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Yellow teeth are a cause of discomfort and embarrassment in most interpersonal relationships. In addition to making the aesthetics and the harmony of the smile unpleasant, yellow teeth also adversely affect the general image of the person. It is no coincidence that smile is one of the first things that comes to mind when communicating with others – and in these circumstances having yellow teeth is certainly not a good business card.
It is known that white and healthy teeth enhance the person’s appearance, making the idea of order and cleansing. Conversely, a smile that flaunts yellow, stained and opaque teeth breaks the harmony of the face and transmits an image of dirt and poor oral hygiene, typical of those who do not take care of themselves. But this is not always the case. Having yellow teeth or a brighter chrome than the much desired candor is not always synonymous with poor oral hygiene.
Tooth enamel is normally white but some foods or bad habits can change the color. Coffee, cigarette smoke, and colored drinks can cause dark spots on the teeth or cause them to yellow. Do natural remedies for teeth whitening actually work? Let’s see together.
Tooth enamel and the color of the teeth
Enamel is a translucent white fabric, the most rigid and mineralized in the body. Enamel covers the area of the tooth exposed to the oral environment, protecting it from wear and acid attack of carcinogenic bacteria. Highly mineralized, enamel is composed of 4-5% water and organic components (proteins), while the remaining 95-96% is inorganic substances (calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, cesium, and others). Enamel wraps the crown like a hood, reaching the maximum thickness in the chewing surface (cusp) and thinning near the collar, where it is in turn covered with cement.
In spite of its hardness, enamel – which does not have cells or blood vessels inside it (avascular tissue) – appears to be highly fragile. Such fragility becomes apparent when the underlying porous tissue, called dentin, is missing. Enamel, albeit in different percentages in the various crown areas, is highly sensitive to acids, so it can be affected by oral caries responsible for caries.
Enamel, also known as adamantine substance, consists of elongated polyhedric prisms, held together by a specially mineralized interplasmatic substance. These prisms represent the fundamental unit of the enamel: in the shape of a rod, then stretched and arranged parallel to each other, they have a diameter of about 3-10 micrometers and come from the deep surface (amelo-dentinal junction) to the outer surface of enamel. In the depths they are perpendicular to the dentine, then become wavy in the central tract and finally perpendicular to the surface of the tooth.
The translucent shades of enamel, varying from white to ivory, sometimes with blue shades, reveal the color of the dentine underneath. Only in the lower edge of the upper incisors – where the latter is virtually absent – you can appreciate the white color of the enamel, sometimes with shades of blue. In other areas of the tooth, the color of the tooth is largely determined by the shade of the underlying dentin, which – influenced by genetic component – usually tends to be yellowish.
Consequently, in general, the denser the enamel is, the more white the tooth appears, and vice versa. It should also be noted that enamel can absorb pigments in foods such as coffee, red wine, tea, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, walnuts and more. Chromatic changes in tooth can also be caused by diseases (fluorosis) or by the intake of particular drugs such as high-dose tetracycline, especially if taken by the mother during neonatal life.
I have discolored teeth, why?
Tooth yellowing recognizes numerous and different causes of origin, which are not always easily identifiable. Even a meticulous person devoted to oral hygiene, for example, can notice unexpected and sagacious yellow spots on their teeth.
The teeth color change can be the result of your everyday habits. Food, drink and tobacco are examples of such habits.
We know for sure that a large intake of the following can contribute to discoloration:
- Red wine
- Coca Cola / Sport Drinks (Corrosive)
Dyes create superficial coatings on the teeth. Very hot or cold food / beverage increases the risk of discoloration when the pores of the enamel open up during cold and hot intake. One tip is therefore drinking with straws so that the liquid does not come into contact with the teeth to the same extent. Discolorations due to food or drink usually go away after a visit to a dentists or dental hygienists.
Cigarettes and snuff contain chemicals that leave a layer of residue on the smoker’s teeth. Nicotine and tar cause the worst discoloration. Cigarettes with high nicotine and tar content thus cause the greatest color change.
Antibiotics can cause discoloration
If you have a disease treated with antibiotics, there is a risk that your teeth will discolor. Different people are affected differently by this side effect, but it is more common in children than in adults. Almost all penicillin has the side effect of discoloring the enamel of the tooth. In most cases, discoloration will be wiped out by the dentist. A good oral hygiene is extra important if you are treated with penicillin. Future mothers treated with antibiotics during pregnancy may transfer this side effect of the medicine to the child. The child may then get discolored teeth at a young age.
Genetic discoloration (congenital)
The base of the milk front teeth is largely formed even before birth. If the child’s milk teeth are discolored, so the future color of the teeth is determined already in the mother’s womb, in some cases during lactation. In the milk teeth, damaged enamel can be seen as critical white spots. There are different causes of these white spots on the teeth. It can be a large amount of fluorine delivery (either through the mother or later to the child). It can also be a disease that contributed to nutritional imbalance. The above was also mentioned the influence of antibiotics on the tooth’s enamel. A child who has discolored milk teeth is likely to have permanent teeth that are also discolored. However, there are chances that the permanent teeth will come out very nicely.
