- Break out the Arm & Hammer. "Baking soda should be used alone on a damp toothbrush or mixed with toothpaste to neutralize the salty taste," Dr. Sands says.
- Get chewin'. Dr. Sands recommends chomping down on chewing gum that has xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener. Chew it immediately after ingesting stain-causing food or beverages (red wine, coffee, and so forth) to keep stains at bay. The increased saliva protects your teeth before stains can set in. What's more, this kind of gum can actually help, not harm teeth. "An added benefit is that xylitol has been shown to help prevent decay," Dr. Sands says.
- Hit the market. In addition to avoiding stain-causing foods, seek out strawberries, which brighten teeth. Just slice one and rub it directly on your teeth. "Strawberries contain natural teeth whitening agents," Dr. Sands says. "It is very important to brush with toothpaste immediately afterward, as strawberries also contain sugar and acids."***
- Concoct your own brushing blend. "Mix baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and toothpaste for an inexpensive whitening toothpaste," Dr. Sands says.
- Rinse well. Dr. Sands recommends a fluoride rinse such as Act Restoring rinse to strengthen teeth while keeping them sparkling.
***I WILL NEVER DO THIS STEP. Strawberries taste like garbage. If you, like most people (and most of my silly, silly friends) read this and say "WHA!? Strawberries are AMAZING AND YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON FOR HATING THESE!" I respond, "Dear filthy garbage eater. I am sorry you take personal offense because I hate eating things that taste rotten. Good day." And then you respond, "OMG, rude! You obviously haven't had good strawberries, you've just had legitimately rotten ones and you think that's what they all taste like!!!!" And then I say, "No, no. Trust. I have had every type of garbageberry out there and they are all sickening. It's not my problem that you like to eat mushy, sour/overly sweet, yucky fruit." And you say, "Fine. You're a freak." And I say, "FINE. Be gone!!!!"
And then the doctors come and remove the straight jacket for arts and crafts hour.