10 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth

Not only do your teeth help you talk and chew, they can make or break your appearance. Here are 10 secrets for keeping your pearly whites in tip-top shape.

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1. Go on a white-teeth diet.

1. Go on a white-teeth diet. webphotographeer/iStock
If you're quaffing red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigars, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits to blame for dingy teeth include colas, gravies, and dark juices. Bottom line: If it's dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods that stain teeth and use a good bleaching agent, either over-the-counter or in the dentist's office. For convenient teeth-cleaning action, eat an apple.

2. Chuck your toothbrush...

2. Chuck your toothbrush...TomFreeze/iStock
...or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months. Otherwise, you're just transferring bacteria to your mouth. According to Beverly Hills dentist Harold Katz, D.D.S., the best way to brush is by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently moving it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won't scrub too hard.

3. Clean your tongue.

3. Clean your tongue.JynMeyerDesign/iStock
Use a tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. Plus, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush, says Dr. Katz.

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4. Eat 'detergent' foods.

4. Eat 'detergent' foods. doram/iStock
Foods that are firm or crisp help clean teeth as they're eaten. We already mentioned apples (otherwise known as nature's toothbrush); other choices include raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For best results, make 'detergent' foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating.

5. Gargle with apple cider vinegar.

5. Gargle with apple cider vinegar.fotoedu/iStock
Do this in the morning and then brush as usual. The vinegar helps help remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums.

6. Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

6. Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week sugar0607/iStock
This will remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. Just be sure to spit it out so it doesn't count as sodium intake! Also, if your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.

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7. Stay fresh.

7. Stay fresh. AndreyPopov/iStock
To check the freshness of your breath, lick your palm and smell it while it's still wet. If you smell something, it’s time for a sugar-free breath mint. Shopping for mouthwash? Make sure it is alcohol-free. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes have too much alcohol, which can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria.

8. Practice flossing with your eyes shut.

8. Practice flossing with your eyes shut. ultramarinfoto/iStock
If you can floss without having to guide your work with a mirror, you can floss in your car, at your desk, while in bed, and before important meetings. In which case, buy several packages of floss and scatter them in your car, your desk, your purse, your briefcase, your nightstand.

9. Brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night.

9. Brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night. PeopleImages/iStock
They're the two most crucial times, says Kathleen W. Wilson, M.D., an internist at the Ochsner Health Center in New Orleans and author of When You Think You Are Falling Apart. That’s because saliva (which keeps cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. It’s also important to brush first thing in the morning to brush off plaque and bacteria (morning breath!) that may have built up as you slept.

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10. Conceal with color.

10. Conceal with color. deniskomarov/iStock
Ladies: Choose a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in teeth.


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18 thoughts on “10 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth

  1. Flossing while not at a sink is just gross. Your fingers get gunk on them and you can’t rinse your mouth either.

  2. Im brushing my teeth,putting baking soda and peroxide,but still doesn’t work.I have still been going through this the past 2 years when I got this kind of yellowish but kind of white color on my teeth.i got surprised.I don’t smoke nor drink coffee.drug free,and i eat apples and oranges and carrots all day everyday.I drink water with some icy cubes,i don’t eat junk foods.Just healthy me for my teeth.Whats wrong with my teeth?Does it want to b white?Or does it just want to stay like that?Im only 13 and trying SOOOO SO SO SOOOO hard to get my teeth brighten up and whitening.Even my dad has brighter teeth than me and he smokes for sure all day in the night and also drinks coffee before he smokes.Just a girl trying to get her teeth white and bright just like other celeberties.*sigh*

  3. The tips are really helpful for the ones seeking to make a healthy & whiter teeth. I was looking for an info like this.

  4. Baking soda has never been tested for use as a tooth cleaner. The abrasives in toothpaste from the store at an approved grain. To be on the safe side you should just buy a toothpaste with baking soda formulated for use in the mouth.

    1. The best teeth whitening product i have used is PREVDENT from the Netherlands

  5. Changing your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months is one of the single most important things to consider when looking after your teeth. The amount of bacteria on a 5 month old toothbrush is close to the amount of bacteria on a toilet seat.

  6. Reader’s Digest, you are WRONG WRONG WRONG! No one should ever brush their teeth immediately after eating anything! Your teeth still have acid on them that can’t be rinsed away, and needs at least half an hour to dissolve. Otherwise when you brush you will ruin your enamel!

  7. Cleaning tongue is necessary because most of the people don’t scrap after brushing which leads  to bad breath & many more oral problems. These are really good tips to take care of oral care.

  8. One very important hygiene tip relates to the use of handheld bidets. I have lived in various parts of Asia and after using the “bum gun” which is used predominantly in countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, i can’t see why we still use toilet paper! I read somewhere that around 80% of infectious disease are passed on through human contact and that only half of us actually wash our hands after using the toilet. One of the reasons why the handheld bidet is a very important  device when it comes to personal hygiene.  Thanks for the useful tips anyway :)

  9. At least people now aware that apple is not only for diet but as a convenient teeth-cleaning action as well. And of course toothbrush needs to be change every two or three months because the old toothbrush of yours has bacterias already that leaving in the head of your brush. Tips stated above gives people knowledge on how to make their teeth healthy and white everyday. Thank for sharing your post with us. A helpful one.

  10. The best remedy I tried successfully ever is to use honey mixed with vinegar and brush it two to three times a days will not only whiten youe teeth but will give extra health to your teeth and gums.

    1. Honey can actually cause cavities as it is a sugar and will make your saliva acidic for approximately 20 minutes in which bacteria start to demineralize the outer layer of your enamel!

  11. I didn’t know that crispy and firm foods are called “detergent foods”. I myself find it intriguing. It’s not really easy to get a healthy white teeth, since it requires a lot of things like properly taking care of it and by watching out the food you eat. Knowing the right way of brushing your teeth also helps.

  12. Wow, ‘detergent foods’ huh? Now, that’s surprising but really interesting. I didn’t know popcorn has benefits for the teeth; although apples are really a miracle food which is very good for oral health. Perhaps the red lipstick trick will help, too. Thanks for these tips!

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