The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: 5 Tips for Whiter Teeth

Medically reviewed in February 2022

Most of us want whiter teeth, but don’t want to go to the dentist to get them. Here are a few ways you can brighten your smile at home:

Eat. What we eat is one of the main causes of teeth getting darker as we age. Dark drinks like red wine, colas, teas and juices can get absorbed into the enamel of teeth and stain them. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking is the best way to minimize these stains, which will build-up over time. Another option is to eat an apple—nature’s toothbrush. The fleshy fiber in apples help to scrub teeth, remove stains, fight plaque and get rid of bad breath.

Brush. Remembering to replace your toothbrush or electric brush head is important not only for keeping your teeth clean and white, but for getting rid of bacteria that live on your toothbrush. Cleaning your teeth with a worn toothbrush is like cleaning the floor with a dirty mop. The bristles of the toothbrush begin to wear over time and are not as effective at keeping the teeth clean. Replace your toothbrush every three months. Flossing daily and brushing with a fluoride toothpaste also helps keep your smile sparkling. Keep dental floss in easy-to-access places like your car, desk or your bathroom sink.

Scrape. Removing tongue plaque not only freshens your breath, but also reduces bacteria build-up, which is harmful to your teeth and gums. The crevices on the surface of your tongue help hide bacteria, contributing to bad breath. Start with the scraper at the back of the tongue and drag it forward. Tongue scrapers can be found in the dental section of most drug stores and supermarkets and are inexpensive, about the same as a tube of toothpaste.

Cleanse. Eating ‘detergent’ foods—foods that are firm or crisp—helps to clean teeth as you eat. We already know about apples, but some other foods that fit the bill are raw celery, carrots and popcorn. Save these foods for the end of your meal to help you keep your smile white and your breath fresh.

Highlight. This next tip is for the ladies: a medium coral or light red lipstick will make your teeth appear whiter, while lighter lipsticks will highlight the yellow in teeth.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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