Teeth yellowing usually occurs due to staining or enamel thinning. The latter is the layer that’s naturally almost white. It protects your teeth’s structure. The layer beneath it, called the dentin, is what darkens your teeth. Anything from acidic foods to gum disease can wear it down.
So can age. Some people also have naturally thinner enamel. The wearing down of the enamel is also known to be one of the many long-term side effects of bulimia.
Some foods and coffee can also wear down the enamel. So can some antibiotics and tobacco.
Fortunately, even if you’re concerned about OTC whitening products, you don’t need to just live with the discoloration.
Many over-the-counter and online whiteners are pricey and can contain toxic chemicals that bleach your teeth. This has become an increasing concern to many people. The topmost harmful ingredient in those products is sodium chlorite. This has been known to soften and cause abrasions to the teeth. As a result, many whitening kits containing more than 33 percent of hydrogen peroxide have been pulled off the market. They were causing a lot of complications, from mouth infections to gum shrinkage.
Experts warn you to exercise a lot of caution about any whiteners you buy online or over-the-counter. Some manufacturers are notorious for high levels of hydrogen peroxide but also for putting banned ingredients into their products. You probably don’t want to put that kind of price tag on your teeth and your overall health.
Not to fret. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can whiten your teeth without spending a lot of money and without harsh chemicals.
Baking soda is just abrasive enough to remove teeth stains and contains alkaline, which prevents bacteria growth. Our ancestors used it before modern toothpaste was invented.
Baking soda doesn’t produce whitening effects overnight by itself. However, it is known to show a significant difference over time. Studies have also shown that toothpaste containing baking soda tends to be better at removing plaque and whitening.
If you want to try brushing with baking soda by itself, mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water is all it takes.
Using about one to three percent of peroxide can actually help whiten your teeth. For example, toothpaste that contains baking soda with one percent peroxide is effective at whitening teeth. So can using up to three percent of peroxide as a mouthwash.
It’s still recommended to use it just a few times a week to avoid the side effects mentioned above. Overuse can also lead to enamel erosion.
You can also mix a DIY toothpaste of two teaspoons of peroxide with one teaspoon of baking soda.
Overall, the best thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy is to maintain good oral hygiene. That includes brushing and flossing twice a day. Also, be sure to get the gums, backs of the teeth, and tongue. Most dentists still recommend fluoride toothpaste.