to remove surface stains from your enamel, reducing plaque that can yellow teeth and giving the appearance of a whiter smile. Luckily, you can easily get the same effects on your own by creating a paste from baking soda and water to brush your teeth with. And it has the added benefit of deodorizing your mouth, as well.
3. Mouthwash. Most people neglect to add this step to their oral hygiene routine because they think it is only good for freshening breath. However, mouthwash does a lot more and it can even help to reduce staining and improve the appearance of teeth. The major benefit of mouthwash is that it gets into cracks and crevices where even brushing and flossing can’t reach to rinse away harmful bacteria and prevent plaque. If you want to go green, you can find plenty of recipes online to make your own at home.
4. Bleach. You may not be that keen to use white strips (which are disposable) or bleaching trays (which can require you to wash concentrated bleaching solutions down the drain). But you can still get the best whitening possible by using hydrogen peroxide (and ingredient in some tooth whiteners). Of course, you don’t want to apply this directly to your teeth, but you can mix it with water (equal parts water and a 3% peroxide solution) and use it as a mouthwash to kill bacteria and whiten teeth safely (just don’t swallow it).
5. Talk to your dentist. Whether you’ve got insurance with a major carrier through your work, you’ve selected your own via Careington dental plans (or a similar discount organization), or you simply pay out of pocket for dental services, you may find that your dentist can offer you affordable and eco-friendly options for achieving the white smile you’ve been dreaming of. But you’ll never know unless you ask.