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6 Things You Can Do at Home to Whiten Your Teeth and Brighten Your Smile

model with white teeth

In the grueling race against time and gravity (and their effects on our appearances), we often don’t look past wrinkles, age spots and sagging. But according to Jonathan Levine, DMD, dentist, prosthodontist and founder of at-home teeth-whitening device Glo Science, our teeth are in fact one of the first few areas that give away our age. “Most people think anti-aging only refers to skin-firming creams, facelifts and covering up gray strands,” he says. “But the truth is that the mouth (the teeth, in particular) is one of the areas where the effects of aging are most noticed. Over time the enamel wears down, teeth turn yellow, crack, become shorter and acquire blunt edges, which can impact a person’s overall appearance.”

No wonder teeth bleaching remains one of the most popular cosmetic treatments available today. According to the most recent state of the industry report published by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, requests for teeth whitening services continue to rise year over year, making it one of the top procedures offered by cosmetic dentists, along with crowns, bonding and veneers.

How to Make Your Teeth Whiter at Home

While professional teeth whitening is still the fastest way to reverse yellow or discolored teeth, there are a few things you can do at home to make your teeth whiter and restore radiance to your smile. From at-home teeth-whitening devices to oral rinses with teeth-lightening ingredients to lip glosses that brighten the appearance of your smile, here are six tips to make your teeth instantly whiter and your smile 100% better.

  1. 1. Switch your toothpaste to a whitening-based one.
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    1. Switch your toothpaste to a whitening-based one.

    A bright smile starts with a good oral routine. This seems like a no-brainer but there really is no shortcut to healthy teeth and gums. For best results, dentists recommend flossing and brushing your teeth with a gentle toothbrush and a whitening toothpaste, like Marvis Whitening Mint Toothpaste, at least twice a day. This toothpaste relies on titanium dioxide to remove surface stains from the enamel. It also works to get rid of plaque to fight tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. Plus, the mint flavor will keep your breath smelling fresh all day long.

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  2. 2. Consider an at-home teeth-whitening device.

    Even with the best oral care routine, it will be hard to reverse teeth discoloration without a professional dental procedure. But if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars—or countless hours sitting in your dentist’s chair—on a professional treatment, there are teeth-whitening devices you can use at home that are not that expensive. GLO Science GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device, for one, is created by a dentist and is designed to make your teeth at least five shades whiter in just one week.

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  3. 3. Pay special attention to your gums.
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    3. Pay special attention to your gums.

    When it comes to brightening your smile, you probably pay the most attention to your teeth—but spending time taking care of your gums can go a long way toward making your smile look younger. PerioSciences AO ProVantage is a water-based gel formulated with antioxidants, phloretin and ferulic acid to minimize free radical activity in your mouth. (Free radicals are damaging and accelerate aging.) All you need to do is apply a pea-sized amount to your upper and lower gums with your finger, a cotton swab or a soft toothbrush a couple times a day to notice a difference.

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  4. 4. Exfoliate away surface stains.
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    4. Exfoliate away surface stains.

    Kick things up a notch by adding an accelerated whitening treatment, like Supersmile Professional Whitening Accelerator, to your routine. It contains exfoliating acids that remove even the most stubborn surface stains from the outer layer of your teeth: your enamel. Meanwhile, urea-buffered peroxide improves the overall look of your teeth without causing any irritation. It’s designed to be used with the Supersmile Whitening Toothpaste. All you have to do is apply both of them in equal amounts to a dry toothbrush and brush vigorously for two minutes twice a day.

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  5. 5. Add a rinse to your oral care routine.

    Beyond the usual suspects of toothpaste and whitening devices, a whitening oral rinse can do wonders to brighten your teeth. The POPWHITE Whitening Primer and Whitening Toner features a whitening toothpaste and an oral rinse meant to whiten your teeth when used together twice a day. The priming toothpaste is formulated with xylitol to get rid of plaque and protect enamel along with hydrated silica to remove surface stains. The rinse contains xylitol, coconut oil and peppermint oil to freshen breath and leave your teeth looking glossy.

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  6. 6. Opt for a blue-toned lip gloss.
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    6. Opt for a blue-toned lip gloss.

    For whiter teeth, steer clear of yellow-toned reds or pale pink shades, which tend to accentuate stains on the teeth. Instead, reach for a blue-toned lip gloss, like Apa Beauty’s Apa Blue Lip Shine. It’s formulated with blue crystals to diminish the appearance of yellow teeth and give your smile an overall brighter look. Peppermint oil freshens breath, while lemon, cucumber and Irish moss rejuvenate your gums.

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Beauty Reporter

Christina Heiser

By day, Christina Heiser is a senior editor for L’Oréal Paris. By night, she’s a freelance beauty, health, and wellness writer for a variety of online publications like NBC News Better and What’s Good by The Vitamin Shoppe. Outside of the office, you can find Christina hitting up boutique spin and yoga classes in NYC, cheering on her college basketball team (go Red Storm!), and watching as many Broadway plays as she can possibly fit into her schedule. Her biggest beauty obsession: Hot pink lipstick. Follow her on Twitter.