How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

Everybody wants a perfectly white smile. But, is the cost of teeth whitening worth it? Find out everything you need to know about the teeth whitening options you have, what it costs on average, and how you can get pearly whites for cheaper.

What Is Teeth Whitening?

The usual color of your teeth isn’t white. They usually have a yellowish tint to them. This is thanks to staining that our everyday activities, eating, and drinking cause.

Teeth whitening is the procedure to restore the original whiteness of your teeth. This is a cosmetic procedure, and it doesn’t improve or affect the usability of your teeth. But, it can be beneficial in a lot of other ways.

Many people see white teeth as a sign of health and status. A pearly white smile can influence your image, self-confidence, and mental health. These are reasons enough to invest in whitening your teeth.

What Causes Teeth Staining?

Your teeth are naturally white. However, there are certain foods or activities that can discolor your teeth. You can avoid some of these to maintain the whiteness of your teeth for longer.

The most common reasons for tooth staining are:

  • Eating habits: Some foods and drinks, such as coffee, wine, and tea include tannins. These chemicals settle on your teeth and attach color compounds to themselves. If you regularly drink coffee, you’re more at risk of yellow teeth.
  • Smoking: Smoking is bad for your health in many ways. And you can add the discoloration of your teeth to that list too. The nicotine in cigarettes leaves brown deposits on your teeth.
  • Drugs or medication: Some chemicals found in certain medication can also discolor your teeth.
  • Grinding: If you grind your teeth, you wear the enamel on your teeth. The enamel is the hard white substance that protects your teeth. The next layer of the tooth is the yellow dentin. If you grind the enamel away, you’re bound to weaken your teeth and reveal the yellow layer underneath.
  • Old age: There’s a direct correlation between aging and staining teeth. That’s why older patients who want their teeth whitened won’t get the same results as a teenager.

Home Remedies vs. Professional Dental Procedures

There are various ways you can whiten your teeth. The cost of home teeth whitening kits and professional procedures differs based on the brand and practice. But, if you’re looking to have your teeth whitened, these are the best options for you:

Home Teeth Whitening Kits

These are the cheapest and most convenient ways to whiten your teeth. But, their effectiveness and safety isn’t guaranteed. 

Usually, over-the-counter teeth whitening kits include a bleaching gel. This bleaching agent isn’t as concentrated as what you’d find at a dentist. It usually comes in the form of strips or as a gel with a one-size-fits-all tray.

Take Home Teeth Whitening Kits

If you want a compromise between effectiveness and cost, a take home teeth whitening kit may be your best choice. The dentist provides you with the necessary materials and guidance to whiten your teeth at home. However, this method takes a lot of time.

The dentist gives you a low-concentration peroxide gel. You’ll have to apply this on your teeth with the help of a custom-made tray.

Professional Teeth Whitening at a Dentist

This is the most effective way to whiten your teeth. But, it’s also the teeth whitening method with the highest cost. You’ll achieve significant color change quickly with the help of a dentist.

During a teeth whitening appointment, the dentist places a high-concentration peroxide bleaching agent on your teeth. Usually, this stays on your teeth for 15-20 minute long intervals.

If your teeth aren’t badly stained, you can walk out of the dentist within an hour with a shiny white smile.

Some dentists also use a laser teeth whitening treatment. While laser teeth whitening comes with a higher cost, it’s less harmful to your enamel.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

The cost of the teeth whitening procedure depends on a lot of factors. The method you use is crucial to calculating your budget for whiter teeth. While at-home kits are cheaper, they’re not as effective and don’t give you lasting results. And professional teeth whitening costs more, but it lasts longer too. You may save more money with it in the long run.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits usually cost between $20-100. But, it depends on the brand. You can find these in drug stores or pharmacies as they’re very popular.

Every dental practice prices their teeth whitening procedures individually. However, you’ll probably find the average cost of a take home kit in the $100-400 price range. Whereas an appointment with the dentist can be anywhere between $300-1500 on average.

The final cost will depend on how many whitening sessions you have and what kind of equipment the dentist uses to perform them. For example, laser whitening is usually a more expensive option. 

The above figures are estimates, based on current market prices. But you should remember that the cost of products and treatments will vary according to location, brand, and surgery rates.

Is Professional Teeth Whitening Worth the Cost?

Looking at the price tag, professional teeth whitening seems like a lot more expensive than just a simple at-home kit. But is the price difference justified? Is professional teeth whitening worth the cost?

Whitening your teeth isn’t without risk. Trusting a trained professional to do it for you isn’t just faster and more effective. It’s also safer. 

They’ll know how to whiten your teeth without damaging your enamel or gums. And they’ll use medical-grade materials and tools to restore the whiteness of your teeth.

If you’re looking for a quick, effective, and safe way to whiten your teeth, the cost of the procedure is definitely worth it.

The Risks of Teeth Whitening

Just like every medical procedure, teeth whitening comes with a few risks. Especially if you’re resorting to home remedies. If you’re not careful, teeth whitening can cost you more than money. It can also cost you your health.

  • Tooth sensitivity: Bleach is a ruthless material. So, you may feel increased sensitivity after you had your teeth bleached. Hot or cold temperatures, pressure, or touch can cause you pain. Some people even experience spontaneous pains called zingers. Luckily, this sensitivity usually only lasts a few days. And a dentist can recommend products or medication to alleviate the pain.
  • Gum irritation: Peroxide can irritate your gums. That’s why dentists put a guard on your gums when they’re working with highly concentrated peroxide to bleach your teeth. However, over-the-counter kits don’t provide this safety measure.
  • Technicolor teeth: If you have implants, dental crowns, or veneers, the results of teeth whitening may be different than you expect. Bleach doesn’t affect these restorative tools. So, your surrounding teeth may become whiter after bleaching than the fake teeth. This phenomenon is called “technicolor teeth”.

Teeth Whitening Cost in Time

Money isn’t the only thing you spend on a procedure like this. Teeth whitening also costs your time. How long you can see results depends on which method you chose, and what level of shade difference you want to achieve.

On average, the time cost of teeth whitening is 1-2 months with over-the-counter kits. That’s if you diligently apply the gel or strip to your teeth every day.

If you get a take home teeth whitening kit from the dentist, expect to spend a longer time on it. You’ll need to apply the bleaching gel for 2 hours every day. Paired with a teeth whitening toothpaste, you can expect to see results in 2-3 weeks. But, the results last longer than most methods.

The fastest way to whiten your teeth is to go to a dentist. They can brighten your teeth by several shades in less than two hours. However, if you have some severe staining, they’ll ask you to return for a second appointment to complete the procedure. And they also may ask you to continue with take-home whitening to achieve the best results.

How to Whiten Your Teeth for Cheaper

Ultimately, teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure. This means that a lot of insurance plans don’t cover it. But, this doesn’t mean that you should resort to over-the-counter methods with a higher risk to achieve the perfect smile.

If you have a Carefree Dental Card, you can unlock huge savings on dental procedures at participating dentists. This means that you’ll get the same teeth whitening at a lower cost. You can save between 15%-50%* per visit on your dental bill in most instances.

Ready to save on your teeth whitening? Learn more when you sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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Deteriorating Teeth With Old Age


Aging is an inevitable part of life. Decades of eating, drinking, and talking certainly take a toll on your teeth. Deteriorating teeth is a common sign of aging. Taking care of your dental health and preventing tooth decay is crucial to keep the teeth you were born with. Learn about the risks of aging on your dental health and what you can do to keep your teeth in tip-top shape.

You Don’t Have to Lose Your Teeth

Old age used to mean dentures and veneers. People over the age of fifty didn’t usually keep their own teeth. Due to their oral hygiene, the effects of aging, and not visiting the dentist, they lost several or all of their teeth.

