Are those pearly whites turning into yellow fangs? Follow these steps and you'll end up with a smile that makes politicians jealous.
Step 1: Brush & floss Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss your teeth at least once a day—the best offense against staining your teeth is a good defense.
Step 2: Use whitening toothpaste Use a whitening toothpaste, which contains a special polishing agent or chemical to remove stains, that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Follow the label's directions.
Step 3: Get teeth cleaned Have your teeth cleaned by your dentist every six months—each visit will temporarily remove stains left by coffee, cigarettes, soft drinks, or red wine.
TIP: Ask your dentist about professional whitening options such as chairside bleaching.
Step 4: Bleach at home You can also try an at-home bleaching kit—be sure to follow the directions on the label and only use products with the ADA seal.
TIP: Consider having your dentist make a customized bleaching tray for your mouth, as over-the-counter kits have a one-size-fits-all dental tray which could allow the bleach to irritate your gums.
Step 5: Avoid discoloration Avoid cigarettes, coffee, red wine, tea, and soft drinks, all of which can discolor your teeth.
FACT: Ancient Romans sometimes used urine to whiten their teeth—there's a technique your dentist won't recommend.