A person’s smile tells a story — and there’s nothing more important than making sure when someone sees you they see a BAUCE woman. A tooth is made up of many types of tissue, but the enamel and dentin is what plays the biggest role in its color. Enamel is the strong white covering that protects the tooth. Certain food, drinks, and habits will directly stain and, over time, break down the enamel to reveal the yellow—the dentin—that is underneath.
Up-keeping your oral health is valuable to your overall grooming, however keeping your pearly whites as clean as possible is a desire that sometimes seems out of reach with the costs of cosmetic dentistry. When it comes to keeping your teeth white, the solution is not always so clear-cut and, not to mention, an expensive endeavor. These remedies can help with teeth whitening, without the investment in expensive kits and remedies. You’ll be surprised how easy they all are!
1. DO go coco for coconuts
Coconut oil has a great reputation in multitasking—it can be used as a moisturizer, in cooking, and now in teeth whitening! Known as “Oil Pulling,” coconut oil is great for keeping—and getting—our teeth white. That’s because the oil’s lauric acid rids your teeth of the bacteria found in plaque that makes them yellow. Along with that, it promotes gum health and keeps your breath fresh. Of course, this is no substitute for personalized family dentistry and check-ups are still a must.
How to Use: Before brushing your teeth, scoop out a tablespoon or less (depending on the size of your mouth) of coconut oil. You can either let the oil sit out to soften before used, or just put it straight on your teeth and it will soften on its own. Swish the oil around your teeth for a few minutes. Then, spit it out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth as you normally would.
2. DO go DIY
Home DIY pastes can be made with the simplest of grocery items. They can keeps teeth whitening free of harsh chemicals—and, not to mention, harsh money spending.
This first DIY whitener adds onto the benefits of coconut oil, which is combined with turmeric and baking soda into a paste. With coconut oil’s positive qualities, turmeric is proven to be anti-inflammatory and baking soda is mildly abrasive, able to return teeth to a whiter shade.
How to Use: Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 4 tablespoons of turmeric. Put a good amount of paste onto your toothbrush and apply. Brush your teeth with the mixture for about 2 minutes, but not much more so as to avoid the ingredients’ harsher effects.
Another DIY whitener can be made with strawberries. Strawberries are high in Vitamin C, which can help break down plaque and help to remove surface stains. Add salt or baking soda to act as the abrasive portion of the paste.
How to Use: Mash 1-3 strawberries into a pulp, and add a pinch of sea salt. Then, apply a generous portion of the mixture to a toothbrush and brush onto teeth. Brush with the mixture for a bit, then rinse.
3. DO go buy some floss
Yes, we know asking you to floss is a long stretch. You haven’t been listening to your dentist for years, so why would you listen to us? Well, it turns out that flossing is one of the cheapest ways to whiten your teeth.
“Whitening” floss doesn’t actually bleach the teeth; rather, it makes your teeth look whiter by doing a better job of removing the particles between them. Though it won’t actually change their color, your teeth will look brighter once you remove the dust and dirt that’s occupying its gaps.
Next time you’re at the drugstore or dentist, make sure to read floss labels and see what type of whitening benefits they may provide.
4. DO chew—a lot!
Why? Because more saliva means more pearly-whites. Some foods such as sugarless gum, celery, apples, pears, and carrots trigger lots of saliva, which helps wash away the food debris on your teeth and, overall, whitens teeth. As well as its benefits in teeth whitening, saliva neutralizes the acid that causes tooth decay.
5. DO go bright (with your makeup)
Certain colors of makeup can easily brighten your smile! A bright lip is an instant teeth whitener. A great lip stick, gloss or stain choice would be in cherry red, rosy pink, or any berry colors. Make sure that they are warm-toned, because cooler colors, like coral, can contrast against stains and actually bring out the yellow in teeth. See Blake Lively as proof:
Ask a makeup consultant (or your local Sephora employee!) which colors would work best to fit this description.
6. DO go for the coffee (but with caution)
As much as we all need our caffeine, coffee is one of the main causes of yellow teeth. Despite that, it is such a staple in our lives that we’d never want to part with it. BUT, you can still enjoy it—cautiously. Decrease drink-to-tooth contact by drinking your coffee with a lid or with a straw. Though, if your usual iced drink order comes with a lid for a straw, another alternative is to drink your coffee with the straw aimed at the back of your tongue. Though it is not super comfortable, it will also prevent the drink from directly contacting your teeth.
7. DO wipe it all away
Most days, it is difficult to resist the urge of food and drinks that we love, but stain our teeth easily. So, if you need your red wine at dinner, or dark soda as a midday pick-me-up, you can physically remove the stains from your teeth once consumed. After eating or drinking, subtly pick up a napkin and gently clean off your teeth. This will make a difference in your teeth’s appearance immediately!