But, that doesn’t have to happen to you. If you understand the effects of aging on your teeth, and you actively try to prevent and treat dental issues, you have every chance to keep your own teeth throughout your life. 

The 5 Biggest Dental Problems For People Over 50

Wrinkles aren’t the only sign of aging. Deteriorating teeth are just as telling about a person’s age. And we’re not just talking about missing teeth. Here are the most common signs of aging on your teeth and dental health.

1. Dry Mouth Is a Common Side Effect of Medication

Saliva actually helps clean teeth regularly. When you lack the necessary amount of saliva, you have dry mouth. And this can be harmful to your teeth. One reason dry mouth is more common in older age is because it is a side effect of many medications, and taking medication is more common among older age groups.

A dry mouth doesn't necessarily mean you are thirsty all of the time. A common symptom of this condition is bad breath, and a sticky feeling in your mouth. You may also have difficulty swallowing.  

Luckily, dry mouth is an easy symptom to fix. Make sure you drink more water than usual. Chewing on sugar free gum can also help. If you still have dry mouth, a dentist can recommend a more effective treatment.

2. Gingivitis Can Turn Into a Serious Disease

If your gums are red, swollen, and bleed easily, gingivitis is probably the culprit. Gingivitis left untreated can turn into gum disease, which can lead to even more problems. You could lose your teeth due to more infection. But, you’d be lucky if your deteriorating teeth only stop there.

Untreated gum disease can lead to heart disease and even strokes. Luckily, it’s an easily preventable condition. All you need to do is have regular dental visits and dental care.

3. Tooth Decay Is the Most Common Sign of Deteriorating Teeth

One of the biggest signs of deteriorating teeth is tooth decay. The cause of this condition lies in poor dental hygiene. 

When you don’t brush your teeth and floss regularly, bacteria eats away at your teeth. Cavities can form, which may be painful. These cavities are often near old fillings or hard-to-reach spaces.

The deterioration of your teeth doesn’t stop at cavities though. The decay can continue to your gums, which can lead to early-stage gum disease. And you know that untreated gum disease could result in life-threatening conditions. 

Although your deteriorating teeth can be a great concern as you age, you can easily prevent it. Regular dental visits and possibly a boost in fluoride will help prevent tooth decay.

4. Make Sure Your Dentist Checks For Signs of Oral Cancer

The chance of having oral cancer rises with age. Smokers and heavy drinkers are even more at-risk of this illness. The best way to treat oral cancer is to receive a diagnosis early on. And the best person to diagnose it is your dentist.

Make sure your dentist checks for possible signs of oral cancer at your oral examination. This is just another reason regular dentist visits are crucial as you age.

5. Overcrowding Teeth Are a Common Problem for People Over 50

Your teeth shift with age. You may not even notice that they gradually overcrowd each other over time. The problem with overcrowded teeth isn’t necessarily aesthetic. The issue comes from the bacteria and food particles that get stuck in overcrowded teeth.

As flossing becomes more and more difficult, aging people abandon their oral hygiene. That’s when cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease develop. This means that overcrowded teeth are a big culprit for deteriorating teeth.

Luckily, not all hope is lost if you have overcrowded teeth above the age of 50. An orthodontist can sometimes fix the overcrowding with a retainer. But, you definitely need to commit to more frequent professional dental cleanings. These procedures can effectively clean your teeth and prevent poor dental hygiene from affecting your health.

Why Taking Care of Your Teeth Is Important

You may think that with today’s dental technology, you don’t have to worry about losing your teeth. You can always get implants, dentures, and veneers, right? Well, dental health is a little bit more complex than that. You need to take care of your aging mouth because you eat and talk with it.

If you take care of your deteriorating teeth, you can:

  • Avoid pain: Cavities and gum disease aren’t just dangerous. They’re also very painful. Seeing how easy it is to prevent them, it’s much easier to avoid the pain in the first place. 
  • Keep your costs low: Fillings, root canals, and dentures all cost money. The cheapest way to take care of your teeth is to try to keep as many of the original ones in your mouth as possible.
  • Prevent serious illnesses: Untreated gum disease can lead to heart problems and strokes. These are life-threatening illnesses. Taking care of your oral health means taking care of your general health as well.

How to Care for Your Deteriorating Teeth as You Age

If you’re over the age of 50, you need to pay special attention to your teeth. If you’re determined to keep as many of your teeth as possible, these 4 simple steps can go a long way in treating deteriorating teeth.

Keep Up With Your Oral Hygiene

You need to brush your teeth, floss, and clean your tongue at least twice a day, every day. Your regular oral hygiene routine can even include mouthwash if you’re so inclined.

If you’ve never brushed your teeth regularly, it’s never too late to start. Pick up this healthy habit, and you’ll see a quick improvement in the health of your teeth and gums.

Monitor Your Symptoms

As you age, you need to listen to your body. If you feel pain, or notice that something’s different about your oral health, speak to a dentist as soon as you can.

The discoloration of your teeth, gums, and tongue can be a sign of a serious illness. And a sharp pain or sensitivity in your teeth can be a cavity you didn’t know about. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, even if they don’t seem related. 

Get Regular Dental Cleanings

Usually, you should get two professional dental cleanings a year. But, as you age, your dentist may recommend you more. Cleaning your overcrowded teeth and the parts of your mouth you can’t reach is crucial to sufficient oral health. 

Visit the Dentist for Oral Exams

Even if you don’t feel any pain, you should still visit a dentist for a regular checkup. A trained professional can notice if something’s wrong before you can. When it comes to deteriorating teeth, safe is definitely better than sorry.

Save Money on the Dentist with Your Deteriorating Teeth

Without a doubt, the best person to examine and treat your deteriorating teeth is the dentist. And as you age, this becomes even more crucial. If you don’t visit a professional, you risk further deterioration, losing your teeth, and even death.

A lot of people avoid going to routine oral exams because of the cost. Luckily, with a Carefree Dental Card, you won’t have to choose between your wallet and your dental health.

Our dental discount plan can unlock huge savings at participating dentists. How much? Members can save 15% - 50%* per visit in most instances at participating dentists. That’s huge!

Ready to save big on your next oral examination for deteriorating teeth? Sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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How to Prevent Morning Breath

Morning breath is one of the more unpleasant issues most people have to deal with in their daily life. And knowing how to prevent morning breath can make your and your partner’s life much more pleasant.

We've all been there. You’re waking up to a beautiful morning. There’s a soft light seeping through the curtains and you hear the sound of songbirds chirping outside.

You roll over and gaze across the bed upon your beautiful loved one, who’s also just waking from a peaceful slumber. You lean over to plant a good morning kiss, and then it happens:

Bad breath of giant proportions assaults your olfactory senses. And it’s coming from your loved one's mouth.

How, you wonder, can such a beautiful, sweet person emit from their mouth a smell that could be considered a weapon in some countries?

What Is Morning Breath?

What you fail to realize is that you probably have morning breath too. And maybe it’s even worse than your partner’s! 

The truth is, everybody has morning breath. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis. It’s a common phenomenon. Luckily, it’s easy to treat and prevent. 

What Causes Morning Breath?

When you’re awake, talking, swallowing, and eating keep your mouth in motion. This prevents the bacteria in it from settling. But when you sleep, the bacteria in your mouth has an opportunity to "activate". 

Once things settle down, they attach to residual food particles left on your teeth and tongue. The bacteria set up camp and get working on destroying your teeth. Fast forward 8-10 hours and that very same bacteria now have an odor we call “morning breath”. 

Even though morning breath is identified as that bacteria, there are certain situations that make morning breath even worse.

