Pearly Whites

Woman inspecting teeth

It’s easy to see photos of celebrities and models with brilliant white teeth and want that for ourselves. There are many methods that purport to lift the color of our teeth by removing stains, but some of them are safer – and more effective – than others.

Brush your teeth with a paste made of baking soda and water (or use a toothpaste that contains sodium bicarbonate). After a few weeks, the baking soda will gently remove stains from your teeth. Limiting intake of staining beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine will help your teeth stay whiter.

There are many charcoal-based products to lighten teeth. However, a recent study shows that charcoal does not remove tooth stains. Charcoal can actually harm your teeth over time by wearing down the top layer of your enamel.

There are over-the-counter toothpastes and whitening trays that contain hydrogen peroxide, which gradually whitens your teeth. Look for products that contain the American Dental Association’s seal of approval and follow the instructions for the best results. There are some possible side effects, such as sensitive teeth and gum irritation.

Professional teeth whitening is also an option, and likely the safest bet. Talk to your dentist about what option is best for you.