Your teeth help you when you talk and chew, and they can also make or break your appearance and even relationships with other people. That is why it’s important to maintain healthy, pearl-white teeth, and here are 10 easy steps to achieve just that.
1. Change your diet
If you love smoking, drinking liquor, or even having a bottle of soda or a cup of black tea, then having yellowish teeth should not come as a surprise. If you want the perfect white teeth, you should avoid these and other dark foods. A simple reminder is if the food or drink you are having is dark, then there is a higher chance it will stain your teeth.
If you cannot live a life that is free of a teeth-staining diet, then remember to brush immediately after eating or drinking. You can also try and use an over-the-counter bleaching agent, or get teeth whitening at your dentist’s clinic. For a sweet and convenient move when it comes to cleaning teeth, eat an apple or a banana. The inside of a banana peel is great at removing dental plaque and keeping teeth white, even for smokers and drinkers.
2. Try eating ‘detergent’ foods
Including ‘detergent’ foods in your diet can help you achieve whiter teeth. These foods are often crisp or firm, and they help clean your teeth as you eat them. Apples are one kind of “detergent” food, or what we can identify as nature’s toothbrush. Other food choices that can keep your teeth white and healthy are raw carrots, strawberries, celery, oranges, yogurt, baking soda, and even popcorn.
To achieve the best results, you can opt to eat these “detergent” foods after you have your meal, especially when you can’t brush right after eating.
3. Keep your toothbrush in check
You don’t need to replace your toothbrush on a weekly basis, but at least change it every two to three months. If not, you’ll be cultivating your personal bacterial culture in your mouth.
Now, when you brush your teeth, some dentists would recommend that you angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees against your gums and brush them gently in a circular movement instead of making a back-and-forth move. That way, you avoid risking your gum surface to recede and expose the root surface.
Other dentists would also advise that you hold the toothbrush the same way you’d grip a pencil to avoid scrubbing your teeth too hard. And in all cases, make sure to brush the outside and inside of your teeth, their chewing surfaces, your tongue, and cheeks.
4. Clean your tongue
Aside from brushing, it is also a great and healthy way to start your morning by brushing and using a tongue scraper to remove any plaque buildup. Doing so will also help refresh your breath since bacteria thriving on your tongue is one of the leading causes of bad breath. When you properly scrape your tongue daily, you get to decrease the rate of growth of bad bacteria in your mouth.
5. Apple cider vinegar can be your new best friend
Try diluting a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with water, and gargle the solution every morning. The vinegar may remove stains from last night’s meal and will also kill the bacteria that are starting to build up.
In the long run, you will have fresher breath and whiter teeth. Just don’t forget to brush your teeth as usual after gargling.
6. Brush teeth with either baking soda or powdered charcoal
Using baking soda weekly or activated charcoal for five to seven straight days can do wonders to your teeth. Just brush your teeth like you usually do, but this time use either baking soda or powdered charcoal.
Either one can characteristically bind to surface stains we often get from drinking coffee and tea or eating foods that color teeth. As a result, you can get whiter teeth and fresher mouth.
7. Floss anytime, anywhere
Practice flossing without needing a mirror so you can floss on your way to work, even at your desk, before important meetings, and while you are in bed. You might think it’s embarrassing to floss in public, but it’s even more humiliating when you talk to someone while there is something on your teeth or when you have bad breath.
It is better to learn the skill of flossing anytime, anywhere, especially during emergency situations, than having to deal with bad oral hygiene.
8. Stay fresh
Having healthy teeth also means maintaining fresh breath. To check if you still have fresh breath, try licking your palm and sniff it before it dries. If you get a scent of something there, then it’s time to take one or two of those sugar-free mint candies.
If you prefer using mouthwash, get the ones that are alcohol-free since alcohol can cause your mouth to dry, and a dry mouth is, unfortunately, more vulnerable to bacteria. Another way to avoid dry mouth is to hydrate regularly. Make sure you have your bottle of water with you all the time to keep you fresh.
9. Regularly brush teeth
No adult should be reminded to clean his or her teeth. Unfortunately, some people forget to brush on a regular basis no matter how important it is. According to dentists, the best time to brush your teeth is first thing in the morning and before getting back to bed at night. The reason for this is that our saliva dries up at night and can no longer keep plaque off of our teeth. If left without brushing, the plaque might just cause cavities, and we know this leads to nothing good.
And so, it is best to get rid of all the plaque that might have built up during the day by cleaning our teeth before we sleep. And it is also crucial to brush when we first get out of bed so we can remove all the plaque and germs that accumulated during the night, lessening the chances of having morning breath.
10. Don’t grind and clench teeth
When put under stressful circumstances, a lot of people unknowingly grind and clench their teeth. Sometimes they also do this while sleeping. Aside from causing sore facial muscles, clenching and grinding can also chip and wear teeth. If you are one of the people who experience any of these problems, then it’s best to ask your dentist how he or she can help. They might also offer you a dental plan that will cover this kind of issue.
Pooria Shahin is a dentist based in Brooklyn, New York. In 2009, he earned a degree in dental surgery from Columbia University. After just a few years, he received an outstanding practitioner award as well as a recognition for his contribution to cosmetic surgery. Pooria is currently the president at 1st Impression Dental, where he leads a team of skilled and passionate dentists in providing patients with top-notch dental care.