The path to pearly whites
Teeth aren’t meant to be totally white—their natural color is actually light yellow to light yellow-red. But as you age, your teeth tend to darken even more. Over time, your tooth surface enamel cracks and erodes, exposing dentin, the less dense interior of the tooth, which absorbs food color. Stains also latch onto the plaque and tartar buildup on and between teeth. Some food and drink, including coffee, tea, colas, smoke, acidic juices, certain medications, and highly pigmented foods, can all stain your teeth.The yellower your tooth stains, the easier it will be to remove them. Many common stains can be cleaned and removed between professional dental cleanings and treatments with these common home remedies.
Sip through a straw
To prevent staining, or restaining your teeth after you’ve had them whitened, drink beverages such as coffee, soda, and tea through a straw to minimize their contact with your teeth surfaces. It can significantly limit your exposure and help keep your teeth whiter for longer, says John C. Moon, DDS, a cosmetic and general dentist in Half Moon Bay, CA
Chase wine or coffee with whitening foods
Crunchy foods, including apples, celery, and carrots, act like little toothbrushes when you chew them, and they help scrub away stubborn stains over time. The cleansing effect on your teeth may be noticeable—if ever so slightly—especially if you’re a coffee drinker who wasn’t eating apples every day to begin with. The mildly acidic nature and astringent quality of apples, combined with their rough, fiber-rich flesh, makes them the ideal food for cleansing and brightening teeth.
Choose the right lipstick
“Lipstick colors with blue undertones make teeth appear brighter,” explains says New York City-based makeup artist Jessica Liebeskind. To figure out which of your lipsticks fit the bill, she recommends lining up three or four shades—in comparison to each other, it will be more obvious which are blue-based and which have yellow or gold undertones that bring out the yellow in teeth.
Mix your own whitener
Brushing with a paste made of baking soda and water a few times a month removes superficial staining and whitens teeth by a shade or two. “The graininess neutralizes stains and polishes teeth but isn’t abrasive enough to wear down your enamel,” says Jennifer Jablow, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in New York City.
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