How to: Get whiter teeth

By Contributing Writer

by: Hiba Abdillahi, Contributing Writer

Whether you’re going on a first date or interviewing for an internship, having a white smile can give you the confidence boost you need.

“Your teeth are naturally white, but it is the things you eat and how you take care of them that make them lose their color,” said Carol Sag, certified dental assistant at the RiverWalk Family Dental, in Naperville, Ill. With these five steps, you’ll have a better chance at keeping your teeth white.

1. Avoid certain foods

“There aren’t any specific foods you should eat to make your teeth whiter,” Sag said. Because your teeth already have a natural white to them, your job is to avoid foods that could stain them. “Avoid drinks such as dark juices, red wine and brown soda. Clear soda, such as 7-Up and Sprite, won’t stain your teeth.”

2. Daily dental hygiene

We all know to brush twice—maybe three—times a day and floss between meals. This daily dental hygiene is good for maintaining healthy teeth and also keeping whiter teeth.

“Typically stains are on the gum line between your teeth,” Sag said. “The reason is because the dark color drinks will sit and just brushing isn’t enough. Flossing is more important than brushing because flossing gets the stains and decay that build up in between the teeth.”

3. Checkups

Dental checkups are important. Everyone should see a dentist twice a year, once every six months, according to Sag. This gives you time between visits to improve your health. You can also have a teeth-whitening procedure performed at one of your check-ups.

“In-house whitening is called Zoom, or Boost,” Sag said. “Some dentists use intraoral lights that activate the solution [more quickly]. Instead of a two-hour in-office whiting, you can get it done in an hour.”

4. Products you should use

Products with peroxide in them, such as toothpaste, strips and gel can help whiten your teeth, according to Sag. Try to look for the ingredient on the label to give your teeth an extra boost of whitening.

5. Lifestyle

Regularly drinking coffee, tea and smoking cigarettes will stain your teeth, Sag said.

“It’s a fact. Those things will stain your teeth. People who are cautious about having clear, white teeth should stay away from those teeth stainers.” Maintaining white teeth is about making positive lifestyle choices and being cautious about the foods, drinks and other substances

you consume, according to Sag.