7 Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth ...

I know most of you, myself included, love to admire a beautifully white smile and are searching for the best ways to whiten your teeth that actually work! Professional whitening products can be expensive, especially if they are used at a dental office by a professional. However, there are plenty of other affordable options out there that are just as effective. Listed below are some of the best ways to whiten your teeth as well as preventive measures that keep them looking their best all the time!

1. Brush & Floss Daily

The number one most vital way to maintain a healthy smile is to brush and floss your teeth daily. Sugars and food residue cause plaque build-up which not only lead to yellowing teeth, but cause damage to the enamel and increase your risk of oral diseases. If it's a whiter smile you desire, you must first start with a routine of regular oral health for strong, healthy teeth! This is one of the best ways to whiten your teeth and keep them white and bright.

2. Avoid Food & Drink That Stains

Over time, food and drink with dark colors, tannins and potent spices can leave your teeth stained and looking generally dull. I whitened my teeth right before my wedding which was 7 years ago and it wasn't until the last year or 2 that I noticed my teeth looking dull (I blame the coffee addiction)! With that being said, whitening products DO last a long time with proper care and management and avoiding foods that stain as much as possible. If you can't avoid them, a good option is to brush right after or chew a stick of gum which will prevent staining.

3. Use a Whitening Mouthwash

Mouthwash is also important for oral health because it kills the bad bacteria between your teeth that even flossing can miss. It also rids your mouth of bad breath and protects your teeth from cavities. To keep your smile whiter and brighter, opt for a mouthwash that has advanced whitening as well as other dental benefits.

4. Plus White 5

During my search for the best, most affordable whitening product out there, I came across this brand- Plus White 5. It's not only well under $20 but it received the highest reviews. I purchased it and it does work wonderfully. It's mild, so it takes two weeks for the whitest shade to reveal itself and that's actually a good thing, both for longevity of your treatment and if you have sensitive teeth like I do. I would recommend using either an orthodontic retainer or buying one that is able to form around your teeth. Other than that, this is your most affordable, yet effective option for a whiter smile!

5. Crest White Strips

Crest 3D White Strips, particularly the one hour whitening system, works amazingly. The strips themselves are so convenient, you just place them on your teeth and throw them away after. I used these for my wedding and I got compliments all the time on how white my teeth looked. They also give lasting results- as in YEARS. The only downside is that they leave your teeth and gums extremely sensitive. This product does work well though and I would recommend it for people who don't have sensitive teeth!

6. Activated Charcoal

I've recently come across this method for teeth whitening and would be interested to see if it actually works. Activated charcoal is used to absorb impurities, often times in an emergency situation for the treatment of drugs and alcohol. It's also a great hangover cure, if you're ever in need of one. Charcoal is attracted to tannins, the stuff that stains your teeth in wine, coffee and tea but not the calcium in your teeth. You can buy them in capsule form and either make a paste or a "sludge" and see if it works for you!

7. Oil "Pulling"

Oil Pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy that has recently gained a lot of popularity. It basically consists of swishing oils, like coconut oil, in your mouth for 20 minutes while it "pulls" bacteria and other organisms out of your mouth and throat while leaving your teeth whiter and brighter. Some claim that it acts as a body detoxifier, drawing up toxins from your body and trapping them in the oil. This is unfortunately not possible, as amazing as it sounds. It is though, a good method for improving your oral health and whitening your teeth if you can stand swooshing for 20 whole minutes! The best part is that it's extremely affordable.

All of these methods for whitening and maintaining a bright smile have gotten quite a few positive reviews. I would love to hear if any of you ladies have tried these methods and which ones you would recommend, including any that aren't on this list?