The 10 Best Ways to Brighten and Whiten Your Smile
Learning how to get whiter teeth can help you restore your smile’s youthful luminosity and keep your teeth looking bright and healthy.
Your teeth may appear dull or discolored for a variety of reasons. After all, your permanent teeth (also known as adult teeth) have been in contact with every single meal, snack, and drink you’ve ever consumed since you were a teenager! Alongside the darkening that can result from colored drinks, tobacco, and as a natural part of aging, genetics and certain medications can also impact the shade and brightness of your teeth.
No matter what may be causing your teeth to appear yellow or stained, you have options for putting the sparkle back in your smile and preventing future stains. From daily habits to transformative cosmetic dentistry treatments, here’s how to get whiter teeth and start loving your smile more today.
1. Go soft.
Did you know how you brush your teeth is just as important as how often? Though it seems that vigorously brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush may hold the key to whiter teeth, just the opposite can take place. Your teeth aren’t generally a fan of rough or abrasive techniques, which can wear down your tooth enamel, exposing the darker layer of dentin underneath.
To protect the health and radiance of your teeth, always use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush your teeth. You can angle your toothbrush 45 degrees to brush along the gumline, in addition to holding your toothbrush vertically to target the backs of your teeth. For the best results, clean your teeth at least once daily and visit your dentist twice annually for a thorough cleaning.
2. Switch to an electric toothbrush.
Like soap scum on your bathtub or porcelain sink, plaque buildup can make your teeth look yellow, dull, and dingy. Though only a professional dental cleaning can remove existing plaque buildup, you can help prevent it from forming in the first place by upgrading to an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes oscillate (swivel from side to side) while you brush your teeth, which helps to remove and loosen plaque and food debris from hard-to-reach spaces and crevices.
Alongside helping users to stay more focused while brushing, research has shown that consistently using an electric toothbrush can help you remove up to 21% more plaque than a manual toothbrush. And because the movement of electric toothbrushes tends to encourage gentle brushing, you may be able to further prevent enamel erosion from overzealous manual brushing.
3. Limit foods and drinks that stain.
In addition to the well-known suspects coffee, red wine, soda, fruit juices, and tea, some fruits and veggies—such as blueberries, kale, red grapes, cherries, and beets—contain highly pigmented compounds (chromogens) that stick to and stain the enamel of your teeth. If cutting out kale or cappuccinos is out of the question, try rinsing with water (#4) and drinking dark drinks out of a straw (#5). Just remember this rule of thumb: if it can stain your tongue or clothing, it can probably stain your teeth!
4. Rinse with water after eating or drinking.
Did you know that your mouth becomes acidic after you eat or drink? Though you may be done eating, the oral bacteria in your mouth are only beginning their feast on leftover food and beverage debris. As these oral bacteria digest, they create an acidic byproduct which temporarily softens the enamel of your teeth.
As acid makes your tooth enamel temporarily vulnerable, brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something sticky, sugary, starchy, or acidic can accelerate the enamel erosion that leads to yellowing, staining, tooth decay, and sensitivity. Instead, sip or swish with water after eating or drinking, and wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before brushing.
5. Use a straw.
Sipping on a special drink is one of life’s little luxuries—but not for your teeth. Dark, sugary, or acidic drinks can contribute to enamel erosion and stains, which may keep you from smiling. To reduce contact between these drinks and your teeth, sip from a straw instead of directly from the mug or glass. For a little splash of eco-friendly fashion and to ensure you always have a straw on hand, stash a reusable straw in your car, backpack, office, or handbag.
6. Say goodbye to nicotine.
Alongside protecting your overall health and longevity, cutting out nicotine is one of the best gifts you can give to your health and the appearance of your mouth and teeth. The tar and nicotine in tobacco and vaping products absorb easily into the microscopic pores in your tooth enamel, causing your teeth to go from pearly white to yellow or brown. Staining will continue to worsen with prolonged use, become darker and harder to remove.
7. Switch to a whitening toothpaste.
Whitening toothpastes combine gentle abrasives and peroxides to prevent stains and give your teeth a post-brush sheen. Just keep in mind that you won’t get dramatic results from a whitening toothpaste alone. The bleaching agents in whitening toothpastes are relatively weak when compared to professional whitening options, and aren’t in contact with your teeth for enough time to make the dramatic impact you’re likely seeking. Instead, consider whitening toothpastes as a daily maintenance routine that helps you prevent stains while adding a little brightness to your teeth.
8. Get a professional teeth whitening treatment.
At-home and in-office professional whitening treatments are one of the safest and most effective ways on how to get whiter teeth. They break down stains, whiten your teeth, and revive your smile’s youthful radiance. In-office whitening treatments combine a concentrated whitening gel and a specialized light for dramatic results in a single visit. At-home treatments use a prescription-strength gel and customized whitening trays for results you’ll love in just a few weeks.
In addition to producing dramatic and long-lasting whitening, both in-office and at-home whitening treatments also offer something no over-the-counter whitening product can duplicate: personalized care from your dentist. As an added bonus, if you also plan to make cosmetic improvements with bonding, porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, or tooth-colored fillings, whitening your teeth before those other treatments will allow your cosmetic dentist to match your restorations to brighter, whiter teeth.
9. Update your fillings, crowns, or bridges.
Restorative dental work—such as fillings, crowns, or bridges—used to mean a loss of your smile’s natural appearance. But thanks to tooth-colored fillings, porcelain crowns, and porcelain bridges, you can restore your oral health and function while preserving your smile’s natural-looking aesthetic.
Made of natural-looking composite resin, tooth-colored dental fillings maintain your smile’s beauty by replacing amalgam fillings or beautifully restoring a tooth that has active decay. Porcelain crowns and porcelain bridges are made of durable and lifelike ceramic or zirconia, and can replace old or failing restorations or repair a tooth that’s currently broken, cracked, discolored, or missing.
10. Elevate your smile with cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers.
Cosmetic dental bonding and porcelain veneers can help you achieve a whiter smile while correcting other cosmetic imperfections that are standing between you and your ideal smile. A cosmetic bonding treatment uses a tooth-colored resin to cover stains and discoloration, while a porcelain veneer treatment uses wafer-thin porcelain shells to envelop the front surface of targeted teeth.
The benefits of cosmetic bonding and porcelain veneers don’t end with a whiter, brighter smile. Both cosmetic treatments can be used to correct teeth that are misshapen, chipped, spaced, or cracked, while porcelain veneers can also be used to correct a “gummy smile” when combined with gum contouring, and to make your smile more even and straight (known as Instant Orthodontics).
Discovering how to get whiter teeth is as simple as visiting Dr. Alhadef at your local cosmetic dentist studio in Dallas, TX. Dr. Alhadef shares his technical and artistic skill with every patient, crafting unique smiles that compliment your features and appearance. Schedule your cosmetic consultation today, and get ready to love your smile’s radiance.