Poor Oral Hygiene

The most common cause for morning breath is poor oral hygiene. And if you don’t brush your teeth properly, there are more bacteria in your mouth to do damage. However, brushing isn’t the only part of a good dental hygiene routine.

You also need to floss your teeth and scrape your tongue every day. Food particles between your teeth and on your tongue are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

If you don’t take care of your oral hygiene, you can develop gum disease (periodontal disease). One of the first signs of periodontal disease is bad breath. Left untreated, you can lose your teeth and develop life-threatening illnesses.

So, bad breath won’t be the only uncomfortable consequence of poor oral hygiene.

Dry Mouth

If you have amazing dental hygiene and still have bad morning breath, dry mouth is probably the culprit. Saliva plays an important role in washing away harmful bacteria. However, during the night, our salivary glands function lower. This can lead to a dry mouth, and therefore, more bacteria.

Some medications can also cause dry mouth. And these can make your morning breath worse. 

Another factor that you should consider is snoring. The act of breathing heavily while sleeping quickly dries your mouth out. So, you may want to look for ways to cut down on snoring. (Your partner’s nose and ears will thank you.)

Certain Foods

Sulphuric compounds often contribute to the bacteria of morning breath. Eating certain foods, such as onions or garlic can make your halitosis even worse. Fortunately, getting rid of onion breath isn’t a complicated process. But, you should probably do it before you go to bed.


Smoking affects your oral health significantly. It can cause dry mouth, periodontal disease, and even mouth cancer. Not to mention how bad the smell of cigarettes can be. All of these reasons combined make tobacco one of the worst causes for morning breath.


Gastrointestinal reflux (GERD) is a special situation that can make morning breath worse. People suffering from this condition can have their stomach acid wash back up their esophagus. 

How to Prevent Morning Breath

Now that we identified the most common causes of bad breath, we know how to fight it. Knowing how to prevent morning breath can save you and your partner from uncomfortable mornings.

Preventing morning breath is much better than treating it. Since the cause of morning breath is most likely a medical condition or a poor lifestyle decision, taking steps to prevent it can make you healthier as well. 

That said, preventing morning breath can be a big lifestyle change. Still, it needs to be a regular effort on your part, and keeping that up isn’t easy. But, it’s definitely worth it.

Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

Since poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of bad morning breath, the best thing you can do to prevent it is to brush your teeth before bed.

Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day: in the morning and the evening. Make flossing and scraping your tongue a part of your oral hygiene routine as well. And using mouthwash can also be beneficial.

Keep Water By Your Bed

Another great defense for a dry, bacteria-friendly mouth is a simple glass of water. Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria and clear out any loose pieces.

Not to mention how great that water tastes when your mouth is all dry from sleeping. 

Drink Less Alcohol

While you may be more likely to forget to brush your teeth after a few drinks, that's not the only reason to cut back on alcoholic drinks, especially at night. Alcohol can contribute to a dry mouth, creating that breeding ground for those pesky bacteria. 

If you're feeling like a few drinks, try hydrating with water at the same time. This may be a difficult step in preventing morning breath, but it will benefit your health long term.

How to Treat Morning Breath

Now you know how to prevent morning breath. And while these three steps work wonders on the smell of your mouth instantly, you may want to freshen your breath in the morning regardless.

These treatments to bad breath are quick. But without treating the underlying cause, they’re useless long-term.

Brush Your Teeth

Again, the minty freshness of the toothpaste as you brush your teeth will surely eradicate the bad smell. Taking care of your oral hygiene in the morning is just as beneficial for your health. But if you get up and brush your teeth before your partner wakes up, you can prevent them from experiencing your morning breath as well.

Breath Mints

A quicker, but less hygienic solution is to take a breath mint. Just make sure you choose the sugar-free kind. You don’t want to cause more damage to your teeth.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gums

While sugar-free chewing gum isn’t as useful as brushing your teeth, it’s a little bit better than a breath mint. The act of chewing can activate your salivary glands, producing the saliva needed to wash the bacteria away.

Eat or Drink Something

Washing down the bacteria that caused the odor can get rid of the morning breath itself. Worst case, your morning breath will disappear once you have breakfast or a cup of coffee.

Still, it’s not a very good way to treat halitosis if it comes from bad oral hygiene...

Do You Still Have Morning Breath Despite Prevention?

Having bad morning breath despite doing everything to prevent it is a bad sign. Halitosis is often a sign of a serious underlying condition. So, if your morning breath doesn’t disappear within a few weeks of taking preventive steps, you should speak to a dentist.

A lot of people avoid going to the dentist simply because of the cost. But with a Carefree Dental Card, you won’t have to choose between your wallet and your dental health.

Our dental discount plan can unlock huge savings at participating dentists. Save big on your oral examination when you become a Carefree Dental Card member!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.


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Is Coffee Bad For Your Teeth?

Are you one of the many Americans who need a cup of coffee to start the day? Coffee seems to be an absolute need for some of us to actually wake up. But, is coffee bad for your teeth? Or, is this delicious morning boost doing damage to your oral health?

What Does Coffee Do To Your Teeth?

There’s a simple rule to every drink: if it stains your clothes, it stains your teeth. The same goes for coffee. Even one cup a day can stain your teeth. And staining is one of the main reasons why coffee is bad for your teeth.

Coffee contains tannins. These ingredients are a type of polyphenol. They break down in water and make color compounds stick to your teeth. So, the tannins in coffee cause that yellow hue on your teeth that’s difficult to remove.

Does Coffee Damage Your Teeth?

Coffee stains your teeth. But, does it do any other damage? Is coffee bad for your teeth in general? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. However, whatever damage coffee causes is easily reversible.

Coffee is an acidic drink. This means that it damages your teeth by eating away the enamel. The enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth. It’s a hard substance, but not indestructible. So, coffee and tooth enamel don’t mix well together.

Coffee also damages your teeth the same way any other food does. Especially if you take your coffee with sugar. The food particles stick to the pits and crevices of your teeth, and feed the bacteria in your mouth.

This bacteria is the culprit behind cavities and gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can result in lost teeth and even strokes and heart disease. In short, coffee contributes to much more than simple staining when it comes to your oral health. Luckily, both the staining and the bacteria are easy problems to fix.

Can I Drink Coffee Without Staining My Teeth? 

Coffee lovers rejoice! There’s still a way to have your daily Cup of Joe and have a pearly white smile. Using simple tricks can help prevent and diminish the staining to your teeth when you drink coffee regularly.

8 Tricks to Prevent Coffee From Staining Your Teeth

1. Limit How Much Coffee You Drink

If you’re a 3-cups-a-day kind of person, but you’re worried about how coffee stains your teeth, it may be worth limiting yourself to just one. Besides, the recommended coffee intake is just 2 cups/day.

2. Drink Coffee With Milk

Black coffee stains your teeth more. Diluting it with milk can diminish the staining effects of coffee. But if you drink coffee with milk and sugar too, you’ll create a different way how coffee can damage your teeth.

3. Use an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes are more effective than regular toothbrushes when it comes to removing coffee stains. If you use a manual toothbrush but you love your daily coffee, it may be worth investing in a different toothbrush.

4. Munch on Crunchy Fruit and Vegetables

Apples, celery, and carrots are natural stain removers. They activate the saliva production in your mouth that helps wash away the tannins of coffee.

5. Drink Coffee With a Straw

Drinking iced coffee with a straw is usual. But, you can drink hot coffee with a straw to diminish the staining effects it has on your teeth. Just be careful. Sipping steaming hot coffee with a straw can cause serious burns.

6. Drink in One Sitting

Sipping coffee throughout the day, even if it’s just one cup, helps bacteria build up. Whereas drinking your cup faster in one sitting minimizes it. 

