Five ways to get whiter teeth

Jennifer Blair

The results from professional whitening treatments usually last three to five years.

Your smile is one of the first things other people notice about you, so it's only natural to feel a little self-conscious about your teeth. In fact, because it's normal for teeth to become dull and even yellow over time, you may feel like you need to hide them every time you smile. If you wish you had a smile full of pearly whites every time someone takes a photo of you, there's no reason to give up hope. With a few simple changes to your routine, you can freshen up the look of your smile in no time.

Here are five of the best ways to get whiter teeth and an envy-worthy smile.

Practice good oral hygiene

This probably goes without saying, but if you want a brighter smile, you have to take good care of your teeth. That means brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and gargling with a germ-killing mouthwash at least once a day. Depending on your  diet, you might want to brush after each meal to keep your teeth from getting stained in the first place.

Don't skip those visits to the dentist, either. Get a cleaning every six months, and make sure your dentist takes X-rays at least once a year to check for cavities and other dental issues. If you're at high risk for dental disease, your dentist might recommend more frequent visits, so be sure to ask how often you should get your teeth checked.

Use a whitening toothpaste and mouthwash

When you brush your teeth each day, it helps to use toothpaste that's targeted at removing stains and discoloration. Whitening toothpaste is usually more effective than regular toothpaste in gently buffing stains off the surface of your teeth so you can achieve a whiter smile. Some whitening toothpaste not only gets rid of stains and discoloration but prevents future yellowing, too. This type of formula can even keep your teeth bright once you achieve your desired results.

It's also a good idea to boost the power of your toothpaste by pairing it with a whitening mouthwash. It can help lighten existing stains and prevent future stains from developing so you can maintain your pearly whites.

Use your whitening toothpaste and mouthwash just as you would regular formulas. Apply a pea-size amount of the toothpaste to your brush, and brush all of the surfaces of your teeth for at least two minutes. To use whitening mouthwash, pour out the amount recommended on the label, and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Use a whitening kit

Depending on the severity of your stains, a good oral care routine with whitening toothpaste and mouthwash might not be enough to get your teeth as white as you'd like. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of whitening kits on the market that can get the job done.

Some kits use strips coated with whitening ingredients that you can discreetly wear on your teeth for 30 minutes to an hour. Others have moldable trays that you fill with whitening ingredients, place in your mouth, and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Some kits also include an LED light that heats the whitening ingredients to help accelerate the process.

It usually takes at least a few days to see results with a whitening kit, but make sure to follow the directions regarding the frequency of treatment if you want to get your teeth as white as possible.

Avoid foods and beverages that stain teeth

If you want whiter teeth, it might be time to revamp your diet. There are quite a few tasty foods and beverages that can stain your teeth and leave them looking dull or yellow. Limit how often you drink coffee, tea, red wine, and cola, as well as how often you eat blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

When you do indulge in treats that are likely to stain, be sure to rinse or brush your teeth immediately afterward to reduce the risk of discoloration. When it comes to beverages that are likely to stain, try drinking them through a straw to keep the liquid from coming into too much contact with your teeth.

Get a professional whitening treatment

If all else fails, you might need to bring out the big guns to get your teeth as white as you'd like. Professional treatments are the most effective -- and the most expensive -- option when it comes to whitening teeth. That's because they clean stains on the surface as well as inside your teeth.

Whitening treatments at the dentist's office use more concentrated ingredients than at-home kits, which usually means brighter teeth. Some treatments also utilize an LED or UV laser to heat the bleaching agent, so the treatment works more quickly and effectively.

If you're interested in a professional whitening treatment, ask your dentist if you're a good candidate.

Getting a picture-perfect smile isn't impossible -- it just takes some patience. By committing to a good dental hygiene routine with the right products, you can have the pearly whites of your dreams and a smile that wows in every photo.


Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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