Do you wish your teeth were whiter? Some people have off-white teeth naturally, probably through their genetic inheritance. Others get stained teeth over time for a variety of reasons. If you would like to brighten your smile but don’t want to put the time or money into commercially whitening them, here are a few suggestions for doing it on your own.
1. Limit your consumption of tea, which contains tannic acid. This substance can darken teeth gradually over time, as evidenced by the stains left in teacups used for serving this beverage. You also may want to cut back on cola products, which has a similar but lesser effect. Any foods with deep colors, like blueberries, can leave stains on your tooth enamel. So be sure to brush your teeth after eating foods like these.
2. Rinse your mouth after eating. For best results, try to rinse with water even after snacks, including pop or candy bars. This will prevent foods from sticking to or staying with your teeth, where they can adhere to the enamel and cause stains to appear gradually. At work, use the drinking fountain or bathroom sink for a quick rinse. The quicker you rinse, the better results you will have. Some people even carry small bottles of mouthwash for a quick gargle after lunch.
3. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Morning and evening are the best times, or following two of your main meals. This will help to remove food bits that can cause discoloration or decay. You can use whitening toothpaste if you prefer, which will provide a low-key brightening effect on your teeth without the use of harsh chemicals or abrasive products. Ask your dentist to recommend a safe whitener for this purpose.
4. Ask about tetracycline substitutes. If you are prescribed tetracycline, a popular antibiotic, ask the doctor if there is a reasonable substitute, as tetracycline has been known to discolor patients’ teeth, especially those who took it frequently or for prolonged periods of time. If you must take it, check with your dentist about how to combat the potential darkening effect it may have on your teeth. Other medications may have this effect, as well, so if tooth color is a problem, ask your doctor about the potential for discoloration for any prescription you receive, or simply inquire about those you should avoid.
One alternative is to merely accept your teeth the way they are. Unless they are extremely yellow or darkened, most people will not notice them, and they should pose no particular health hazard. Another option is to try a home whitening treatment that you can do yourself. This will save money and time, but it involves a bleaching process that probably uses peroxide or another chemical. Ask your dentist about the advisability of this type of product if you are thinking of trying one. Society views white teeth as an indication of good health and wholesome hygiene, not to mention physical attractiveness, so make the most of your pearly whites.
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