If your teeth are looking a little dull, don't feel too terrible about those not-so-pearly whites -- daily life and aging can result in a somewhat lackluster smile, even if you're living a healthy, hygienic life. Whether this rings true or you have a penchant for red wine or coffee and don't give much thought to your toothpaste's particular benefits, you may need to brush up on some tips that can help you achieve extremely white teeth.
1. Smart Brushing
If you already have white teeth and just need a nudge to take your smile up a notch or you simply want to approach whitening through gentle methods, brushing is a solid start. Always use a soft toothbrush; while it seems counter-intuitive, hard brushes can damage your teeth while soft brushes gently polish them. Reach for baking soda once a week, either creating a paste of baking soda and water or adding the baking soda to your toothpaste. This abrasive formula helps remove stains. Also consider whitening toothpastes, which are formulated to brighten those chompers -- this product is even available for sensitive teeth. Particularly if you're pregnant or nursing, certain options are off the table -- think chemicals and cosmetic procedures. Always read package warnings to make sure it is safe for use when pregnant or nursing.
2. Healthy Habits
Choose your foods and drinks carefully to avoid creating stains. Avoid staining foods, or quickly rinse or brush your teeth following the consumption of these favorites. Red wine, coffee, tea, barbecue sauce and mustard have great staining power and will definitely compromise white teeth if you've just had them bleached. Gravitate toward natural plant foods that crunch, such as apples and celery, which act as nature's toothbrush to combat stains instead of causing them.
3. Color Effects
The colors you wear can greatly effect how white your teeth look. Warm colors that look hot to the touch, such as orange, red and yellow, can make your teeth look yellow rather than white, particularly since teeth are naturally less than bright white. Blue-based, cool colors -- such as purple, cool pinks and blues -- cool down the tone of your teeth, making them look extra white. So reach for a lavender or blue top and blue-based lipsticks and avoid warm colors in your makeup and wardrobe for a whiter smile.
4. Cosmetic Options
Easy at-home solutions include whitening strips and light-activated systems that bring your teeth into extremely white territory faster than brushing and careful product selection alone. For even more help, reach out to your dentist. Ask for the removal of old crowns and fillings and have everything replaced with white-hued work for a more uniform smile. Opt for an in-office bleaching treatment for the whitest teeth possible. Remember to let your dentist know if you are pregnant or nursing to make sure you are making the safest choices for you and your family.
- Women's Health: 15 Ways to Whiter Teeth
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- Real Simple: Seven Ways to Get Whiter Teeth
- O Magazine: Seven Ways to Make Over Your Smile
- InStyle: Bright White Teeth
- Allure: The 10 Commandments of White Teeth
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