Many people dream of having a whiter smile; however, having a dentist or an orthodontist perform tooth whitening procedures can be quite expensive, and these procedures are rarely covered by dental insurance. Tooth whitening procedures aren’t new, in fact humans have been whitening their teeth for hundreds of years.
The discovery of nitric acid during the Middle Ages led to whiter teeth, especially for the upper class, but nitric acid will eat the enamel off of teeth. As a result of using nitric acid to whiten teeth during this period, a lot of patients suffered from severe tooth decay. Nitric acid was used to whiten teeth until the late 1800’s when fluoride was discovered and dentists started using it to strengthen teeth. Today a patient who is looking to whiten teeth at home in an effective, inexpensive manner has many options.
The most effective way that a patient can whiten teeth at home is by purchasing an over-the-counter whitening kit at a retail pharmacy or supermarket. There are quite a few teeth whiteners available over the counter. Although they don’t work quite as well as a dental bleaching, they are effective and inexpensive. Over-the-counter, commercial whitening products contain a peroxide solution that breaks down into oxygen molecules when it is introduced to a light or a heat source. The oxygen molecules attack stains and break them apart when they come in contact with tooth enamel. Results may be visible in as little as one hour to a few days, depending on which over-the-counter product is used. Over-the-counter teeth whiteners come in brush-on gel, trays, or strips.
For patients looking for an all-natural way to whiten teeth with products found in the home, both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide may be used as tooth whiteners. Baking soda may be used by sprinkling it directly on a toothbrush and brushing with it for 2-3 minutes, or it may be sprinkled over toothpaste already loaded onto a toothbrush. Peroxide may be swished in the mouth for up to one minute as long as it is spit out afterward. It may also be applied directly to the teeth with a toothbrush.
Baking soda and peroxide may be used together to form a paste. To use a baking soda peroxide paste you will need:
1 teaspoon peroxide
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix together baking soda and peroxide to form a paste. Scoop paste onto a toothbrush and use as a toothpaste for 3-5 minutes. Spit out when finished, washing mouth thoroughly afterward.
Safe and effective homemade toothpaste can be made from baking soda and peroxide with any brand toothpaste.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide
1 tablespoon toothpaste
Mix all three ingredients together. Use like regular toothpaste.
There is another all-natural way to whiten teeth. Strawberries contain an all-natural tooth whitening ingredient in them called malic acid, which acts as an all-natural surface whitener. Making a paste from mashed strawberries and baking soda will remove stains such as coffee, wine, and cigarette stains from teeth. Apples, pears, guavas, carrots and cucumbers also act as all-natural teeth whiteners, naturally scrubbing stains from teeth. Dark green, leafy vegetables act as a barrier to prevent stains by covering teeth with a protective film.
To use a strawberry whitener you will need:
1 large strawberry
teaspoon baking soda
Mix mashed strawberry and baking soda. Use a toothbrush to scoop up the paste and spread over teeth. Leave on teeth for five minutes. After paste has set for five minutes gargle with water and spit strawberry mixture in sink. Brush teeth with regular toothpaste (if strawberry mixture is left on teeth too long it may eat through tooth enamel). This all-natural tooth whitener may be used once per week. It won’t whiten teeth as well as dental bleach, but it does work and it is less costly.
There is one more way in which a patient can guarantee to maintain a whiter smile. Brush often, eat all-natural foods, and learn what types of foods stain teeth and avoid them. As a general rule, any foods that will stain a white t-shirt will stain teeth.