Has your smile lost its shine?

According the Delta Dental Plan Association, over 1,000 Americans surveyed said that they think a person’s smile is the most important physical trait on the body. In fact, 64% of people think that a good smile makes a person seem more successful in life. Unfortunately, it’s all too normal for your teeth to gray and get stains over time – blame it on aging! Even relatively harmless foods like red wine, coffee and blue and black berries can contribute to staining. Austin Family Dentistry offers teeth whitening services and cosmetic dentistry options at both our Little Rock and Maumelle locations, but there are several preventative steps and in home remedies you can use to maintain a healthy smile. 

Home Tooth-Whitening Kit

You can use an in-home tooth-whitening kit for simple stains ranging from coffee, te a and certain types of foods. Just apply the gel for 30-45 minutes per day. You’ll be sure to see results within a couple of weeks. This tooth-whitening bleach is made with carbamide peroxide, which penetrates even the deepest types of stains. You can either apply this gel with a brush, or use a tray.

Baking Soda & Lemon Juice/Water

This age old trick has been around for years – and it works. Baking soda is made up of sodium bicarbonate which eliminates surface stains from teeth. This formula should be used moderately because it can cause damage to your tooth enamel over time and it won’t provide the fluoride you need to combat cavities. But, if you use it sparingly, it can be very effective in cleaning tooth stains. Just combine a teaspoon of baking soda, and a small amount of lemon juice (or water) to make a paste, then apply the paste on a tooth brush and scrub your teeth the way you normally would. If you use lemon juice, leave the paste on for 1 minute. If it’s water, leave it on for 3 minutes. Lemon juice is more acidic than water and can hurt your teeth if you overuse it, so make sure to supplement water for lemon juice every other time you apply.

Whitening Strips

We’re all pretty familiar with whitening strips, but did you know that you can see results within a few days? These strips are coated with peroxide-based whitening gel and remove the build up of stains from teeth within a few uses. They fit comfortably around your teeth and only need to be applied for a 2-3 minutes a day.

Whitening Toothpaste

Unlike some of the products listed above, whitening toothpaste won’t actually change the color of your teeth, but they’re an affordable solution to remove mild surface stains. Like baking soda and lemon juice, use it sparingly and remember to keep brushing your teeth with fluoride heavy toothpaste. 

Natural Cleansing Foods

Apples, strawberries, raisins, celery, pears, and carrots are all natural cleansing agents that trigger saliva to wash away food and combat tooth decay. Strawberries, for instance, contain astringent and vitamin C that fight stains and plaque build up. Likewise, malic acid in apples removes surface stains on teeth. If you don’t like eating apples and strawberries, you can buy sugarless gum to trigger saliva. It works the same way that these super foods do. 

Take Preventative Measures

Remember, you can take preventative measures to keep your teeth white. We recommend lowering you intake of dark beverages, like soda, coffee, dark juice and red wine. Smoking and tobacco use are the most detrimental substances for your teeth. Smoking not only gives you deep, permanent stains, but it also causes bad breathe and gingivitis (gum disease).

As your family and friends are coming into town for the holidays, take this opportunity to brighten your smile by following these simple and easy teeth whitening tricks. The difference that a healthy, white smile brings is truly life changing.