7. Eat Something Before Your Coffee

Eating a bite or two with your coffee can brace your teeth from the staining tannins. This way the food and the saliva you produce create a buffer between the coffee and your teeth. Besides, even the French drink their coffee with a croissant

8. Brush Your Teeth Right After Drinking Coffee

Although it seems strange, if you truly want to prevent the damages of coffee, you should brush right after you drink it. That’s the most effective way to minimize how bad coffee is for your teeth.

How to Remove Coffee Stains From Your Teeth

Even if you drink coffee with a straw and eat a carrot right after, there’s still a chance that coffee will stain your teeth. And if you do none of the preventive measures, you’re almost guaranteeing that yellow hue on your teeth.

The only way to remove coffee stains from your teeth is to use teeth whitening solutions. These can range from cheap home remedies to effective professional whitening. Here are the most popular ways to whiten your teeth 

Brush Your Teeth With Baking Soda

Twice a month, sprinkle some baking soda (soda bicarbonate) on your toothbrush. This will help remove any color compounds and tannins stuck to your teeth. 

But, be careful with how roughly you brush.

The hard crystals of baking soda can also damage your enamel. And that can do more harm than good. So, be sure to brush gently. Plus, you should only do this twice a month at most.

Use Whitening Toothpaste

Some toothpastes are specifically designed to remove coffee stains. The whitening effects of these could reverse the damage coffee has done to your teeth.

Teeth Whitening Strips Help Reduce Coffee Stains

If baking soda and whitening toothpaste didn’t bring the desired results, you can invest in teeth whitening strips. These are a little bit more aggressive in whitening your teeth. 

However, you need to be careful with the brand and the ingredients of these strips. Cheap teeth whitening strips can damage your enamel even further.

Professional Teeth Whitening Procedures Are the Most Effective

The most reliable way to whiten your teeth is to have a dentist do it. They know how to protect your teeth while restoring their pearly whiteness.

The effects of a professional dental whitening also last longer. While the yellow staining does return if you keep drinking coffee, regular teeth whitening can eliminate this problem best.

Other Drinks That Cause Stains to Your Teeth

Coffee isn’t the only drink that stains your teeth. Apart from water, every drink causes an acidic reaction in your mouth. Though it’s not something you notice, it definitely weakens your enamel. The following drinks also include tannins, that stain your teeth:

  • Red wine
  • Black tea
  • Colas
  • Berry juices (blueberry, blackberry, cherry)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Sports drinks

Keep the Coffee, But Visit the Dentist

Coffee is bad for your teeth. Unfortunately, coffee stains your teeth and eats away the enamel. Yet, many of us still wouldn’t give it up. If you decide to keep drinking coffee daily, you should consider visiting a dentist for a tooth whitening. 

The dentist is the only one that can check how much damage the coffee has done to your teeth. Luckily, oral examinations with the dentist don’t cost that much if you have a Carefree Dental Card.

The Carefree Dental discount plan can unlock huge savings on dental procedures at participating dentists. You can save between 15%-50%* off your bill per visit in most instances. 

Ready to save BIG at the dentist? Learn more when you sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

Read More »

What to Expect From a Dental Cleaning


Professional dental cleanings are crucial for proper oral hygiene. No matter how well you brush your teeth at home, an expert has more skill and knowledge. There are a lot of benefits to getting your teeth cleaned professionally. But most importantly, it can prevent a lot of serious illnesses. Here’s everything you should expect from a dental cleaning.

It’s never too late to start getting dental cleanings. Whether you’re getting over your fear of the dentist or you just haven’t had the time, it’s good that you’re thinking about getting cleanings. Make it a regular habit, and you’ll reap the benefits of proper oral hygiene in no time.

How to Prepare for a Dental Cleaning

Technically, you don’t have to do anything before your dental cleaning. If you regularly brush and floss your teeth, you don’t have anything to worry about. But every dentist and dental hygienist appreciates it if you brush your teeth before your appointment as a courtesy.

If you have a preexisting condition (or you suspect cavities or gum disease), make sure you inform the professional who’s cleaning your teeth.

The 6 Steps of a Professional Dental Cleaning

Usually, a dental hygienist or a dentist completes your professional dental cleaning. It usually takes 30-60 minutes for the procedure. These are the steps you can expect as soon as you land in the dentist chair.

1. Physical Examination

First, your dental hygienist will examine the current state of your teeth and gums. They use a small mirror to check the hard-to-see areas of your mouth.

The dental hygienist will note any signs of gingivitis, cavities, or other potential concerns. If they notice a major problem, they’ll call in the dentist to discuss potential treatments. 

2. Scaling: Removing Plaque and Tartar

Once the dental hygienist finishes your examination, they’ll start the dental cleaning with scaling. Using a tool called a scaler, they remove any tartar buildup and plaque from your teeth. You’ll hear scraping sounds, but this is completely normal. 

The more plaque and tartar buildup you have, the longer this step will take.

Plaque is harmful bacteria on your teeth. You can easily remove it with common home remedies. But if you don’t, it can easily develop into tartar. Tartar is a very hard material that’s fused to your teeth. Only a dental hygienist or dentist should remove it.

3. Polishing With Gritty Toothpaste

Next, the dental hygienist will use gritty toothpaste and an electric toothbrush to brush your teeth. The grinding noise you’ll hear during this process may be alarming. But, it’s just the sound of the leftover tartar disappearing.

Using harsh toothpaste like this is great to polish your teeth twice a year. But using it every day would wear down your enamel quickly. You should always be gentler on your teeth when you’re brushing them at home.

4. Flossing at a Dental Cleaning

No matter how well and how regularly you floss at home, nothing beats the flossing during a professional dental cleaning. Let the expert go through your teeth to reach problematic spots and to get rid of leftover tartar.

5. Rinsing

After flossing, you’ll probably have to rinse your mouth. This helps get rid of all the debris from plaque and tartar that got removed. (Don’t be surprised at multiple rinsings during a dental cleaning.)

6. Fluoride Treatment

The last step of a dental cleaning is fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a chemical that helps protect your enamel. Most kinds of toothpaste contain this ingredient. But, a professional fluoride treatment is more effective.

The dental hygienist will place a foamy gel or a sticky paste into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. Then, you’ll have to bite onto this and hold it in your mouth for a minute. Additionally, the dental hygienist will also use fluoride varnish. They’ll paint it on your teeth with a brush. Saliva makes this varnish harden, and it will protect your teeth for the next couple of months.

After Your Dental Cleaning

Your dental hygienist will tell you how long you need to wait before you eat or drink again. Usually, you can eat or drink right away. But, you may not want to. A lot of people enjoy the minty freshness of dental cleaning and want to preserve that feeling.

Be aware that your gums may be sensitive after the procedure. And eating hot or cold foods may cause you discomfort. So, try to avoid them until your teeth are less sensitive. 

You can immediately schedule your next dental cleaning appointment for 6 months in advance. Until then, make sure you keep your oral hygiene routine up. Brush and floss at least twice every day. Scraping your tongue also contributes positively to your oral health.

Does a Dental Cleaning Hurt?

A lot of people are scared of dental cleanings. The prodding, the strange noises, and the discomfort can alarm anyone. But for most people, a dental cleaning isn’t painful at all.

However, some circumstances can make your dental cleaning hurt. If you have sensitive or inflamed gums, you may feel more discomfort than others. Cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay can also make dental cleanings quite painful.

It’s important to communicate your pain to your dental hygienist. They can take a break, avoid the painful area, or examine the source of the pain and see what can be done to alleviate it. 

Why Professional Dental Cleaning Is Important

There are a lot of benefits to professional dental cleanings. And there are a lot of risks to not getting one. So, if you think that your brushing at home is good enough, you’re in for a surprise. Even the fear of the dentist isn’t enough justification to skip your dental cleaning.

