“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
~ Mother Teresa
One thing that can make a lot of us feel more confident about how we smile is the color of our teeth.
Having whiter teeth boosts our self-esteem and makes a better first impression.
Smiling is powerful. It makes us feel good. A smile makes us more attractive. It’s inviting in social situations. Smiling can have a positive effect on our mood. And, it’s contagious.
Lots of factors contribute to stained, yellow teeth. Drinking beverages that contain tannins, like coffee, tea, soda and red wine contribute to yellow stains. Chewing and smoking tobacco can also stain our teeth.
So, how can we whiten our smiles without forking over the big bucks for professional teeth bleaching or expensive over the counter teeth whiteners?
The trick I use at home, is simple, quick and inexpensive. Does this sound too good too be true?
The recipe? Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. That’s it.
Pour some hydrogen peroxide into its cap and add a big pinch of baking soda. Brush with this “paste” for a few minutes, a couple of times a week. More often than that can irritate our teeth and gums.
After achieving the whiteness desired, move to a once a week maintenance routine.
How does it work? Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a slightly alkaline powder that when dissolved in water, releases free radicals. The free radicals from the mixture interact with the stain molecules on the teeth enamel (outer layer of the teeth) and scrape off the yellow and brown stains. It also removes plaque from the teeth.
Baking soda is one of the cheapest commercial teeth whiteners present in the market today. One box of baking soda costs about a buck, and this one box can be used for over a hundred brushings. Baking soda has actually been recommended by some dentists to help fight gum disease.
Hydrogen peroxide has a whitening effect because it can pass easily into the outermost layer of the tooth, and acts as an oxidizing agent in breaking up stain deposits. Bleaching teeth with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is acknowledged as a safe practice by the American Dental Association. The precautions? Swallowing baking soda is harmful to our health.
Baking soda is abrasive in nature and chronic use of it can cause damage to the enamel coating on the teeth. Teeth enamel will wear off, making the teeth sensitive and vulnerable to cavities. Thus, too much use of baking soda can cause permanent damage to your teeth. So go easy. Using baking soda in moderation, however, is not harmful.
Swallowing hydrogen peroxide can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, or be fatal in large doses. So: do not swallow it!
I’m not a dentist and I don’t play one on TV. The views expressed in this article are only meant as suggestions.
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