Dr Richard Marques, principal at Wimpole Street Dental in London, offers some home whitening tips to share with your patients
11 tips for home whitening
- Use baking soda: baking soda is a natural teeth whitener and included in many toothpastes. Try mixing a quarter teaspoon of baking soda with water and applying this to the teeth with your toothbrush. Alternatively add the baking soda to a cheap toothpaste. It will not damage your teeth in any way but will make them look gradually whiter over time. Baking soda is a natural cleaning and oxidising agent
- Eat strawberries: due to the malic acid content, strawberries these can naturally whiten your teeth. Malic acid is a natural cleanser
- Warm salt water: helps both whiten your teeth naturally and looks after your gums as it is a natural antibacterial. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm kettle boiled water (cool it down) and use it as mouthwash. Salt is a natural antibacterial working by attacking bacterial cell walls
- Eat white foods: the whiter the foods you eat, the whiter your teeth will be. Eat chicken, rice and fish. Avoid pigmented foods such as beetroot, blueberries, carrots and Chinese/Indian takeaways, which contain lots of turmeric or food colourings that can stain teeth by binding to tooth surface
- Eat apples: apples are one of the natural teeth cleansing foods. Once again, malic acid is a natural cleanser.
- Drink water or milk: you can also drink lemonade or tonic water. White wine is better than red wine. Calcium in milk helps strengthen tooth enamel and structure as well as jaw bone. Water is a natural cleanser washing away plaque
- Use an electric toothbrush: electric toothbrushes can remove up to 70% more plaque than manual brushes alone by vibrating or rotating in a more efficient and effective manner than manual brushing alone
- Eat cheese: another great naturally cleansing food that can strengthen the teeth. Cheese contains calcium and also has a cleansing surface structure (especially hard cheese like cheddar)
- Use coconut oil as a mouth rinse (oil pulling): use a tablespoon of coconut oil and swill in the mouth for as long as you can. The longer the better (15 minutes is ideal time). This removes bacteria and helps prevent plaque and stains from sticking to teeth by lubricating them
- See your dentist regularly: to have the teeth cleaned and checked. You can also consider professional in-clinic laser teeth whitening if advised. Only your dentist can check thoroughly for cavities. X-Rays may be required to check the inside of the teeth and jaws. Laser teeth whitening uses hydrogen peroxide activated by a laser light to remove staining from inside the teeth in just one hour
- Charcoal is also another effective way to help clean and whiten your teeth. It’s a 100% natural tooth polish made from activated coconut shell charcoal. It strengths gums, removes toxins from the mouth and absorbs bacteria and is affordable. Products such as Diamond Whites offer this.
Dr Richard Marques BDS graduated with distinction from Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ institute of dentistry. Since then he has attended numerous courses and treated many highly-complex dental cases successfully. In 2006 he completed the Bicon implant course in South Africa. He has placed and restored many implants with great results.