Have you been looking in the mirror lately, wondering if there’s something you can do to whiten your smile?
If you’ve spent more time on video calls and social media in recent years, are trying to land a new job, or want to look your best for your social and dating meetups, you’re not alone.
It’s no surprise that there has been a rising interest in the best methods for brightening teeth.
Here, we’ll give you all the tips you need for getting a brighter smile, whatever your reason might be.
1. Get Regular Dental Cleanings
You already know it’s important to visit the dentist regularly to avoid cavities. But did you know getting a professional cleaning every six months can reduce and prevent tooth discoloration?
It’s true: depending on the cause, stained and discolored teeth can become brighter if you make a habit of seeing a dental hygienist at least twice per year (or more frequently if your dentist recommends it).
2. Keep Up Your Home Oral Care Routine
Often, tooth discoloration can be reduced and prevented by being diligent with your oral health routine at home.
Even when you’re in a rush or feel too tired to take care of your teeth before bed, it’s an essential practice for treating yellowing teeth and reducing future stains.
Twice per day, be sure that you’re flossing, brushing for at least two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and following up with a mouthwash containing fluoride.
3. Take Care of Your Toothbrush
Think your toothbrush is sanitary because you use it to clean your teeth?
Unfortunately, your toothbrush does not stay clean simply because it’s exposed to toothpaste and rinsed with water after you brush. In fact, it picks up particles of food and plaque that contain a lot of bacteria.
Sure, it’s gross. But that same bacteria can proliferate on your brush and cause tooth discoloration (or worse) if it re enters your mouth the next time you use it.
You can clean your toothbrush daily with soap and water to sanitize it.
4. Clean Your Mouth Guard
Many people have experienced the incredible benefits of using a mouth guard as a remedy for teeth grinding (bruxism). Whether you wear a night guard or a mouth guard to protect against the harmful effects of daytime bruxism, you may not be cleaning it frequently enough.
Why does that matter?
A clean mouth guard not only helps the material resist breakage and make it last longer but also eliminates the daily buildup of bacteria that contributes to tooth discoloration.
5. Limit Harmful Foods
It’s okay to indulge in your favorite foods in moderation. But even some of the healthiest items on your plate might be contributing to your stained teeth.
Foods high in acid, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and starch create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Excess bacteria and harmful acids break down the protective layer of enamel on your teeth, making them more vulnerable to discoloration.
6. Cut Back on Coffee, Tea, and Soda
Starting the day with a cup of coffee or tea is standard practice for so many people worldwide; others prefer the boost of a cold soda in the afternoon (or both).
While dark beverages or sodas temporarily help you feel more awake and energetic, they can cause harm to the enamel on your teeth.
Enamel protects against tooth decay and stains, so it’s crucial to monitor your intake of these beverages and brush your teeth after you’re finished (if possible).
7. Hydrate with Water
Are you feeling thirsty? It may be tempting to reach for sports drinks and power waters touting vitamins and electrolytes, which can have some benefits after an intensive workout or a long day in the heat.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that these beverages are a healthy alternative to water.
Many sports and vitamin drinks contain sugar or alternative sweeteners, which (just like soda) break down your tooth enamel and make you more vulnerable to discoloration.
So, what’s the solution?
Drink plain, filtered water. It contains no harmful additives, dyes, or sweetening ingredients that can stain your teeth. Water also washes away food particles and helps reduce plaque buildup by cleansing the saliva, which helps prevent cavities.
8. Consider Whitening Treatments
Sometimes, those pesky stains won’t budge even when you try your best to reduce and prevent discoloration. But don’t stress.
Teeth whitening treatments are more accessible and affordable than ever before, with a wide array of options for different individual needs.
Of course, you’ll always want to discuss the best whitening treatment plan for you with a dentist before you start. Here are a few of the most popular and effective methods:
- Whitening Gel Pens
- Whitening Trays
- Whitening Strips
- Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
- UV Light Treatment Devices
- In-Office Professional Treatments
9. Kick the Smoking Habit
Smoking is known to have many harmful effects on your overall well-being, which includes oral health.
Both occasional and habitual smoking habits can increase your risk for cavities, irreversible gum disease, and oral cancer. It also causes yellow and brown stains that may not be treatable.
If you smoke, quitting as soon as possible is the best way to increase your chances of reducing existing tooth stains, repairing your enamel, and preventing future discoloration.
Experiencing tooth discoloration can be discouraging, regardless of age, lifestyle, social life, or personal goals. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to reduce and prevent stains.
While these tips are typically helpful for mild brightening needs, they aren’t intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional or dentist. If you have severe discoloration or other symptoms like pain and tooth sensitivity, see a dentist as soon as possible.