Professional tooth whitening is quite costly. Research indicates that in 2015, Americans spent more than 11 billion USD on tooth whitening. Additionally, Americans spent more than 1.4 billion USD on home-based whitening products.
There are several products you can choose from when you want to whiten your teeth. However, it is crucial to note that most tooth whitening products are chemical-based. Therefore, the bleaching agents used in teeth whitening kits may have some adverse effects.
Individuals who yearn for a better smile may consider one of the numerous tooth whitening products found over the counter in chain stores or drug stores. The products are formulated differently. Some of the available forms found in the market include gels, dissolving strips, stick-on strips, and tooth-shaped trays filled with gel. The question arises about the effectiveness and safety of such products in tooth whitening.
Causes of Discolored Teeth
It is everybody's wish to have a healthy white smile. However, several reasons may cause teeth to darken. The risk factors are modifiable and non-modifiable. For example, we may not have control over accidents or age-related yellowing of teeth. Such non-modifiable risk factors disrupt the development of enamel.
It is advisable to discuss any teeth whitening plan you have with your dentist. You will get to understand the reason for the yellowing of your teeth. Although whitening is done mainly for cosmetic purposes, your dentist will advise you on the best option to remove the stain. The following lifestyle habits may cause tooth staining:
Almost everyone cares about their dental health. Currently, a shiny or brighter smile is a symbol in the social status. 99% of us consider the smile to be the most important social feature.
Tooth whitening at home relies primarily contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide will bleach the discolorations that accumulate in the outer part of the enamel. Gel-filled trays, gels, and strips effectively correct tooth stains resulting from tobacco use, foods, and drinks such as red wine, tea, and coffee.
When used as recommended, the home-based whitening kits will leave the tooth one to two shades brighter as per the bleaching scale. You will realize a significant difference. However, the results may vary based on the extent of discoloration or staining. To save on the cost of tooth whitening, consider the following natural methods:
Best Teeth Whitening Kits
#1. Brush Using Baking Soda
It is a critical component of the commercial toothpastes because it possesses natural tooth whitening properties. Baking powder is a mild abrasive. It assists in scrubbing away the surface stains. Note that the remedy may not work miraculously overnight. However, you will notice a significant difference with constant use.
Studies reveal that toothpastes with baking soda are more effective in removing discolorations than regular toothpastes lacking the baking soda. The more the baking soda concentration, the higher the tooth whitening property. Studies have also shown toothpastes with baking soda as a component are more efficient in removing plaques than ones without baking soda.
It is advisable to brush your teeth using baking soda-based pastes. They are not only essential in removing the stains but also reducing bacteria within your mouth.
#2. Eat Vegetables and Fruits
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits is vital for your teeth and body. Note that taking such a diet is not a substitute for tooth brushing. However, crunchy vegetables and raw fruits are effective in plaque removal as you chew. Pineapple and strawberries are some of the fruits claimed to be possessing tooth whitening properties.
A study carried out on the bromelain enzyme available in the pineapples revealed more effective stain removal than the standard toothpastes. On the other hand, strawberries and baking soda are also essential in tooth whitening, and the practice is common among celebrities.
The active ingredient in strawberries effective in stain removal is malic acid. In the combination, the baking soda bluffs away the stains. Although strawberries effectively exfoliate the teeth and make them whiter, they hardly penetrate stains on the teeth.
A study carried out on the mixture of baking soda and strawberry revealed that they are associated with little color change on the teeth than the commercial whitening kits. Avoid fruits rich in citric acid because of the possibility of enamel erosion. Exposure to citric acid in fruits for an extended period is harmful to your oral health because your teeth will be subjected to an acid bath which may etch away the enamel.
It would be best to use the mixture a few times a week if you decide to give it a try. Excessive use of the mix could cause damage. Hence, you should use it cautiously. Regularly consume vegetables and raw fruits. They are instrumental in keeping your tooth brighter and rubbing off the plaque.
#3. Embrace Flossing and Brushing
Although tooth discoloration may set in because of age, some result from the accumulation of plaque. Consider regular flossing and brushing of teeth for them to remain white. Flossing and brushing do prevent not only the accumulation of plaque but also reduces the mouth bacteria.
Toothpaste will rub off the discoloration gently on your teeth. On the other hand, flossing removes the microbes, which are the risk factors for plaque formation. Consider frequent dental cleaning to keep the teeth white and clean.
#4. Limit Staining Beverages and Food
Dark berries, soda, red wine, and coffee are known to cause teeth discoloration. You do not have to avoid these foods and beverages, but reduce the consumption and time the products come into contact with the teeth. You can consider using a straw for drinking the beverages associated with teeth discoloration in an attempt to reduce contact with the teeth.
It is also advisable to brush the teeth immediately after consuming the beverages or foods to minimize their detrimental effect on the tooth coloration. Also, avoid chewing or smoking tobacco because they are associated with tooth discoloration. In some cases, tooth discoloration may be caused by an eroded enamel exposing the underlying dentin.
