According to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the most important thing people want to change about their smile is the whiteness of their teeth, and almost all of those who were surveyed believe that a great smile is one of their most important “social assets.” How do you whiten teeth anyway?
To figure out how to whiten our teeth, we have to know why and how they get yellow discoloration in the first place. Genetics, what kind of food and drink you consume, and how well you practice oral hygiene are all factors that may play a role in teeth whiteness. A tooth is made up of 4 tissues: enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum.
The enamel is the strong white covering that protects the tooth. Dentin supports the enamel and is a hard yellow material that carries nerves. The pulp the center of the tooth and contains blood and lymph vessels. The cementum simply covers the root of the tooth.
The enamel and dentin is what play the biggest role in color. Certain food and drinks will directly stain the enamel. However, over time, the two biggest causes of yellow discoloration are the food and drinks that actually break down and weaken the enamel. As the enamel breaks down, it reveals the yellow dentin underneath. Other causes of yellow teeth include antibiotic use or excessive fluoride intake in young children, which can cause yellow-stained adult teeth later.
Our recommended remedies will focus on whitening teeth that have already lost some white enamel, but it’s also good to keep in mind that doing things to strengthen enamel is just as important so you can keep it from breaking down further.
The first natural way to whiten teeth involves using baking soda. Mix several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice to make a paste. Wipe your teeth and any extra saliva off of them with a paper towel. Put a good amount of paste onto your toothbrush and apply. Leave the paste on for 1 minute, then rinse.
Another natural way to whiten teeth involves the use of coconut oil. Before you brush your teeth in the morning, scoop out a tablespoon of coconut oil. You can either soften it, or just put it in your mouth. Push, swish, and “pull” the oil through and around your teeth for 10-15 minutes, then spit it out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth.
If these natural solutions do not work, then maybe it’s time to call the experts? Go and see your dentist and ask for options regarding teeth whitening, as well as how to strengthen the enamel.