Get Whiter Teeth: Dr. Gordon Trent Austin’s 10 Easy Home Remedies
“A brilliant smile can change your life,” says Dr. Gordon Trent Austin, a third generation dentist and Honorable Fellow to the Georgia Dental Association. In fact, a beautiful smile outranks eyes, hair, and the body as the most attractive physical feature according to an American Dental Association survey.
Thankfully, a great smile doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are easy, everyday things anyone can do to get and maintain a brighter, whiter smile. Here are Dr. Gordon Trent Austin’s favorite frugal home treatments to keep your pearly whites as white as they can be – no bleaching required.
Dr. Gordon Trent Austin’s Teeth Whitening Tips
1. Eat Foods That Naturally Whiten Your Teeth
Fruits and veggies that are crunchy, like apples, carrots, and celery, are nature’s toothbrushes. These foods gently scrub your teeth as you bite into them, but they are not abrasive enough to harm your enamel. They also increase saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria, preventing them from staining or causing halitosis (bad breath).
2. Use Makeup Effectively
If you wear lipstick, pick colors with blue and pink-based undertones to minimize yellowness in teeth. Lipstick colors like berry, rosy pink, plum, and cherry pink create a bold contrast and give the illusion of whiter teeth. Avoid brown- and orange-toned lipsticks, as they tend to make your teeth look yellow.
3. Put Red Food Coloring on Your Gums
Putting a staining agent near your teeth seems counter-intuitive. But it really works, says professional makeup artist Andrea Claire. She recommends using a tiny bit of red food coloring gently rubbed into gums with a soft toothbrush to make your gums look a healthy red, and that will make teeth look whiter by comparison.
4. Avoid Staining Foods
Anything that can stain a person’s shirt can also stain their teeth. If you drink red wine, coffee, or soda, you might find it hard to keep your teeth white.
If you must indulge, finish these drinks quickly instead of sipping on them throughout the day. And don’t forget to use a straw to avoid getting the drinks on your teeth, or rinse your mouth with water right after you finish.
5. Look Tan
Using some bronzer or self tanner can make your teeth look white by comparison. Be careful not to go overboard; a bright orange tan will actually make your teeth look more yellow.
6. Keep Good Oral Hygiene
If you don’t floss or brush regularly, your smile will turn dull and yellow. It's not enough to brush – make sure you are brushing correctly. Brushing too hard will strip away the enamel and allow the underlying layer of yellowish dentin to become more visible.
Also, make sure you are changing out your toothbrushes every three to four months to get the most out of your brushing sessions. Toothbrushes with worn bristles will not effectively remove stains and bacteria.
7. Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the fastest ways to get teeth to take on a yellow appearance notes Dr. Gordon Trent Austin. Smoking also causes fine lines and wrinkles to form around the mouth, making your look older.
8. Brush 30 Minutes After Meals
Swish water for 30 seconds after eating to prevent stains. Don’t brush right after meals, though. Wait at least 30 minutes after meals to brush, because your enamel is highly sensitive right after eating, making brushing too abrasive.
9. Snack on Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum increases saliva production, which helps keep bacteria in check. The natural sweetener Xylitol used in some sugar-free gums cannot be digested by the bacteria that cause plaque, which makes gums made with it doubly helpful.
If you don’t like gum, try snacking on raisins between meals. Raisins are rich with phytochemicals that suppress growth of bacteria associated with plaque and gum disease, according to a study from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
10. Try Natural Teeth Whitening Kits
Instead of the harsh chemicals found in expensive teeth whitening kits, try these simple tricks for getting a healthy smile:
- Banana Peel Treatment. Rub a banana peel on your teeth for two minutes. Wait 15 minutes, and then brush your teeth. Banana peels contain potassium, manganese, and magnesium, which are natural whiteners.
- Strawberry Treatment. Strawberries have malic acid, a key ingredient in teeth whitening products. Mash them up, and then apply to your teeth for two to three minutes. Rinse off, and brush your teeth.
- Baking Soda Treatment. Mix baking soda, a mild abrasive that's effective at removing stains, with a bit of salt, then apply to teeth. Leave it on for two to three minutes and rinse. You can also add a bit of baking soda to your toothpaste for regular whitening.
- Lemon Treatment. The high acid level in lemons can work as a powerful bleaching agent. Rub lemon peel on your teeth, or apply a mixture of one part lemon juice and one part water. Don’t do this for more than twice a week, though. Too much acid will destroy the enamel.
Do you already use these tips from Dr. Gordon Trent Austin to naturally whiten your teeth?
Survey Finds Smile is Most Attractive Physical Feature, American Dental Association.
Makeup Tricks to Make Your Teeth Look White, Best Health Magazine.
Raisins as a Functional Food for Oral Health, Science Daily.