Professional teeth whitening undoubtedly offers fantastic results, and in the hands of a dentist it’s very safe. But if you’re on the lookout for a more affordable way to brighten your smile, there are some cost effective, tried and tested methods we can recommend.
Brush with bravo
Simply brushing regularly can go a long way towards keeping your teeth whiter and brighter. A good oral hygiene routine – including regular trips to the dentist – will help to prevent and minimise stains and stop the formation of cavity-causing plaque and tartar (pictured below). While plaque is colourless, tartar (hardened plaque) can be yellow or even brown. It usually starts to build up between teeth and around the gum line – so don’t forget to floss too.
Visit the hygienist
If you do spot any tartar (also known as calculus), you’ll need to see a hygienist for a thorough clean. You won’t be able to remove it by brushing alone unfortunately. You’ll be amazed at the difference that one visit to a hygienist can achieve. By scaling away plaque, tartar and surface stains, it can visibly improve the look and feel of your teeth.
Avoid foods that stain
Some foods and drinks are more likely to stain your teeth all the shades of the rainbow. Culprits include tea, coffee, red wine, dark berries, tomato sauce, curries, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Acidic and sugary drinks can also make your enamel softer temporarily, leaving your teeth more susceptible to stains.
As well as limiting offending foods, you can prevent stains by drinking water and brushing regularly. We don’t recommend brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything sugary or acidic though. While your enamel is softer it’s more vulnerable to damage, so wait at least 30 minutes.
Crunch on a carrot
Some foods can actually help you to avoid stains. Crunchy vegetables make a great substitute toothbrush when the real thing isn’t close at hand. Simply crunch on some crudités to give your teeth a quick polish. Their fibre-rich texture will help to remove food particles and prevent surface stains, plaque and tartar.
Smoking is a sure-fire way to stain your smile. More importantly, it causes gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer. It’s the tar and nicotine in tobacco that stains your teeth, turning them yellow and eventually brown. Even vaping – which usually contains nicotine but no tar – can turn your teeth an undesirable shade of yellow. For help and advice on quitting, visit NHS Quit Smoking.
Explore our blog for more information and advice on teeth whitening and dental health.