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The Cheapest and Most Effective Way to White Teeth

Updated on April 10, 2016
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Since the time Mary had braces, she has been an advocate for dental health. Sharing advice and tips from dental professionals in her family

Better oral health

We all want not just a beautiful smile, but healthy teeth and gums. With this comes not only fresh breath, but also confidence. But how certain are you that you are cleaning your teeth correctly? We were all taught at a young age how to use a toothbrush and then left to get on with it.

If you wish to keep your teeth in your mouth and not in a jar beside your bed, begin developing a daily routine now to achieve better oral health. All the tools you need are available to you, it just requires dedication on your part.

Although cleaning is covered here, regular check-ups by your dentist and hygienist will go beyond the cleaning you can do at home. They can also highlight any potential problems and deal with it before it becomes worse and more costly to correct.

Regular Brushing
Regular Brushing | Source

Brushing teeth

How long have you been brushing your teeth? Has your technique changed? For many people they will spend hours in front of a monitor or TV and then only give their dental health the briefest attention. These same people will then wonder why they encounter, receding gums, bad breath, and cavities.

Perhaps you were never taught the correct way to brush your teeth or over the years you may have become lazy when it comes to good dental hygiene. If you wish to keep your teeth into your old age, perhaps it is time for a brush up on some good dental habits.

There are those who prefer a traditional manual toothbrush and others that claim an electric toothbrush is best. The choice is yours as long as they are being used correctly and for a given length of time, each are effective.

Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun ,1 count , White (Packaging may vary)
Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun ,1 count , White (Packaging may vary)
I prefer to use an electric toothbrush because my teeth feel fantastic after I use it. The small head gets into all those difficult to reach areas . This model will stop if you are applying too much pressure which is great news for both the teeth and the brush. It will save having to replace the head as often.

The correct technique for brushing teeth

Tongue Brush
Tongue Brush | Source

Tongue scrapers

Do you use a tongue scraper? Many people simply brush their tongues with their toothbrush. Some toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the reverse side of the brush. I prefer to use one that is specific to the job as it is more easily cleaned afterwards.Cleaning not just your teeth but also your tongue, will help keep the bacteria in check which loves living there.

Starting at the back of the tongue, drag your tongue scraper forward. You will be amazed how much you'll get off. Do this a few times until you are satisfied with the results. Do not exert too much pressure whilst doing this as you may feel a pain in your tongue the next day.

You should also be aware for some people this may trigger the gagging reflex. Begin slowly and you should be okay.

Red, green and golden apples
Red, green and golden apples | Source

What are Detergent Foods

Have you ever heard the term detergent foods? I hadn't until my daughter, who is a dental therapist, mentioned them to me.I have always been very conscientious with my teeth and brushed after eating. My daughter told me this wasn't a wise thing to do. After eating the mouth is filled with acids which are breaking down the foods you have just consumed. Brushing immediately after eating can cause this acid to damage the teeth. It is best to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing or use a detergent food.

A detergent food is one that helps clean the teeth after eating something sugary or sticky with starch.

Foods such as the ones listed below are a good choice to end your meal with.

  • Peanuts
  • Apples
  • Cheese
  • Gum (Sugar free)

How to use dental floss

Flossing is one of the best ways to clean between your teeth. The video I have included below shows how to use dental floss with a holder. If you are using it wrapped around your fingers, begin with 18" of floss. Wrap this around your middle fingers, and hold it between your thumbs and index fingers. Leave a 1-2" gap of floss between your fingers. This is what you will be flossing with. Insert this between the teeth and form a 'C' shape around the tooth. Think of the action you use when you dry yourself with a towel. You wrap the towel across your back and around your shoulders. This is what you want to achieve with your dental floss. Work up and down the tooth. You should pass below the gum line. When you have finished that tooth, move to a clean piece of dental floss. Repeat for each tooth.

Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser Professional For Teeth, Gums, Braces, Dental Care, Electric Power With 10 Settings, 7 Tips For Multiple Users And Needs, ADA Accepted, White WP-660
Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser Professional For Teeth, Gums, Braces, Dental Care, Electric Power With 10 Settings, 7 Tips For Multiple Users And Needs, ADA Accepted, White WP-660
I love WaterPiks, when I had braces I used this all the time to keep my teeth clean. Let's face it, some people will never get the hang of using dental floss. For those, a Waterpik is ideal.
Interdental brushes
Interdental brushes | Source

Cleaning between teeth

Although flossing is still regarded as the best way to remove plaque, there are other items available on the market.

The WaterPik shoots water between the spaces in the teeth, massaging the gums as well. Often people with braces, bridges or implants find this easier to use. When I had braces this is what I used. I also preferred to use warm water in it, as I felt the cold made my teeth too sensitive.

Interdental brushes are different than toothbrushes. These are small brushes designed to go between the teeth. These are color coded which corresponds to the width of the space between the teeth. The table below indicates which size to use. You may need to ask your dentist or hygienist which is the correct size for the space between your teeth.

Interdental brush sizes

Brush color
Brush size
Wire size
Passage hole diameter (PHD)

Miswak Teeth Cleaning Twig

Studies in 2003 in Saudi Arabia, show that a properly used chewing stick can be more effective than a toothbrush at cleaning plaque from teeth. This has sparked a renewed interest in the use of these and the WHO (World Health Organization) has said, more research should be conducted.

The twig not only removes plaque, it leaves behind ingredients beneficial to oral hygiene. The tree is also helping in the fight against desertification in many regions.

With the western populations worrying about the disposal of plastic toothbrushes into landfills, we all may soon be chewing on one of these sticks to clean our teeth.

Oil Pulling for Oral Health

Indian folk remedies include oil pulling to improve the overall health of the mouth. A tablespoon of oil (sesame or sunflower) is swished around in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. This should not be swallowed and it should be done on an empty stomach. This is found in Ayurvedic literature and it is believed to reduce bad breath, plaque and gingivitis.

Plak Smacker Plaque Disclosing Tablets, 30
Plak Smacker Plaque Disclosing Tablets, 30
These are excellent to have if you have kids. Of course it is sneaky but it is a great shock tactic to make sure they brush their teeth well.

Plaque Tablets

Have you ever used plaque tablets? These are the small chewable tablets that highlight the problem areas where plaque is sometimes difficult to brush out. I used these on my children to discover where they were missing when brushing. These are quite effective at highlighting the problem areas and when kids say, "Yes, I've brushed my teeth well" you can say, "Let's just check".

When they smile at themselves in the mirror, they are astounded by how much they missed. It is this visual shock which is much more effective than the inevitable reminders from a parent.


I don't know when, but wooden toothpicks have seem to have been removed as a dental product. Perhaps the powers that be think we adults are careless and can't be trusted with them. Maybe there is proof to back this up, I don't know.

Now it is possible to purchase flexible wooden sticks. These are quite thin and can just get into those tight spots.

Crooked teeth

If you have crooked or uneven teeth, this could cause other problems with regards to cleaning your teeth. Visit your dentist or hygienist and they will tell you the best way for your specific situation.


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