A woman applying toothpaste on toothbrush in a bathroom

Toothbrushing Techniques for Whiter Teeth

Everyone wants a sparkling white smile, but not everyone knows the best way to get one. Dingy gray or yellow stains happen naturally as we age. Other times eating and drinking common foods — like coffee, wine, or sweets — can stain teeth. Try out these toothbrushing techniques to help restore your bright smile.

How to Brush Your Teeth to Make Them White

Dental professionals categorize tooth discoloration into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains occur inside the tooth — within the enamel or dentin — and are caused by aging, genetic disorders, and other issues. Removing intrinsic stains requires the use of bleaching agents, such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

On the other hand, extrinsic stains occur on the tooth's surface, usually from exposure to highly pigmented foods and beverages or tobacco. You can reduce these stains through mechanical efforts — such as brushing your teeth. Use the following tips to make sure your brushing is as effective as possible.

Choose the Right Toothbrush

Did you know using the right toothbrush can help keep your teeth clean and white? The ADA recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean and polish teeth without damaging your enamel or gums. Your brush's size and shape should fit in your mouth so you can reach all your teeth with ease. Electric toothbrushes can help improve your technique, allowing the brush to do most of the mechanical work for you.

Brush the Best Way

Know how to brush properly to get whiter teeth. With your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, gently brush your teeth using short, back-and-forth strokes. Concentrate on areas with surface stains, but make sure to brush all the surfaces of your teeth, including the insides. Also, brush your tongue to get rid of any lingering bacteria. Finally, don't forget to floss or clean between your teeth with an interdental device.

Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

The ADA recommends you replace your toothbrush every three to four months or even sooner. A worn-down and frayed toothbrush can't clean your teeth as well. So if you start noticing signs of wear, purchase a new toothbrush to lift stains and polish your teeth properly. That means throwing out a toothbrush with frayed bristles, even if it's before three months.

Use a Whitening Toothpaste

For the best results, add a whitening toothpaste to your oral care routine. Whitening toothpaste will contain abrasive ingredients — such as silica — to help scrub the tooth's surface. They also might include a low-dose version of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to help whiten teeth over time. Ask your dental professional to recommend the best whitening toothpaste for you.

In addition to these techniques, maintaining bright and healthy teeth requires visiting your dental office for routine exams and cleanings. Achieving a whiter smile starts with good oral health, so make taking care of your teeth a priority.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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