Everyone wants a white, healthy smile. You can spend money on chemical-based at-home whitening treatments or just look in your cupboards. Chances are, you have several natural whitening remedies in your kitchen right now. Here are eight things you can do to whiten your teeth at home, without all of the chemicals.
Baking soda is a natural abrasive that acts as a great all-purpose cleaner. You can use it around your home to clean a variety of surfaces, draw out odors, polish metal surfaces, clean countertops, exfoliate your face and, yes, whiten your teeth. You can either mix a small amount of baking soda with your regular toothpaste or just use it straight with a little water. The baking soda scrubs away surface stains, leaving your teeth whiter.
Take caution when using baking soda to whiten your teeth. The abrasive nature that removes stains can also damage the enamel. This is especially true if you consume a lot of acidic foods and drinks, like lemons, soda and coffee.
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide once a week helps prevent new bacteria from growing in your mouth. Mix a 50/50 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide with water. The rinse also helps prevent canker sores.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria on your toothbrush; just soak the end of your toothbrush in a cup filled with it for 10 minutes before use. A bacteria-free toothbrush is a great way to start your oral hygiene routine.
Chocolate has natural antibacterial properties. Eating chocolate neutralizes bacteria in your mouth, helping prevent tooth decay. For the best results, choose a dark chocolate with a low sugar content.
Strawberries contain malic acid, a substance shown to remove stains from teeth. Eating strawberries may help remove stains or at least prevent new stains from forming. To boost the stain removing power of strawberries, crush them up and mix them with baking soda to use as a whitening toothpaste. The previous warning about baking soda still applies. Don’t use this remedy too often or if you have weakened enamel. Strawberries also contain natural sugar, so rinse your mouth thoroughly afterwards to prevent tooth decay.
Apples stimulate saliva production to help wash away harmful bacteria that can damage or discolor your teeth. They also have a natural abrasive effect to help remove food particles from your teeth. Chewing an apple has a similar effect as brushing your teeth. Like strawberries, apples also contain malic acid, which can naturally remove stains.
The lactic acid in dairy products prevents tooth decay and strengthens enamel. Cheese also stimulates saliva production and the fat keeps bacteria from sticking to the teeth. Eating hard cheese after every meal has been shown to promote a healthy smile. Cheese is also high in calcium, which can strengthen teeth and prevent bone loss.
According to Dr. Oz, raisins stimulate saliva production. As has been mentioned, saliva washes away bacteria and helps neutralize acid.
Take advantage of all of these delicious foods that whiten and strengthen teeth by combining them into a healthy salad. Mix apple cubes, strawberry quarters and raisins together and top it with a little parmesan cheese. It is sure to be the tastiest thing you have ever done for your teeth.
Even though these things can go a long way to giving you a gleaming white smile, it may not be enough if you have significant discoloration. Considering getting your teeth professionally whitened and then use these techniques to maintain it.
Gum disease, when left untreated, can cause a host of dental problems. In fact, gum disease is one of the biggest factors in tooth loss. As the disease undermines the tooth’s support structure, the tooth becomes loose and weak. Eventually, the tooth falls out or is pulled out or broken by forces that would not normally harm your teeth. To prevent advanced gum disease from ruining your smile, watch out for these four signs that you may have a problem.
Bleeding gums is the first sign of gum disease. Most people initially notice their gums bleeding when they brush their teeth. If brush your teeth too hard, causing damage to the gums, you can expect them to bleed. This is not necessarily a sign of gum disease, but may lead to gum disease if you continue to do it. When gently brushing your teeth with a soft brush, however, you should not experience bleeding. If you do, then there is a good chance you have developed early stages of gum disease. Bleeding gums can also be a sign of other illnesses, such as diabetes or blood clotting disorders, so make sure to see a health professional as soon as you notice the bleeding.
If your gums are healthy, they should be a uniform pink color and a firm texture. If your gums look red or purple or appear swollen it is a sign of gum disease. Look closely at the areas around and between your teeth. In early stages of gum disease these areas are the first to show signs. If they are red and puffy you should visit a dentist as soon as possible.
As gum disease advances it can move into the surround bones and ligaments. The infection damages the bone and ligament tissue, undermining the support structure of your teeth. In a healthy adult, the teeth should be firm and stable. If you can wiggle any of your teeth it is a sign that the supporting tissue has been damaged. Ignoring this sign of gum disease almost guarantees tooth loss.
There are many causes of bad breath; bacteria on the tongue, kidney disease, poor diet and gum disease are just some of the causes. Recent research suggests that 90% of bad breath is caused by oral bacteria. Plaque buildup under the gums is one of the main causes. Your dentist offers treatments that can reduce or eliminate this buildup. Along with traditional cleaning methods, lasers can be used to target and remove plaque. Gums and mints may cover up the bad breath, but they do not treat the underlying cause. It may be embarrassing to talk about, but ignoring persistent bad breath could put your health at risk.
If you notice any of these signs of gum disease, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Early intervention can save your teeth and prevent the need for more costly treatments in the future.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that results in high blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you are susceptible to a number of related conditions, including an increased risk of oral health problems. Understanding this increased risk can help you stave off oral disease and keep your teeth healthy.
