We’re a nation of tea drinkers. Yet sadly, drinking tea and coffee is one of the biggest causes of tooth discoloration. If you don’t want to give up your hot drinks, find yourself spending a fortune on dental products - or perhaps professional teeth-whitening kit is just not for you - we’ve got the perfect tips on how to keep those pearly whites looking healthy and bright the natural way.
- Use bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda is a natural cleaning, whitening and oxidising agent and is included in many toothpastes. Try mixing a quarter teaspoon of bicarb with water and applying this to the teeth with your toothbrush. Alternatively add the bicarbonate of soda to a cheap toothpaste. It will not damage your teeth in any way but will make them appear whiter over time.
- Eat strawberries
They contain malic acid which is a natural cleanser to help whiten your teeth.
- Warm salt water
Helps both whiten your teeth naturally and looks after your gums (as it is a natural antibacterial). Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm kettle boiled water (cool it down) and use it as mouthwash.
- Eat white foods
The whiter the foods you eat the whiter your teeth will be. Eat chicken, rice and fish. Avoid pigmented foods such as beetroot, blueberries, carrots and Chinese/Indian takeaway (which has lots of tumeric or food colourings).
- Eat apples
Like strawberries, apples contain malic acid which make them great for cleansing teeth naturally.
- Drink water or milk
The calcium in milk helps strengthen tooth enamel and structure as well as jaw bone. You can also drink lemonade or tonic water, since they act as natural cleansers which wash the plaque away. If you’re a wine drinker, try swapping red with white.
- Use an electric toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes can remove up to 70% more plaque than manual toothbrushes alone. This is because they vibrate and rotate in a more efficient and effective way than manual brushing alone.
- Eat cheese
Cheese is another great naturally cleansing food that can strengthen the teeth. It contains calcium and also has a cleansing surface structure (especially hard cheese like cheddar).
- Use coconut oil as mouthwash
Use a tablespoon of coconut oil and swill in the mouth for as long as you can. The longer the better (ideally 15 mins). This removes bacteria and helps prevent plaque and stains from sticking to teeth by lubricating them.
- See your dentist
Very few of us enjoy this, but it’s important to have the teeth cleaned and checked regularly. Only your dentist can check thoroughly for cavities which you might not suspect. X-Rays may be required to check the inside of the teeth and jaws.
Charcoal is also another effective way to help clean and whiten your teeth. It’s a 100% natural tooth polish made from activated coconut shell charcoal. It strengths gums, removes toxins from the mouth and absorbs bacteria and is affordable.
•Tips from dentist, Dr Richard Marques,
- For more health and beauty tips see Yours Magazine, out every fortnight, on a Tuesday.