In such situations, it would be best if you considered foods rich in calcium ions, such as broccoli, cheese, and milk. They will protect your teeth from eroding and strengthen the enamel to keep the teeth white. A healthy diet with adequate calcium prevents the teeth from getting yellow.
To maintain whiter teeth, consider reducing the amount of sugar you consume. A sugary diet or environment supports the Streptococcus mutans growth. It is the primary bacteria responsible for gingivitis and plaque. Upon consumption of a sugary meal, consider brushing your teeth immediately.
#5. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the natural bleaching agents that destroy bacteria in the mouth. The bactericidal ability of hydrogen peroxide explains its use for several years in disinfecting wounds. Most of the commercial toot whitening kits are hydrogen peroxide-based, although at higher concentrations.
A study carried out on a toothpaste containing 1% hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda revealed effectiveness in whitening teeth.
Another study indicated that brushing teeth twice a day using peroxide and baking soda-based commercial toothpastes improved tooth whitening by 62% after six weeks. However, there are safety concerns with the use of hydrogen peroxide.
Heavily dilute concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are safe.
However, excessive use of the product or more substantial concentrations may cause tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. It is advisable to use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash just before brushing.
It would be best to use 1.5% or 3% of the product to minimize the side effects. In the drug store, you are likely to find hydrogen peroxide as a 3% preparation. You can achieve a 1.5% concentration by mixing equal parts of water and peroxide.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide as a toothpaste after blending it with baking soda. The use of the mixture should be limited to few times a week to prevent erosion of enamel.
#6. Oil Pulling as a Teeth Whitening Technique
Oil pulling is a traditional practice aimed at removing toxins from the body and improving oral hygiene. It involves swishing oil within the mouth to get rid of the bacteria. The approach reduces the risk of plaque development and tooth discoloration.
The practice originated from the Indians where they used sesame or sunflower oil for the pulling. Note that coconut oil is one of the most suitable because it has a pleasant taste. Additionally, coconut oil is associated with several other health benefits. Besides, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid. Lauric acid is famous for its bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies indicate that regular oil pulling prevents exacerbation of gingivitis, plaque and reduces mouth bacteria. Unlike other tooth whitening methods, pulling using coconut oil does not expose your teeth to ingredients or acids that may erode the enamel.
#7. Crest Pro-Health Daily
If you are determined to streamline your whitening system, consider a crest toothpaste. It contains a perfecting gel and a purifying cleanser to purge the plaque and polish in simple steps. You will enjoy not only the fast whitening of teeth but also a boost in oral health.
Good oral health is a result of stannous fluoride and hydrogen peroxide present in the compound. Note that stannous fluoride possesses antibacterial properties, and it has proven to be effective against gingivitis and reducing tooth sensitivity.
#8. The AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen
With this portable whitening product, you may skip sticky strips and messy trays. The pain comprises of a mint-flavored whitening gel to be applied directly to the teeth once or twice daily. It is simple to use. You only need to paint the gel powered by carbamide peroxide onto the tooth surface directly.
You will have to keep smiling for about 60 seconds as you wait for the gel to dry. It is also advisable not to eat nor drink within an hour post-application. You will realize significant results after about seven to 10 days, as long as you adhere to the guidelines.
#9. The Cali White Vegan Teeth Whitening Kit
Apart from the brighter smile at the end, you will also enjoy the process. The agent whitens the teeth with at least two shades in a week and employs an organic, gluten-free, and vegan free of sulfates and parabens. It is associated with slight irritation, and it can be connected to any LED, including the five LED lights present in the kit.
#10. Crest 3D White Strips with Light
The blue light device capable of penetrating enamel to remove stains gives the crest white strips a significant update. The whitening process begins with the application of the flexible whitening strip for one hour. It uses a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide in whitening the teeth gently.
The application of blue light is post-strip for about 10 minutes to enhance the whitening effects. After ten consecutive treatments, your teeth will be noticeable, and it lasts for over 36 months.
Side Effects and Safety
The disadvantage of the home-based whitening kits is that there are several ineffective treatments in the market. Through your dentist's help, you will be able to identify the most suitable product for you. When used appropriately, home-based kits are very safe. It would be best if you regularly visit your dentist for checkups and proper guidance.
The dentists will identify oral health issues that need to be addressed. For example, tooth whitening in the presence of an unfilled cavity can be so painful. Besides, beware of the associated side effects, which are short-term.
Prevention of Tooth Discoloration
Practicing healthy habits is the only sure method of preventing tooth discoloration. By embracing simple lifestyle modification, you will be capable of preventing tooth staining. Heavy coffee users should reduce the consumption or consider an alternative beverage. Chronic smokers should also quit smoking because of its detrimental effect on health.
Improve your dental hygiene through daily flossing, brushing, and regular visit to the dental clinic. If you notice a persistent abnormal color on your teeth despite your efforts to maintain oral hygiene, promptly seek help from your dentist. Most of the natural methods work by gentle removal of the stains.
Our dentists will advise you on the most suitable teeth whitening kit, which is more superior than the natural remedies. Most of the products work through bleaching, which is the most effective against severely discolored teeth. Note that excessive use of any whitening kit is dangerous to the teeth.