One of the most common oral complications found in patients with diabetes is gum disease. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue. As the disease progresses it can cause the gums to bleed, appear red and puffy and become painful or tender. The gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where plaque and bacteria accumulate. If your gums bleed when you gently brush them with a soft toothbrush, you may have gingivitis.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it develops into periodontitis. At this stage, the infection causes damage to the jawbone and ligaments that support the teeth, making them loose. The gum tissue further recedes, leading to exposed nerve endings that can make the teeth very sensitive. If you have loose teeth that are extremely sensitive, you may be suffering from periodontitis.
There are several reasons why a person with diabetes has an increased risk of gum disease. If you are diabetic, your saliva may contain increased amounts of sugar. This extra sugar makes it easier for bacteria to thrive inside your mouth. When your diabetes is poorly controlled, you are even more susceptible to these bacteria, because you heal more slowly. People with diabetes are also prone to dry mouth. Dry mouth can irritate the gums. The lack of saliva to wash away bacteria allows them to set into the irritated gum tissue, promoting further gum disease.
Thrush is a fungal infection common in people with diabetes. It presents as white sores on the mouth and tongue. Underneath the white patches, you see red tissue that bleeds easily. People with diabetes are more susceptible to thrust because they frequently take antibiotics. Your mouth maintains a natural balance of bacteria and fungus. If antibiotics kill too many bacteria, the fungus is able multiply more easily, leading to fungal infection. High blood sugar also contributes to the spread of thrush, because the fungi feed off of the extra sugar.
The presence of high levels of sugar in the saliva can also promote tooth decay. The bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acid. The increased acidity damages the enamel that protects your teeth from decay. The presence of gum disease exacerbates this problem, as pockets between the gums and teeth house more plaque and bacteria. Tooth decay that is left untreated causes significant pain and can even lead to oral abscesses.
All of these conditions are most common in individuals with uncontrolled diabetes. If sugar levels are kept in check, you are less likely to have oral health problems. Follow all of your doctor’s orders. Take medications as prescribed. Avoid sugary foods and simple carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar levels. Drink plenty of water to combat dry mouth.
Everyone needs to practice good oral hygiene, but if you have diabetes, the increased risk for oral disease makes it especially important.
Just because you are diabetic doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to suffering from oral health issues and losing your teeth. Take precautions to prevent illness; and, know the signs of illness so that you can get help before it is too late.
When your dentist finds tooth decay, to prevent pain and further decay, you need to have the decay removed. Removing the decay leaves a void in your tooth that must be filled. There are several filling options available; one of the more common but also more controversial options is an amalgam filling.
An amalgam filling is an alloy made from mercury and other metals, such as copper, silver and tin. Your dentist prepares an amalgam filling by mixing liquid mercury with a powder containing the other metal components. Millions of dental patients in the United Kingdom receive amalgam fillings every year.
There are several advantages to amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are relatively inexpensive when compared to other filling options. The dental work can be completed in just one visit. The fillings are very strong, which is especially important for back teeth that must withstand extreme bite forces. These advantages are why amalgam fillings are among the most popular options.
Amalgam fillings also have several disadvantages. Following placement, amalgam fillings can cause extreme hot and cold sensitivity. This should subside in a few weeks; if it doesn’t, you need to return to your dentist. In rare cases, some patients may develop an allergy to the mercury or one of the other metals in the amalgam compound. If you notice an itchy skin rash following placement, you may need to have the filling replaced with a different material. Pregnant women should not get amalgam fillings, as mercury passes through the placenta barrier and can harm the fetus. The most common complaint about amalgam fillings is the unattractive appearance. The silver color may make you feel less confident about your smile and may show in the back teeth when you laugh.
The controversy surrounding amalgams has to do with the mercury content. When chewing, the amalgam releases small amounts of mercury vapor that you then inhale. Health agencies say that the mercury content is too low to harm you. People opposed to amalgams, however, believe that the potential side effects have not been studied thoroughly enough. Amalgams have been in use for over a hundred years; and, most studies suggest that the only real danger is to your dentist, who handles the liquid mercury on a regular basis.
If you are concerned about the possible disadvantages associated with amalgam fillings, talk to your dentist about it. Given all of the information about risks, costs and aesthetics you can make the best decision for your long-term health and comfort.
Whether it’s listening to your favorite music or reading a good book, distracting yourself while you’re heading toward the dental office, waiting outside or even when having a regular dental examination can help you fight dental phobia. You may consider taking your iPod with you or bringing something that’ll keep you busy and entertained on your way to the dental office or during those waiting hours. These things will keep your mind from thinking about those injections or dental drills. Although distracting yourself is important to fight those fears at the dental office, it doesn’t mean that you can distract or annoy other people by those loud cell phone conversations or play loud music or video games.
Using relaxation techniques
Relaxation is an extremely important element in terms of fighting stress and anxiety of any kind. Breathing deeply or thinking only about things that make you happy will keep your mind from brooding about the pain or creepy feeling you might have at the dental office.
Eating before your dental visit
Many people have this bad habit of coming to the dental office with an empty stomach. While you may find it difficult to eat something when you’re stressed or worried, you can’t ignore the fact that having the stomach twist and roll the whole time will only make your ex