Whether you're going for an in-office whitening procedure, trying out whitening strips or testing out a natural method, having a pearly white smile for your wedding day is probably at the top of your beauty list. We spoke to Cosmetic Dentist Marc Lowenberg, of NYC-based Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor, who told us how to make your whitening procedure last until your wedding day — or just give your smile an extra boost.
Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables.
Raw carrots, celery, apples and radishes mechanically remove surface stains from teeth, Lowenberg says. (Bonus points for carrots and celery — they're rich in beta carotene, which is essential for dental health.) Love a good kale salad? Good news for you! It's texture is so rough that it not only helps to remove surface stains, but also cleans your teeth as you're eating it.
Don't throw away your fruit peels!
Buff teeth with the inside of an orange peel or brush them with a paste of dried orange peel and ground bay leaves for a bit of reflective shine. Banana peels work, too. Rub one on your teeth for two minutes. 15 minutes later, brush your teeth with regular toothpaste. Lowenberg recommends doing this two or three times per week.
Make a whitening paste.
Eating strawberries are a great natural way to whiten teeth, Lowenberg says, but if you want to go a step further, you can brush your teeth with a paste of strawberries and baking soda. "Be sure to clean teeth thoroughly afterward to prevent tooth decay from sugar in the strawberries," he advises.
You can also make teeth appear whiter with a blend of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. "Baking soda has a very low abrasive quality," Lowenberg says. "When mixed with hydrogen peroxide, the oxygen released helps to break up the stain that sits on the surface of the enamel."
Finish a meal with cheese.
Yes, we're really telling you to eat cheese! "It's one of the best and easiest ways to combat acid erosion," Lowenberg says. "Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, all of which can help buffer the acids in your mouth." The catch? All cheese isn't created equally. Cheddar works best, since it contains the highest levels of alkali. Soft cheeses like brie and feta aren't as beneficial. Sorry!
Chew sugar-free gum.
It stimulates saliva production, which helps flush your mouth of potential stains and removes surface stains.
Swish with water after ingesting teeth-staining food and drinks.
The biggest teeth-staining culprits? Red wine, coffee and cola. (But you probably knew that.) If you can't abstain from drinking these treats before your wedding, drink through a straw and rinse with water after you've finished to prevent stains from setting.
Try oil pulling.
It might sound a tad weird, but Lowenberg swears it works. "It's an age-old remedy that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify," he says. "It whitens teeth naturally, improves gums and removes harmful bacteria. Just as oil cleanses the skin, oil pulling improves oral health. Oil cuts through plaque and removes toxins without disturbing teeth or gums." Swish one to two teaspoons of a vegetable-based oil (try coconut, sesame or olive) in your mouth for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.