16 Natural tips for a beautiful smile
From what you eat to how you hold your toothbrush, there are many things that affect the colour of our teeth. Follow these simple tips and turn your yellow teeth into pearly whites in next to no time.
Go on a white-teeth diet
What goes in shows up on your teeth. So if you're drinking a lot of red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites.
Other culprits include colas, gravy, and dark juices. The bottom line: if it's dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Here's how to deal with foods that stain:
- Brush your teeth immediately after having foods that stain
- Be conscious of tooth-staining foods and drinks, and have them only when a toothbrush is around. If not, have an apple for dessert.
Read more: How to give up smoking cigarettes
Hum while you brush
The ideal amount of time to brush to get all the bacteria-packed plaque out is at least two minutes, researchers found.
Use your watch or keep a timer in the bathroom and set it for 2 minutes. Or find a tune that lasts about 2 minutes and hum it to the end.
Grip your toothbrush like a pencil
Does your toothbrush look as if it's been used to clean the car? If so, you're probably brushing too hard.
Contrary to what some scrub-happy people think, brushing with force is not the best way to remove plaque. The best way is to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently move it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion.
Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won't scrub too hard.
Throw away your toothbrush
Or change the head of your electric toothbrush. Do this at least every two to three months, otherwise, you're just transferring bacteria to your mouth.
Drink a cup of tea every day
Flavonoids and other ingredients in tea seem to prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth, and also block production of a type of sugar that contributes to cavities.
Tea also contains high amounts of fluoride.
Read more: The health benefits of herbal tea
Use alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse away bacteria
Most over-the-counter mouthwashes have too much alcohol, which can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria.
Some studies even suggest a link between mouthwashes containing alcohol and an increased risk of oral cancer. To be safe, be a teetotaler when it comes to choosing a mouthwash.
Even if you're an adult, avoid sugary foods
Sugar plus bacteria equals oral plaque. Plaque then leads to bleeding gums, tooth decay and cavities. Plus, the acid in refined sugars and carbonated beverages dissolves tooth enamel.
Instead, eat “detergent” foods. Foods that are firm or crisp help to clean the teeth as they're eaten. Apples have already been mentioned; other choices include raw carrots, celery and (unsweetened) popcorn.
For best results, make “detergent” foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you can't brush your teeth straight after eating.
Read more: How to curb your enthusiasm for sugar
Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper
Do this every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath.
A major cause of bad breath is the build-up of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help to banish.
Using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush.
Drink one 250 ml glass of water for every hour that you're at work
That way, when you get home, you'll have had your recommended daily eight glasses. If you work at home or part-time, be sure to drink at least one glass every hour for 8 hours.
Not only does the water help to keep your digestive system healthy and hydrate your skin, but it also helps to keep your teeth white.
The more water you drink, the more bacteria you flush off your teeth and out of your mouth, meaning less risk of gum disease, fewer cavities and fresher breath.
Brush with baking soda once a week
This helps to remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. Also, if your gums start to feel raw, brush with salt every other day.
Keep a bottle opener and a small pair of scissors in your bag or desk drawer
If you have the right gadgets to hand, you won't be tempted to use your teeth as tools, which can damage them.
In fact, never, ever use your teeth as tools for anything except eating.
To check the freshness of your breath…
Lick your palm and smell it while it's still wet If you smell something, it's time for a sugar-free breath mint.
Read more: How to cure bad breath
Suck, don't chew hard foods
Chewing hard foods creates tiny fractures in the enamel of your teeth that, over the years, combine to result in major cracks.
Eat a container of fat-free yoghurt every day
Think of your teeth as external bones; just like your bones, they need adequate calcium to remain strong.
Choose a medium-coral or light-red lipstick
These colours make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter coloured lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in your teeth.
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