Frugal Ways to Whiten Teeth

Christy | 8:11 AM |

Professional and over-the-counter teeth whiteners can deliver fast results but cost a lot of money. If you have time and patience, you can whiten your teeth at a fraction of the cost. The important key to remember is that consistency over time with your chosen method will result in a whiter, brighter smile.

Reasons for Stained Teeth 

Food, while giving us the nourishment we need, contributes to a dull smile. Plaque is the yellow, sticky substance that forms on our teeth when naturally occurring bacteria release acids that help break down food. It's important to brush plaque away each day to avoid more serious dental conditions, like gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Staining also occurs from what we drink as well as the food we eat. Surgary drinks like juices and sodas lead to an increase of plaque. Dark substances like wine, soda and coffee lead to stains on our teeth. To avoid long-term stains, brush after eating or drinking and use a straw when possible.

Daily Oral Hygiene Habits 

 Basic oral hygiene is foundational for a whiter smile, and saves money in the long run when it comes to dental visits. Brush twice a day - once in the morning and once in the evening - with a whitening toothpaste. This consistent treatment will help maintain a whiter smile without added expense. It's beneficial to brush after each meal if possible, but if it isn't, rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water to get rid of the bacteria that causes plaque.

Set aside a minute or two in the morning or before bed to floss your teeth, and be sure to change your toothbrush every three months.

Inexpensive Home Remedies 

The key to the effectiveness of inexpensive home remedies to whiten teeth is to use them consistently over a long period of time.

You probably have the teeth whiteners you need already in your home - if you don't, they are easy to get and won't cost a lot of money. The first home remedy is baking soda, which can be mixed with a little water until it forms a paste and can be used like toothpaste. If the taste is too bitter, mix it with your current toothpaste and use it every time you brush.

Another option is to use citric acid in the form of lime, lemon or orange juice. Add a few drops of each to baking soda for a teeth-whitening paste, or rub the white part of the peel against your teeth. Because of the acidic properties, use citric acid a few times a week.

Vinegar is another way to whiten your teeth naturally without straining your wallet. Dip your toothbrush into vinegar while you brush your teeth, or swish it around in your mouth once a day as a mouthwash. If the flavor is too bitter, use apple cider vinegar instead.

A whiter smile is possible without spending a lot of money - just remember to be consistent!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer who whitens her teeth each day at home. Find out more about how to take care of your teeth from Dr. Sue Chadwick Walker, a Dentist in Milwaukie, Oregon.

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