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I’ve always been an avid drinker of tea. Green tea, red tea, camomile – you can’t beat a soothing cup of something hot.
It’s one of life’s few simple pleasures. When I got my braces at the age of seventeen, I was cautioned against this habit; while the benefits of drinking green tea are plenty, and include better skin and a faster metabolism, it doesn’t do a lot for your smile.
The tannins contained in herbal and red tea are pretty effective at staining your teeth, and if you want to maintain a beautiful set of pearly whites, a substantial regular dental bill might be on the cards. At this point in time, I don’t have a huge budget, and I’m not kicking my new-found coffee habit any time soon, so I decided to consider my options.
Whitening at the dentist
This might be your first thought, but it can easily bite you in the bum with a £300 dental bill. This will, however, be the most likely to provide you with results. If you have enough money, paying is the best way to get what you want. If you’re reading a financial advice blog, however, you probably don’t have that much to spare.
Tooth whitening strips
These vary, but are usually priced on the high street from £15-40.
If you’re someone that buys into the ‘natural remedies’ idea, then you might want to try coconut oil. The method of ‘oil pulling’ has been around for a while, but there are no studies showing that it is particularly effective. None the less, it remains popular amongst the ‘alternative medicine’ crowd, who recommend that you use extra virgin coconut oil, which can be purchased from Holland and Barrett’s for £21.99.
Stain removal toothpaste
This is the method that I’m currently going for. I purchased a tube of ‘Blanx’ for £6.50, using my Boots card points (I’m on the ball). I haven’t been using it for too long yet, but it has a pleasant taste, and the applicator that it comes in ensures only a small, pea-sized portion can be used at a time. There’s also something a little bit comforting about not having to change anything about my day-to-day routine, whilst making a minor improvement to my life.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. I used to make an effort to use straws when drinking certain kinds of drinks. However, one way or another, this always looks strange, looking goofy one way or another is unavoidable.
It’s important to remember that, whatever you do, life happens to your body. Like everything else, our teeth tell a story about us, our habits, our insecurities, our own individual lives. It’s easy to become fixated on small imperfections, but at the end of the day, you’re probably the person that notices them the most.
Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.