Everyone admires having shiny white teeth as they make our face look pretty and boost confidence. Moreover, ill-maintained and crooked teeth are a major cause of stress and anxiety for several humans. However, the time of worry has gone by as there have been many products that are now available for teeth whitening and that, a lot of professional and home remedies have been tried and tested over the years.

It is vital to know the causes of teeth staining. Two types of stains occur on our teeth: Extrinsic and intrinsic stains. The extrinsic stains occur on enamel which is the outer layer of the tooth and can be due to excessive intake of coffee, wine, pan or gutka, cigarette, and other food products and drinks. The other type of stains are intrinsic stains which occur on the dentin, the inner structure of the tooth. These stains can occur due to the effect of medications on the tooth structure (such as tetracycline intake during pregnancy), amalgam filling, ageing, etc.

There are different home-based remedies and other natural ways that help in teeth whitening.

Home tooth whitening products

Many products can be used at home for tooth whitening, including kits, strips, toothpaste, and rinses.

Tooth-whitening strips: They can be used directly on the teeth and used once or twice in 10 to 14 days. These strips are coated with peroxide-based whitening gel and help eliminate stains, improving the shade of teeth up to 2-3 times. However, they may lead to uneven teeth whitening.

Tray-based teeth bleaching systems: This method consists of two elements: a tray in the form of a mouthguard and peroxide-based bleaching gel. The tray is filled with peroxide-based bleaching gel and is placed over the teeth. It can be placed for one to several hours per day for up to four weeks.

Whitening Toothpaste and Rinses: Apart from the kits and strips, toothpaste, gels, and rinses help remove surface stains. These products contain abrasives, chemicals, or polishing agents and help remove mild to moderate stains. However, it does not whiten teeth that are excessively discoloured and may cause sensitivity after regular use.

Tooth-whitening kits: These kit components contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, a type of bleaching agent that removes deep and surface stains and facilitates teeth-whitening. There are two ways of using this kit, depending on the contents provided by the manufacturer. In some kits, the peroxide-based gel can be applied using a brush, whereas, in some other kits, the gel is available with a tray mould. The patient’s tray has to be worn for 30 to 60 minutes a week or as per the shade required.

The time of worry has gone by as there have been many products that are now available for teeth whitening and that, a lot of professional and home remedies have been tried and tested over the years.

Natural Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

There are a few natural ways by which we can whiten our teeth.

Brush your teeth: It is imperative to brush your teeth twice daily, once in the morning and once after the meal at night. This is important because the food we consume gets deposited on the surface and margins of teeth and can cause tooth decay. Brushing helps in removing the food debris, bacteria and maintains overall oral hygiene.

Rinse your mouth after every meal: It is imperative to rinse your mouth after every meal, as the food consumed gets stuck to the teeth and forms plaque, which is the main factor responsible for tooth decay. This plaque also leads to gingival problems like gum bleeding and tooth mobility.

Eat chewy food: Firm foods like apples, beetroot, raw carrots, celery, and popcorn, etc., increase the salivary flow and help in cleaning the teeth.

Avoid excessive smoking and chewing gutka/pan: Smoking causes black stains on teeth, and chewing gutka, and pan causes dark brown discolouration on the teeth. This occurs due to the presence of tobacco which enters through the porous enamel and causes staining.

Become conscious about your beverages: Excessive consumption of coffee, wine, and drinks like coca-cola lead to the staining of enamel. These drinks contain chromogens that turn our teeth yellow. It is advised to rinse your mouth after consuming such beverages.