Today’s the day! It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s time to smile, greet the family, and take cozy pictures. There’s just one problem: Your teeth have a yellowish tinge. While there’s nothing wrong or unhealthy about having yellow teeth, it’s okay to want to change them. (And closing your mouth for every picture would be very difficult to accomplish.) However, professional whitening appointments can cut down your savings dramatically, and regular toothpaste isn’t guaranteed to work. Yet the fight to whiten teeth doesn’t end there. We’ve compiled several tricks to prevent stains before they happen, remove set-in stains, and brighten your smile.
To brighten all your teeth, try peroxide wipes.
Peroxide “bleaches” enamel to nix yellowing. But you don’t have to pay for expensive peroxide whitening strips to get the job done. Instead, create your own “strips.” To do: Soak cotton rounds in 1 teaspoon each of hydrogen peroxide and distilled water; add to a zip-top bag. Prior to an event, wipe one on teeth and let sit 30 seconds, then rinse.
Or try a peroxide-mouthwash mix.
TikToker Kristen Machado went viral for this simple trick, which she uses right before parties and big events. To do: Combine three parts mouthwash with one part hydrogen peroxide (diluted, 3 percent). Sprinkle in a little baking soda, and mix the solution. Then rinse with it after you brush your teeth.
A word of caution: Don’t brush your teeth every day with this solution. It can erode your enamel, make your teeth more sensitive, and even make them appear yellower over time, according to experts.
To block red wine stains, enlist seltzer.
Tannins in red wine, cola and coffee cause proteins, sugars, and carbs to stick to enamel, leaving behind stains. But seltzer’s bubbles fizz on teeth to whisk away dulling residue. To do: Swish with seltzer or sparkling water between sips.
To remove set-in stains, grab a banana peel.
Banana peel’s potassium, magnesium, and manganese act as natural bleaching agents to break down stains. To do: Rub teeth with the inside of a banana peel for two minutes; let sit 10 minutes. Brush off residue with a dry toothbrush; rinse.
To get a professional-looking smile immediately, try tooth paint.
This one sounds strange, but it’s a good solution when you’re in a pinch. Chrom Tooth Polish can be applied to your teeth just like nail polish. The difference? You can quickly chip it off whenever you like, and it doesn’t damage the teeth underneath. The polish lasts for about 24 hours, and the company claims that it’s non toxic, vegan, and cruelty free.
Note: Make sure to visit your dentist if you notice any serious discoloration — don’t just cover it with tooth paint. It may be a sign of an urgent dental issue.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.