When the child gets her six-year-olds, parents can discover that they have a yellow-brown color. Probably it is due to a disturbance in the formation of the enamel. You see it quite often, the so-called 6-year-olds and the color that can vary from white to yellow and brown. Sometimes a 6-year-olds suffers from one, sometimes two, three or four teeth affected. If the child is not in pain, then you can relax and wait for the next visit to the dentist.
Little dots on the teeth
If you see small black / brown spots on your teeth, it’s probably discoloration or tartar in pits and dirt on your teeth. If you do not have any pain or irritation in your teeth, you do not have to worry about the fact that there are caries (holes in your teeth). Nevertheless, it never hurts to check with your dentist.
Small white dots can be the initial stage of caries (holes) that do not need to be repaired. If you brush carefully, they can stay off. The dots will then remain but do not get bigger / deeper. Nevertheless, we recommend that you check with a dentists who will look closer at the white dots in the nearest future.
If you have been involved in a trauma with damaged teeth, it may be the cause of yellowing color. Accidents with traumatized teeth can also result in gray-brown color. These color changes are due to the damage or death of the pulp (connective tissue in the tooth). If the pulp is dead, filling the tooth may be an option.
Have you ever noticed that your tooth has become blue / gray, and after some time has returned to its normal color? Then you can describe it as a bruise in the tooth, which then disappeared. Adding the tooth to the teeth is beyond the vial of blood. If you get a minor injury that pushes the vial at the entrance opening to the tooth, it may sometimes happen. This can occur if you have a blow to the teeth or injured your teeth otherwise.
With age comes discoloration
Tooth enamel tends to thin out and the dentin (dental bone), which is of a yellow shade, is visible through. This can also happen in case of corrosion damage or if enamel is pressed away for another reason. Corrosion (erosion) can occur during high consumption of e.g. citrus fruit or soda. The enamel also wears off if toothbrushing takes place earlier than an hour after ingestion of acid foods. Then the enamel is fragile and can be easily damaged. If you brush your teeth within this time slot, you are traumatizing enamel which is already exposed to acid attack in connection with the meal.
I have dents in my teeth, why?
Many patients wonder why they have ‘dents’ in their teeth. These dents need not be left in the teeth. It can be a harmless defect in the enamel. These dents are hard to clean and they can get discolored and collect food remnants. If it hurts or feels sensitive, it may be an indication of caries. No matter how your dent looks, you should check with a dentists who can investigate your teeth closer. Any dent formed in dental tissues should be filled.
Natural teeth whitening
Natural teeth whitening is the cheapest alternative to chemical bleaching, professional dental whitening done with hydrogen peroxide or other chemical brighteners. The ancient techniques of natural whitening of the teeth are therefore opposed to the most modern (and expensive) cosmetic dentistry treatments, indicated to obtain an enviable smile and whitish teeth.
The natural remedies used in the past to whiten teeth are still important steps to improve smile aesthetics. Natural whitening treatments are not all the same. Some are rather delicate and relatively inexpensive while others are more aggressive and can cause serious damage to enamel.
There are numerous natural dental whitening treatments that you can rely on. However, even if labeled as ‘natural’, you should always use them with moderation and prudence. To give an example, if many people are aware of the ‘miraculous’ bleaching effect of sodium bicarbonate, few people know that a smudged use of the same substance can cause damage such side events as gum bleeding, dental hypersensitivity, alterations of the natural bacterial flora of the mouth, etc.
How to whiten your teeth if you do not want to use bleaching (professional treatment by dentists)? Nature comes to your aid! Natural remedies are a very good alternative if you want a glossy and white smile, but these require some consistency and you can only see results in the long run without having the certainty of achieving the desired effect. If you want something more effective, you can try such products as Ionic White or bleaching strips.
Rinse with lemon
Lemon is a good ally against yellowing teeth, especially for smokers. We advise you to rinse with lemon juice (or you can directly apply a slice of lemon on the tooth) and then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Do not overdo this treatment because the strong acidity of this fruit can cause enamel weakening.
Baking soda to whiten teeth
An failproof and very cost-effective remedy to whiten your teeth naturally is undoubtedly the bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is known to everyone for its slightly abrasive and whitening action on the teeth, since many whitening toothpastes contain just sodium bicarbonate among the first ingredients. On the one hand, some argue that the abrasive power of bicarbonate may in the long run ruin the tooth enamel while on the other side it is claimed that there is no such risk. However, sodium bicarbonate has the tendency to irritate sensitive gums, and in susceptible subjects it can make the teeth more sensitive. In addition, bicarbonate is salty and its taste is not appreciated by everyone.
If you do not suffer from tooth and gum sensitivity and if the taste of bicarbonate does not bother you, you can try to whiten your teeth with the bicarbonate: put a bit of bicarbonate on your wet toothbrush and brush your teeth for a couple of minutes. Use this remedy to whiten your teeth once a week and stop using bicarbonate if you notice an increase in tooth sensitivity or gum irritations.