1. A Dental Hygienist Has Better Products and Tools

Your toothbrush and toothpaste aren’t medical grades. Even if you do brush your teeth with the proper technique and pressure, a dental hygienist can still do it better. Not to mention those who don’t brush their teeth well without even realizing it.

2. An Expert Can Recognize Problems Earlier

Surprise! You can’t look inside your mouth. And looking in the mirror can only get you so far. A dental expert has the skill to see every part of your mouth and the knowledge to recognize early signs of problems.

3. You Can’t Remove Tartar at Home

If you allow plaque to build up, tartar forms on your teeth. This hard material gets fused to your teeth and doesn’t scrub off with a toothbrush. Instead, you need the dental hygienist’s scaler to get rid of it. But, you also need their skillset. Trying to remove tartar yourself can cause serious injuries or harm your enamel

And the last thing you want to do when cleaning your teeth to promote your overall dental health is create problems.

4. Bad Dental Hygiene Can Lead to Illness and Even Death

Let’s say don’t mind the built-up tartar on your teeth. That tartar will eat into your teeth. Next thing you know, you’ll have cavities. And you’ll probably only notice the cavities when they become extremely painful. 

If you’re lucky, you may only need a filling or root canal surgery. But, you may actually lose your tooth.

Bad oral hygiene can also lead to gum disease. Untreated gum disease has severe complications. This inflammation affects more than just your gums. It can spread to your lymph nodes, and even up to your eye

Ultimately, untreated gum disease can give you a stroke or a heart attack. By then, your bad oral hygiene became a life-threatening condition. It’s easy to prevent that by going to the dentist for cleanings regularly.

5. Dental Hygienist Are Very Nice

This one’s for those who are afraid of the dentist. The dental hygienist will do everything possible to make your dental cleaning as smooth as possible. No matter how scary the prodding and the sounds are, they’ll take good care of you.

How Often Should You Have a Professional Dental Cleaning?

Experts recommend that you get a professional dental cleaning twice a year. That means that you should make an appointment every six months. But, it ultimately depends on your dental health. 

Some studies suggest that people who aren‘t at risk of gum disease can get a dental cleaning once a year as well. But, even for them, twice a year can be beneficial.

Those at the risk of gum disease or other oral health problems need to get a dental cleaning at least twice a year. This can significantly prevent and treat their dental problems.

Save Money on Your Next Dental Cleaning

A lot of people hesitate to get a dental cleaning because of the cost. Although they’re not afraid of the dentist, they’re wary of the bill that follows. While every dental practice has different prices, an average adult dental cleaning can be pricey.

Luckily, you don’t have to pay that much for a dental cleaning if you have a Carefree Dental Card. The Carefree Dental discount plan unlocks huge savings at participating dentists. 

With a Carefree Dental Card, you could save between 15% - 50%*, per visit, in most instances on dental cleanings at participating providers. Get a thorough dental cleaning (and peace of mind) without worrying about the price when you sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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How to Clean Your Tongue Effectively

Why You Should Be Brushing Your tongue

You need to brush and floss every day, right? That’s what we’ve all been taught. But our parents, teachers, and even dentists often forget to mention the third component of oral hygiene: the tongue. Follow this useful guide on how to clean your tongue and learn why you should do it every day.

Why You Should Clean Your Tongue

Proper oral hygiene is crucial for your overall health. And your tongue plays a very important role in that. Cleaning it regularly can prevent serious diseases. Not to mention how good it feels. Here are the top 5 benefits of cleaning your tongue to motivate you.

1. Less Bacteria on Your Tongue

Our teeth and gums are targets for bacteria, and our tongues are no exception. Due to the tongue's unique structure, bacteria can accumulate and thrive between your taste buds. To remove it, you need to know how to clean your tongue properly.

Rinsing alone won't help. These microorganisms are too small and stick together between the tongue's crevices in the biofilm. When harmful bacteria aren't removed, the situation can lead to tooth damage and foul odors. (And these are problems nobody wants to deal with…)

2. Avoid Bad Breath by Cleaning Your Tongue

Sulfuring compounds on your tongue are one of the biggest contributors to bad breath. Luckily, cleaning your tongue can get rid of it effectively. The difference in your fresher breath will be noticeable.

What tool you use to clean your tongue matters when it comes to bad breath. A tongue scraper gets rid of 75% of sulfuric compounds. Meanwhile, a toothbrush only takes off 45% of them.

3. Reduce Plaque With Tongue Scraping

Plaque is the bacteria that builds up on your teeth. Untreated plaque leads to tartar, cavities, and gum disease. By scraping the bacteria off your tongue, you also prevent plaque buildup

4. Your Mouth Will Feel Fresher

A great but often forgotten benefit of cleaning your tongue is the new feeling of your mouth. Brushing your teeth makes it feel fresher, so why shouldn’t you scrape your tongue? Enjoying that new sensation is definitely worth cleaning your tongue.

5. You May Taste Differently

When you scrape your tongue, you also free up your covered taste buds. One study found that cleaning your tongue can make you taste sucrose and citric acid differently. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Tongue?

You should clean your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Make it part of your dental care routine. That means at least once in the morning and once in the evening before bed. Twice every day.

Ideally, you should also clean your tongue at midday. Usually, if you have a bad taste in your mouth, or feel that your mouth is overly dry. 

Once you get into the habit of cleaning your tongue twice a day, you'll notice fresher breath and (hopefully) improved dental health at your next checkup.

How to Clean Your Tongue With a Tongue Scraper

The best tool you can use to clean your tongue is a tongue scraper. This specifically designed tool is the most effective way to scrape away the bacteria. Follow these simple steps to effectively clean your tongue with a scraper.

  1. Buy a tongue scraper. It’s usually made of metal or plastic. Some tongue scrapers have a handle with a triangle scraper bit. Others are a V-shaped bent design.
  2. Stick out your tongue as much as you can.
  3. Position the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue. Go as far as you can without triggering your gag reflex. 
  4. Next, push the scraper down on your tongue. Move it towards the front. 
  5. When you’ve pulled the scraper all the way, rinse it with water. Spit out excess saliva.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5. Clean your tongue as much as you need to get rid of harmful bacteria.
  7. Finally, clean the tongue scraper thoroughly after you’re done.


How to Clean Your Tongue With a Toothbrush

Even if you don’t have a tongue scraper, you should still clean your tongue. While your toothbrush isn’t as effective, it’s better than nothing. Here’s how to clean your tongue with a toothbrush to achieve the best results.

  1. A soft-bristle toothbrush is the best to clean your tongue.
  2. Stick out your tongue as much as you can.
  3. Position the toothbrush at the back of your tongue. Go as far as you can without triggering your gag reflex. 
  4. Brush gently forward and backward on your tongue.
  5. Spit out excess saliva and rinse your mouth with warm water.
  6. Finally, clean your toothbrush thoroughly after each use.

How to Clean Your Tongue With a Spoon

If all else fails, you can also clean your tongue with a spoon. A regular tablespoon can do the trick. Follow the same steps as you would with a tongue scraper. But, instead of the scraper, use the inside of the spoon to scrape the bacteria off your tongue. 

Can Mouthwash Clean Your Tongue?

Using mouthwash regularly can benefit your oral health. Mouthwash can clean your teeth and areas of your mouth you wouldn’t reach otherwise. Mouthwash can also give you a fresher breath. And some oral rinses even contain ingredients to fight bacteria. 

Still, it’s no substitute for a thorough tongue scraping. If you want all the health benefits of cleaning your tongue, using a tongue scraper is your best bet. 

