Despite their name, your pearly whites don’t typically stay that way forever. “Stains from food and drinks as well as just regular wear-and-tear may cause your teeth to get a yellowish or even brownish cast,” says Dr. Janice Pliszczak, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a dingy smile forever. Here’s how to brighten it fast.
Try whitening toothpaste.
There are many over-the-counter treatments to whiten teeth, including toothpastes and strips, available at the drugstore. Your dentist also likely offers tooth-whitening options. Which option is best for you depends on the degree of staining, says Pliszczak. Your best bet: Try toothpaste first.
Get a professional cleaning.
For the absolute best results, visit your dentist for a professional cleaning before any whitening treatment. The hygienist can remove many stains, making whitening toothpastes and strips even more effective. And, of course, it never hurts to get a
Rinse after you drink.
Love coffee, tea and wine? Who doesn’t?! While you may want to avoid them as much as possible right after whitening, you don’t have to remove them from your diet forever. Instead, drink them through a straw or swish some water around your mouth right after.
Munch on natural tooth cleaners.
Fibrous foods like apples, carrots and celery clean and whiten your teeth naturally. That’s because they encourage saliva flow, helping to wash away food particles from your teeth and neutralizing acid that causes decay. So be sure these types of foods are plentiful in your diet. Bonus: Chewing sugarless gum achieves the same results.
Maintain stellar oral care.
The best way to remove and prevent stains: Maintain stellar oral care -- consistently. Brush twice and floss once daily, and don’t skip your dental appointments. Consistent oral care does wonders for your teeth, preventing stains and brightening yellow teeth.
Karen Cicero is Completely You’s health blogger. A health journalist and editor with more than 15 years of experience, she has contributed to Prevention, SELF and Health, and has edited the dental column for Heart & Soul magazine.
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