According to statistics from an American doctor and researcher, one in five people actively make a point of concealing their teeth in photos. There are a couple of points that this statistic immediately raises. First, this is a guy in America, home of the impossibly white smile, and a country that makes a hobby of reminding us how superior Americans are to Brits when it comes to dental hygiene. The second is that he is probably lowballing us – what he really means is one in five admit to concealing their teeth.
Whichever way you look at it, the conclusion is the same – keeping teeth sparkly white in between visits to the dentist is no easy thing, particularly if your daily routine involves any combination of tea, coffee, tobacco or red wine.
But help is at hand. We spoke to a leading dentist in Dublin to get some tips on how to achieve whiter teeth without resorting to those harsh-looking teeth whiteners.
1) Activated charcoal
Yes, this is exactly the same stuff as you will see in your barbecue, although we wouldn’t recommend eating it from there. It binds to whatever is causing the staining, for example coffee or wine, and gently lifts it from your teeth.
You can buy activated charcoal online or in any number of high street stores. Mix it into a paste, apply it to the teeth and give it three minutes or so before rinsing off.
Always follow the instructions, and bear in mind that this is not something you should be doing every day, as over use could damage the enamel. But applied once or twice a week, it is a great way to keep that smile gleaming.
This probably sounds like a crazy idea – surely turmeric will turn your teeth yellow? Actually, it tightens the gums and removes plaque. You can make a turmeric toothpaste at home. Simply mix two parts turmeric powder to one part baking soda and one part coconut oil, so that they form a paste. Once prepared, store in a cool place.
Use it the same way you would normal toothpaste and brush for two minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water.
3) Baking soda
Sometimes, the traditional remedies work best. Baking soda has been used for years to remove stains from almost anything, so it should come as no surprise that it is a major ingredient of toothpaste.
You can make your own baking soda toothpaste, but like the charcoal, it can cause damage if you overdo it, so use it sparingly to give your teeth some extra shine.
4) Coconut oil
As well as mixing it with turmeric, coconut oil on its own can create some great results. Its antibacterial qualities reduce the formation of plaque. Use it as you would a mouthwash, swilling one tablespoon around the mouth for five minutes every morning.
5) Apple cider vinegar
This works in much the same way as the coconut oil, as it has similar antibacterial qualities. Dilute one part vinegar to two parts water to create a mouth wash that will keep your smile whiter.