You just need to pass it on your teeth or mix it with some water to get a very “pasta” against the melting of yellow spots. Even in this case do not overdo it with the treatment because with the passage of time it can cause dental hypersensitivity and ruin the enamel. Thanks to this effective substance, you can eliminate all those annoying spots and make your teeth sound and shiny.
Sage helps to whiten teeth
Sage is a plant rich in some of the most powerful active ingredients including: carnosic acid, phenolic acids, flavonids, and spinach that provide a whitening and antibacterial action on your teeth besides being a valid boost against alitosis. Sage seems to be the only remedy to whiten teeth in a natural way that besides being effective and economical does not present any contraindications.
It seems that to get the whitening effect it’s enough to rub a sage leaf twice a week on the teeth for about a minute. We recommend using dried sage leaves and applying them on your teeth 1 or 2 times a week, without abuse, to get a satisfying and lasting result over time. Sage, in addition to whitening the teeth, smells the breath and also disinfects mouth and gums, which makes it particularly suitable for smokers. We can therefore resort to this grandmother’s remedy to whiten teeth completely naturally.
This particular solution should be used with great moderation but it can bring great benefits, especially when mixed with a little bit of sodium bicarbonate. It is recommended that you do not ingest this substance and rinse your mouth thoroughly with lukewarm water after treatment.
This product is derived from apple cider with an acidification process and is often used as a dressing during cooking. In this case, you can use it to get dentinal whitening, doing several rinses after brushing your teeth and this will help clean up your odious spots.
Apple vinegar and olive oil
After a vinegar rinse, olive oil can come into play and help you to whiten the teeth, giving them glaze and gloss because of its low acidity, which thoroughly cleanses the stains without damaging the outer surface of your tooth. All you have to do is bathe with a few drops of oil a gauze and rub it gently inside the oral cavity once a week and you will see that your smile acquires a brand new shine you’ve never seen before.
Strawberries and apples to whiten teeth
Even this fruit, with its low acidity, is able to make fade away all the dental deposit and all the residues accumulated with the food and drink consumed during the day. For this, you just need to rub a piece of the strawberry (broken into 2) on your teeth twice a month.
Another effective and economical way to whiten your teeth is to brush your teeth with a strawberry or apple puree. Strawberries and apples contain malic acid, a substance that would seem to have whitening properties for the teeth. Just crush a ripe strawberry with a fork or grate an apple slice and use the puree of one of the two fruits on the toothbrush. Malic acid in the long run may affect the enamel of the teeth, so these remedies should be used no more than once or twice a month. Perhaps it might be more useful to eat an apple a day, to keep that proverbial doctor away… and even the dentist!
Celery has the same properties as apples, it increases saliva production and fights alitosis. It has no contraindication.
Carrots act as a detergent, increasing the brightness of the teeth and producing saliva. Chewing on raw carrots exert a cleansing and polishing action by removing the plaque that is often formed on the teeth. They do not present any risks or disadvantages.
Fennel is part of the category of foods that help the teeth stay healthy, clean and whitish without having any side effects and without damaging the enamel. It has been shown that people who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, especially these foods mentioned earlier, have whiter and healthier teeth.
Milk, yoghurt and cheeses contain calcium that helps the teeth become stronger and more resistant to caries attacks. Milk products greatly improve the smile, if consumed frequently. You do not have to rub them on your teeth, just eat them.
The whitening action of the raisins is due to the stimulation of saliva production, which is a natural self-cleaning. There are almost no risks or drawbacks in the use of this method. You just have to be careful to brush your teeth with toothpaste, after rubbing over the raisins, to eliminate any traces of sugars that can contribute to the formation of caries.
Many consider it a valuable tool to keep the white teeth, also thanks to its resemblance to the root of the Araak tree, but its whitening effects have not been clearly indicated and endured by analysis and experimentation (although there are no clinical studies that prove it). We limit ourselves, therefore, to mention it, with all the perplexity of the case.
Walnut ash is an ancient remedy to have whiter teeth, but should be used with great care because the potassium hydroxide contained in the ash can cause burns to the oral cavity.
Try to use the white part of orange peel by massaging the entire tooth around the most obvious spots. You can even ‘brush’ your teeth with it when you do not have toothpaste and toothbrush available.
How to whiten your teeth naturally with a root of Aarak? This root, in the opinion of experts, is one of the most effective remedies against the stains of your teeth, and this is why it is also called ‘toothbrush root’. It is composed of several substances that fight the dirt accumulated on the enamel including sodium bicarbonate, silicon, potassium and fluoride. We suggest you massage the entire oral cavity to ensure complete cleaning and dental whitening that will be the envy of your friends.
Benefits and disadvantages of natural teeth whitening methods
So let’s get some clarity by analyzing the different natural teeth whitening strategies, distinguishing the positive and negative aspects of the most worthy of note.
|Whitening method||Advantages||Disadvantages and risks|
|Strawberries and apples|
|Walnut wood ash|