When to See a Dentist

Making tongue scraping a regular part of your dental hygiene routine is beneficial in a lot of ways. Doing it regularly can prevent diseases and even tooth loss. But, if you notice any unusual changes to your tongue, you should definitely speak to a dentist.

If you develop white or pink patches on your tongue, or if it appears smooth and glossy, seek out a professional. Changes to your tongue can be a sign of a severe underlying health condition.

A lot of people avoid the dentist because of the cost. But, if you leave even minor oral health conditions untreated, they can quickly develop into severe illnesses. Luckily, you don’t have to choose between your oral health and your wallet if you have a Carefree Dental Card.

The Carefree Dental discount plan can unlock huge savings on dental procedures at participating dentists. You can save between 15%-50%* off your bill per visit in most instances. 

Learn more when you sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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How to Fix a Chipped Tooth

Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, your teeth arent’ indestructible. One wrong move can break a significant part of your tooth. This is what we call a chipped tooth. Here’s what you need to do if you have a chipped tooth to fix it quickly and painlessly.

Causes for Chipped Teeth

There are a lot of reasons why your teeth get chipped. The most common causes for a chipped tooth are:

  • Biting on something hard (like a pit, candy, or ice)
  • Playing contact sports without a mouthguard
  • Falls or car accidents
  • Grinding your teeth in your sleep

Is a Chipped Tooth Painful?

How painful your chipped tooth is depends on how badly it broke. If the chip is small, it doesn’t damage the nerves in your tooth. But, if the fracture separates the nerves in your tooth, it can be very painful.

What to Do If You Have a Chipped Tooth

If you accidentally chip your tooth, don’t panic. Keeping calm is crucial when you have a dental emergency. Seek out a dentist immediately. They can fix your chipped tooth easily.

If your chipped tooth hurts, you can take pain relief medication such as acetaminophen. Rinsing your mouth with salt water can also help ease the pain.

Sometimes, the chipped tooth’s remains can be dangerous. The sharp or jagged edge can cut your tongue or the inside of your mouth. To prevent any further pain, cover your chipped tooth with sugarless chewing gum or wax paraffin. This should keep you safe from your own chompers until you get to the dentist.

If you can, avoid eating after chipping your tooth. But if you need to eat, stick to soft foods that you don’t need to chew much. 

How Your Dentist Fixes Your Chipped Tooth

When you get to the dentist, they’ll evaluate the severity of your chipped tooth. Here’s what you can expect during your dental visit for a broken tooth. 

Dental Filling or Bonding

Smaller chips to the tooth are quicker to fix. This makes them a cheaper option too, not to mention much less painful. This is because you’re not dealing with nerve damage.

Your dentist can use dental fillings to make your tooth whole again. These fillings also remove any sharp edges. Don’t worry, if your fillings are exposed. Your dentist will use a tooth-colored resin. This kind of bonding fixes your tooth and restores your perfect smile.


Veneers are a full layer of covering for your damaged tooth. First, your dentist will remove a small amount of the surface of the tooth. Then, they’ll create a mold to get the correct shape for the veneer. Finally, they’ll apply the veneer.

After that, your chipped tooth will be as good as new.

Dental Cap or Crown

If the damage to the tooth is severe, you’ll need a bit more work done. Your dentist may file your tooth until there’s enough space to add a dental cap or crown. These coverings are made from resin, ceramic, metal, or porcelain fused to metal.

Root Canal

Sometimes a chipped tooth fractures all the way to the pulp. It’s severe damage that requires root canal treatment. But, root canals aren’t as scary as they sound. 

During this procedure, your dentist removes the decayed pulp, cleans it out, and then seals the tooth with a crown. While it’s not painless, it’s still better than leaving a severely chipped tooth.

Which Tooth Is Most at Risk?

Any weakened tooth is at risk of chipping. But, statistically, the second lower molar chips the most. That’s because of the pressure you put on it when you chew. 

You’ll also need to be careful with any fillings you have. These aren’t as tough as real enamel. As a result, you may chip the filling again.

Risk Factors For Chipped Teeth

Some people’s teeth are more prone to chipping than others. How easily your teeth chip depends on your lifestyle and genetics. Understanding the risk factors can help you prevent chipping your tooth:

  • Lack of calcium: Calcium is the main component in strong and healthy teeth. If you don’t have enough, your teeth get softer and more susceptible to chips, cracks, and breaks.
  • Tooth decay: Cavities eat away at your enamel. It’s crucial to turn to a dentist if you have cavities.
  • Grinding your teeth: Tooth grinding or bruxism can wear down the enamel of your teeth over time.
  • Eating acidic foods: Fruit juices, coffee, and spicy foods break down your enamel quicker.
  • Acid reflux or heartburn: These digestive problems can bring stomach acid up to your mouth, which can weaken your teeth.
  • Age: Your teeth inevitably wear down over time. If you’re over 50, pay special attention to cracks and chips in your teeth.

Don’t Overpay Fixing Your Chipped Tooth

Even if you do everything to protect your teeth, accidents happen. When your tooth chips, don’t hesitate. Seek out a dentist immediately. Leaving a chipped tooth, especially if the damage is severe, can lead to complications. You could even lose your tooth entirely.

A lot of people hesitate going to the dentist because it isn’t cheap. Luckily, Carefree Dental can get you huge discounts on dental procedures at participating dentists.

Simply show your discount card to a participating dentist and you could potentially save 15% - 50%* per visit on dental procedures in most instances. Ready to keep more money in your wallet after the dentist? Sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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How to Tell If You Have a Cavity


You’ve heard about cavities. You know how dangerous they are. But still, you’re not quite sure how to recognize a cavity. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This guide will show you how to tell if you have a cavity, and what you can do about it.

What Is a Cavity?

A cavity is permanent damage to your tooth in the form of a hole. It’s also called tooth decay or caries. Cavities happen when the bacteria in your mouth eat away at your enamel. While cavities are irreversible,they’re easily treatable if you catch them in time.

What Types of Cavities Are There?

There are three main types of cavities: pit and fissure, smooth surface, and root cavities. They differ based on where your cavity is on the tooth. Knowing where cavities form can help make it easy for you to find them. Plus, you’ll know which areas of your teeth to give extra attention when cleaning.

Pit and Fissure Cavities 

These are the most common. This is when the cavity sits on the top of your tooth. Bacteria easily stick to the grooves and crevices of your back teeth. Luckily, these types of cavities are as easy to treat as it is to find them.

Smooth Surface Cavities

You can find smooth surface cavities on the side of your teeth. They’re less common because the bacteria can’t get a good hold there usually. Still, they do happen. 

Root cavities 

These Cavities are close to the root of your tooth. They mostly happen when gum disease eats away your gums, and your roots become exposed. Unfortunately, due to the lack of enamel, root cavities can quickly become severe. They’re painful and harder to treat.

How to Tell If You Have a Cavity

It’s not easy to tell if you have a cavity. You can’t really see the back of your teeth. Even with a mirror. But, you can always pay attention to how you feel. Your body will alarm you if there’s something wrong in your mouth.

The Symptoms of Cavities

These are the most common symptoms of cavities. If you notice any of these, it’s fair to assume that you have cavities.

  • Toothache, spontaneous pain or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
  • Pain when you bite down

If you sense any of these symptoms, you should see a dentist as soon as you can. They’ll be able to quickly identify the issue and see if you’ll need treatment.

What Causes Cavities?

The main cause of cavities is a buildup of bacteria. This often forms into plaque and tartar. But, ultimately, the cause of cavities is poor dental hygiene.

If you don’t brush your teeth and floss properly and regularly, the bacteria in your mouth flourishes. You need to take care of your dental hygiene to prevent cavities. 

