A Sparkling Smile: In ancient times, people cleaned bits of food from their teeth with slender twigs that were frayed at the end. Today, we have so many options, from home remedies to hot trends, that it can be hard to know what works and what can do more harm than good.
Baking Soda and Peroxide
People have been trying this combo to clean and whiten their teeth for generations. But it’s hard to get the mixture right. If the peroxide is too strong, it may irritate your teeth and gums. And the baking soda, which is a little harsh, can wear down enamel (the hard outside part of your teeth).
This has been a favorite drink in Asia for more than 4,000 years, and with good reason. Researchers have found that, in addition to other possible health benefits, green tea can help your gums and teeth stay healthy. That may be thanks in part to a chemical in it that helps your body fight inflammation.
If you chew a piece of this for 20 minutes or so after a meal, your mouth makes more saliva. That washes away bits of food and balances out some acids that germs in your mouth make. Look for gum made with sweeteners called xylitol, aspartame, sorbitol, or mannitol. And remember that you still have to brush and floss.
This mixture may not taste all that great, but it can help fight germs in your mouth. If your gums are red or sore, stir half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water. Slosh it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds, then spit it out. Another use for warm, salty water: If a cold makes your throat scratchy, gargling with it can help for a while.
A healthy diet is good for your mouth, too. Calcium and phosphorus can make your teeth stronger. You can get calcium from low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese; soy drinks and tofu; canned salmon; almonds; and dark green, leafy vegetables. Phosphorus comes from eggs, fish, lean meat, and dairy products. Vitamin C, which helps your gums, is in citrus fruit, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach.
Your body is about 70% water, so it’s a good idea in general to get plenty of it. But it’s especially good for your mouth and teeth. Your local water system probably adds fluoride to water, and that helps fight cavities.
Water sloshing through your mouthwashes away food particles and thins out the acids that germs make. Your body also turns some of it into saliva, which helps you swallow and supplies calcium to strengthen your teeth 🙂 🙂