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Flash those Pearly Whites

February 8, 2018

Yellow teeth may not be harmful to one’s health, but they can have an impact on a person’s self-confidence. The causes of yellow teeth are usually lifestyle-related – a smoking habit, and the consumption of coffee and cola are all responsible for tooth discoloration.

A study done by Oasis Dental Care a few years ago showed that more than 25 percent of those polled stated that they weren’t happy with the appearance of their teeth, while two-thirds felt that their self-confidence was negatively impacted by this. Close to half feared that the state of their teeth would affect their chances of landing a new job.

While maintaining good oral hygiene is still your best bet for getting those pearly whites, well, white, here are a few natural and easy ways to attain a brighter smile.

1. Oil-pulling

Coconut oil pulling

 

This Indian ayurvedic practice is becoming increasingly popular in recent years, simply because it’s easy to do and the raw material needed is affordable and easily available. The practice entails swishing a mouthful of oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. Coconut oil is usually preferred because of its pleasant taste, inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, although sunflower or sesame oil can also be used.

While more scientific research is needed to back up the whitening properties of oil pulling, some studies have already proven that it can help reduce bacteria – along with plaque and gingivitis – in the mouth. One benefit that oil-pulling has over other methods of teeth whitening is that it doesn’t erode the enamel of your teeth, so it’s safe to do on a regular basis. For starters, try doing it twice or thrice a week.

2. Try apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar
Commonly used as a natural cleaning product and a disinfectant, apple cider vinegar may also help you get a dazzling smile. That’s because it contains acetic acid, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium and enzymes that kill bad bacteria while promoting the growth of good bacteria. At the same time, it works to break down plaque stuck on teeth.

Try using it as a mouthwash, by diluting one part apple cider vinegar with four parts water. Be sure to rinse your mouth out well after that – the acetic acid in the vinegar could soften your enamel and erode your teeth in the long term. It’s also for this reason that you should use it every other day – not daily.

3. Brush with activated charcoal

Black particles charcoal on a wooden spoon
It seems counter-intuitive that such a black substance could help you get whiter, brighter teeth, but this dentist-approved method works. It is a porous substance that binds to tannins (which can be found in wines) and other staining substances, which will be removed with the charcoal after gargling. There’s also some evidence that activated charcoal may help remineralise teeth and reverse the damage of erosion. However, you’ll also want to make sure that the charcoal you use is of food or medical grade – it’s definitely not the same substance that’d you use for grilling food over a barbeque.

If convenience is what you’re after, however, commercial whitening products may just do the trick. However, be sure to look for ones that specifically state that they are free from hydrogen peroxide, as hydrogen peroxide may cause sensitive teeth.

While most of us want whiter teeth, it pays to do your research. Some teeth-whitening methods may work in a short term, but may result in more brittle teeth in the long run. And remember: nothing beats a good brushing-and-flossing oral hygiene routine.