Risk Factors of Cavities

You’re always at a risk of developing cavities. Especially if you don’t brush your teeth regularly. But, these risk factors give you a higher chance of cavities if you don’t pay attention.

  • Tooth location: You’re more likely to develop cavities in your back teeth. So, make sure to use extra care when you brush your molars and premolars.
  • Sugar: The bacteria that causes cavities loves sugar. Be careful how much sugar you eat, as it can easily lead to cavities. 
  • Food that sticks to your teeth: Apart from sugar, food that sticks in the crooks and crevices of your teeth brings the danger of cavities. Caramel, honey, chips. They’re delicious, but bad for your teeth.
  • Bedtime infant feeding: If you give your baby a bottle to fall asleep, you’re putting them at risk of developing cavities. The food gets stuck in their teeth overnight, and eats away at their teeth.
  • Lack of fluoride: There’s a reason most toothpaste contains fluoride. This chemical strengthens your enamel, and helps you fight against cavities naturally.
  • Dry mouth: After brushing, the best way to get rid of harmful bacteria is with your saliva. It naturally washes them away. But if you have a dry mouth, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva to help wash your teeth.
  • Heartburn: Acid reflux and heartburn make your stomach acid come to your mouth. This acid is very harmful to your enamel. Weaker enamel puts your cavities at greater risk.

The Dangers of Untreated Cavities

When you find a cavity, don’t ignore it. Untreated cavities can lead to far worse complications. When the cavity reaches nerve endings, it will be very painful. You won’t be able to eat. To make matters worse, you’ll feel the pain from the cavity constantly.

Cavities can also get infected. The infection can go beyond the tooth. It spread to the jaw and even up to your eye. If you leave your cavity untreated, you can lose a tooth. But, you can also develop potentially life-threatening conditions.

Save Money With Your Trip to the Dentist

Cavities can be a serious problem. Still, a lot of people hesitate to go to the dentist. That’s because dental procedures to fix cavities can be quite expensive. As a result, a lot of people risk their health to save their wallets.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose between money and your well-being. With Carefree Dental you can unlock big savings on most dental procedures at participating dentists.

It’s simple. Just sign up and get your Carefree Dental Card. Book an appointment with a participating provider. And when you show up for your appointment, show your card. You can save between 15%-50% off your bill per visit, in most instances. 

Ready to save BIG on your dental bills? Sign up to Carefree Dental today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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19 Amazing Home Remedies to Remove Plaque Naturally


Use these amazing home remedies to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Keep your teeth and mouth healthy with all-natural scrubs and cleansing solutions.

What Are Plaque and Tartar?

People often use the terms ‘plaque’ and ‘tartar’ interchangeably. Although they’re very similar, they’re not the same thing. Plaque is the bacteria that causes decay and cavities. And tartar on your teeth is an accumulation of stains, saliva, food, dirt, and grime. Tartar makes it easier for the plaque to take a hold of teeth.

When you see yellow or white patches on your teeth, it’s tartar. It’s quite tough and sticks fast to your enamel. That’s why a dentist should remove it. If left untreated, tartar build-ups can lead to bad breath and a general staining of the teeth. 

Luckily, you can prevent this tartar buildup by removing the plaque from your teeth regularly. Even better, you don’t need a dentist for that. You can easily remove the plaque from your teeth at home. Check out these awesome home remedies to remove plaque effectively.

Getting Rid of Plaque and Tartar at Home

Home remedies should never be a substitute for proper dental treatment. But, there are some methods that can effectively remove plaque.

1. Brush Carefully and Regularly

You need to brush your teeth properly and regularly to remove plaque. It’s a great way to take care of your oral hygiene and prevent tartar buildup.

You should brush your teeth after every meal. It’s best to wait half an hour after eating first. You need to brush for three minutes. While you brush, be sure to use an even amount of pressure on the toothbrush as you brush each tooth.

2. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

There’s a good reason why commercial toothpaste recipes almost always contain fluoride. This substance strengthens the tooth enamel and lessens the risk of decay from acidic foods and drinks. 

In fact, it actually helps decayed teeth to heal and regenerate. The only problem is that this process occurs too slowly for brushing alone to prevent cavities. You also need to eat a healthy diet and steer clear of sugary snacks.

3. Buy Tartar Control Toothpaste

If you’re prone to developing tartar patches, there’s a variety of tartar control toothpaste out there. You can even use this if you’re worried about plaque. 

Tartar control toothpaste contains ingredients that battle against crusty build-ups in the mouth. In some cases, they also contain triclosan. This is an antibiotic substance that can kill off a number of bacteria strains.

4. Clean with Baking Soda

Using baking soda occasionally is a great way to remove plaque at home. It’s slightly abrasive. As a result, it pries and files nasty stuff from the surface of the enamel. 

All you need to do is take one tablespoon of baking soda and add a pinch of salt. Then, dampen a toothbrush and dip it into the mixture. Afterward, clean your teeth as you usually would and rinse thoroughly.

5. Mix Aloe Vera and Glycerine

Aloe vera has a lot of benefits. But did you know that it can also keep your teeth free from plaque?

Take a cup of water, combine it with half a cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Then, add a healthy dose of lemon essential oil and four teaspoons of vegetable glycerine. Now, scrub your teeth with the formula and wake up to a shiny set of gnashers in the morning.

6. Rub Your Teeth with an Orange Peel

If you don’t fancy rubbing vegetable glycerine on your teeth, you might prefer something a little simpler. You can rub orange peel directly onto your teeth. This will help to fight tartar-building microorganisms on the enamel. 

You can also mash up the peel and apply it to the stained areas. Leave to rest and then rinse. This can noticeably whiten the teeth.

7. Eat Lots of Fruit and Vegetables

Eating fruit and vegetables isn’t just great for your teeth. It’s also essential for your whole body. Plus, eating fruits and vegetables can also remove plaque naturally. 

Munch on some apples, celery sticks, carrots, and peppers to get your teeth looking strong and healthy in no time.  

8. Munch on Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds can be an active dental scrub. It gently removes plaque and tartar without damaging teeth. 

Just pop a handful of sesame seeds into your mouth. Chew them up, but do not swallow them. Take a dry toothbrush and brush your teeth while the seeds are still in your mouth. They will act as a scrub and delicately scour the surface of stained teeth.

9. Enjoy Plenty of Figs

There are surprisingly many home remedies to remove plaque that involve fruit. Did you know figs are great at fighting bacteria and other nasties on teeth? 

You just have to eat three or four figs all at the same time. Chew them up slowly and deliberately. Give them as much exposure to the gums and teeth as possible. 

The chewing will kickstart the salivary glands. This is great to remove plaque because saliva contains natural antibacterial properties.

10. Switch to an Electric Brush

Manual vs. electric toothbrush? The dental debate of the century. Ultimately, neither is better or worse, it’s a personal choice you have to make.

However, if you’re prone to plaque and tartar buildup while using manual toothbrushes, try switching to an electric brush. You may be surprised how well it removes plaque and tartar.

11. Always Remember to Floss

No matter how well you brush your teeth, you still need to floss. As dental industry guidelines state, both are required for a high-quality dental care routine. While brushing is great for getting at the surface of tooth enamel, a lot of debris and dirt accumulate in the corners. You simply cannot reach this with a regular brush.

12. Rinse with an Antiseptic Cleanser

You can also control tartar and plaque build-up with a hydrogen peroxide-based mouthwash or cleanser. If you can’t find this type of product in your local pharmacy, it is pretty easy to knock a batch together yourself. 

Take one tablespoon of antiseptic mouthwash and add three tablespoons of (3% only) hydrogen peroxide solution. You must make sure that the substance you use is of a suitable concentration or you could damage your teeth.

