Health

Want White Teeth? Practice These Habits

Advice on how to whiten your teeth is everywhere these days. With so many products designed to whiten teeth it can be hard to remember there are natural steps to take first in protecting your teeth from stains that yellow or dull tooth enamel.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about whitening your teeth is not staining them in the first place. If you learn to avoid foods that deeply stain your teeth and adopt foods that actually help maintain dental health, you have a greater chance of keeping your teeth white and clean your whole lifetime.

Honey Crisp your way to white teeth

That clean teeth feeling you get from biting into an apple is not imagined. Apples actually have a chemical called malic acid that is the same substance used in teeth whitening products. Apples and vegetables with fibrous texture also perform a mechanical favor for your teeth, as broccoli, fresh carrots and celery all rub away food deposits and “scrub down” your teeth. They also get your mouth watering, and saliva reduces the potential for stains from other foods.

Always drink clear water after eating

A glass of fresh, clear water rinses away the “junk” that otherwise hangs around to stain your teeth.

Go Basic With Baking Soda

Good old baking soda can be made into a paste, that when combined with a touch of salt, makes a whitener that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. But be sure to wash it all out following application, because baking soda has a bit of grit to it that can wear down your enamel.

Holy Hydrogen Peroxide!

Like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide has bleaching capabilities when used correctly. H2O2 is also an antiseptic and is used in a number of teeth cleaning products. So you can go straight to the source by mixing hydrogen peroxide with water and rinsing your teeth like a mouthwash. Don’t worry, it’s safe to use—the store-bought solutions are usually about 3 percent—and spit it out afterwards.

Watch out for wine, but find a friend in dark chocolate

While both red wine and dark chocolate have been praised for their properties that help in reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, a steady diet of red wine is known to be hard on tooth whiteness.

Red wine contains natural dyes, acids and tannins that work together to stain your teeth. The acids soften up the enamel, allowing those dyes and tannins to soak in. Dark chocolate actually works in the opposite direction if you choose a chocolate that is as close to the cocoa bean as possible.

Look for chocolate that’s labeled 86 to 90 percent cocoa and you’ll avoid sugar in the process as well. Cocoa beans also hold antioxidants that are good for your teeth. That means the more bitter the chocolate the better for your teeth! Yum!

So I hate to recommend something so deliciously balanced as drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate together, but it has been known to happen.

These hints show that good habits can keep your teeth healthy, so smile and enjoy!