13. Invest in a Dental Scraping Device

A dental scraper (or pick) is essentially the same kind of device that your dentist uses to coax the tartar from your teeth during intensive cleaning. You can buy these in pharmacies and drugstores. 

They are long and thin, with a hooked metal end. A dental scraper can look a little daunting, but scraping should never be painful. Take your pick, stand in a well-lit room with a mirror, and gently scrape at the white patches of tartar. 

But, be very careful! You’re scraping inside your mouth with a sharp object. Try to avoid any injuries, and don’t scrape the enamel off your teeth. You may end up causing more harm than good.

14. Make a Super Vitamin Paste

Vitamin C heavy fruits are great for removing plaque at home. Mash together oranges, tomatoes, and strawberries into a thick paste. Apply it to tartar and plaque build-ups. Leave to rest for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Vitamin C will help to remove bacteria and keep your mouth healthy.

15. Feast on Spicy Cuisines

If you’re a fan of Indian or Mexican food, you’re in luck. According to dental scientists, spicy cuisines are great for reducing plaque and tartar levels in the mouth. They do this by increasing your production of saliva (which is great against plaque). Saliva washes over teeth and cleanses them of nasty stuff.

16. Gargle with a Vinegar Solution

This isn’t the most pleasant method to remove plaque at home, but it’s very effective. It’s also natural and guaranteed not to harm teeth.

Take a solution of two tablespoons of vinegar, one tablespoon of salt, and four ounces of water. Now, gargle with this vinegar solution. Rinse and repeat every 2-3 days for maximum efficiency.

17. Grind Up Clove Spice

Clove is actually a historic remedy for toothaches. People have been using it to relieve dental pain for centuries. Today, you can find it in every supermarket. It’s a very common ingredient in Indian cuisine, so you should have no trouble finding ground cloves at the store.

Mix the ground spice with a little water, until it forms a paste. Apply this paste directly to the stained areas and leave it to rest. Rinse thoroughly.

18. Identify the Biggest Stains

There is a really easy and clever way to check if you have a plaque buildup on your teeth. Take some food coloring – just the regular stuff found in supermarkets – and add it to a teaspoon of water.

You can use this mini mixture as a plaque highlighting solution. However, you should first rub a little petroleum jelly on your lips first to avoid stains. Swish the food coloring in your mouth for a bit and then spit it out. You should see light patches of color on your teeth. That’s where the most stubborn plaque accumulations are. Concentrate brushing here to remove it.

19. Indulge in Cheesy Snacks

Snacking on aged cheeses, such as Swiss or cheddar, is a great way to clean your teeth naturally. They neutralize the acids that accumulate right after meals. These acids contribute to plaque build-ups the most. 

According to scientists, there is an element in aged cheese that acts as a buffering agent and a barrier for plaque. You can also find the same element in peanuts and sesame seeds.  

5 Tips to Prevent Plaque

While plaque is relatively easy to get rid of with these home remedies, it can get out of hand fast. And if you leave plaque on your teeth, it’ll turn into hard tartar. An alternative is to prevent plaque buildup in the first place. 

Do these five things to avoid plaque build-ups altogether. Prevention is always cheaper than the cure when it comes to dental health. If you can stop plaque and tartar from building up in the first place, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping all of your teeth healthy.

1. Keep Up with Dental Appointments

It’s your job to keep up with check-ups and appointments. Your dentist can’t make you attend. But you need to go regularly. Once you miss several consecutive dates, you risk being taken off the list at your practice.

2. Always Use a Soft Bristled Brush

Keep an eye on how hard you’re brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth with a lot of pressure won’t clean them faster or better. On the contrary. Tough brushing damages enamel, which results in a host of other problems. Be reasonably gentle and use a soft-bristled brush for comfort.

3. Cut Back On Your Smoking Habit

Unfortunately, there is no cheat or secret way around this one. The reality is that smoking is really bad for your oral health. You will always be at a much higher risk of gum disease and tooth infection while you smoke. It will also lead to accelerated tartar build-up in and around the gum line.

4. Drink Plenty of Fresh Water

There are few things as natural and as healthy as water. You should drink around eight glasses of it every day anyway. (So, this tip should really only be a reminder.) If you drink plenty of water, it will wash away plaque, dirt, and debris before it gets a chance to take a hold on the surface of tooth enamel.

5. Consult with Your Dental Specialist

If you have any questions or concerns about the health of your teeth, you need to ask your dentist. They’re the most qualified person to provide an answer or a solution. 

Turn to your dentist with any problem you have with confidence. They’re not there to give you a lecture or yell at you. They only want to offer you the finest in dental care and treatment available.

If Plaque Builds Up, Tartar Hurts Your Teeth

Plaque and tartar both contribute to the development of decay and cavities. Tartar is porous. As a result, plaque can build up inside and around it. It then calcifies around the plaque and bacteria. This traps all of the nasty stuff close to tooth enamel. Once there, it can feast on and wear away teeth with harmful acids.

It’s crucial to have tartar removed because it greatly increases the risk of decay and gum disease. If left untreated, chronic gingivitis and degenerative tooth loss may be the outcome. 

For patients with underlying health conditions, the consequences can be extremely serious. Dental scientists now know that poor oral health can contribute to the development of diabetes and heart disease. These are potentially life-threatening conditions.

Dental Cleaning Is the Most Effective Way to Remove Plaque

If plaque or tartar builds up on your teeth, the most effective way to remove it is a dental cleaning. While home remedies can do wonders for your oral health, the most reliable method is still your dentist.

A lot of people turn to home remedies because a trip to the dentist is too expensive. But with such potential dangers, you really can’t risk plaque and tartar buildup happening. 

Luckily, there’s a way to get the dental cleaning you need at a fraction of the cost. All you need to do is sign up for a Carefree Dental Card

The Carefree Dental Card is a dental discount card that can help you save 15-50%, per visit, in most instances. Simply sign up for the card, show it to a participating dentist, and save your money!

Don’t let plaque and tartar ruin your smile and your health. Start your dental health off with a discount using the Carefree Dental Card.


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed doctor or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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10 Quick Ways Get Rid of Onion Breath

As healthy and as yummy as onions are, they certainly don’t smell good. And once you eat some onions, getting rid of the smell can be pretty difficult. Luckily, there are a couple of ways you can eat onions and still have a fresh breath. Here are 10 quick, natural, and effective ways to get rid of onion breath.

What Causes Onion Breath?

Onions contain sulfur compounds. These chemicals are responsible for the distinctive taste and smell of onions. However, there are two ways onions can give you onion breath. 

Onion breath in your mouth happens when you chew the onion. The sulphuric compounds mix with the bacteria in your mouth. That’s why you can smell the onion in your breath after eating. 

But why is onion breath still an issue even after you’ve already eaten? When you’re digesting onions, the sulphuric compounds also get absorbed into your bloodstream. They find their way to the lungs which then releases a foul odor every time you exhale.

10 Tips to Get Rid of Onion Breath

Whether you have a date or a business meeting coming up, you’ll want to get rid of onion breath. A fresh breath can give you a good impression and boost your confidence. These 10 tips can get you smelling like a million bucks after you’ve eaten onions.

1. Drink Green Tea

Drink green tea with honey several times a day. Green tea is rich in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that can kill the sulfurous compounds present in raw onions.

2. Lemons Work Against Onion Breath

Rinse your mouth with lemon water two to three times a day. A tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of water can help neutralize onion breath. The citric acid in the lemon contains antibacterial properties that can kill bacteria that cause bad breath. 

Just be careful not to let the citric acid sit on the teeth. Its high acidity can contribute to enamel erosion and tooth decay.

3. Mustard Sauce is Surprisingly Effective Against Onion Breath

Swish around mustard sauce in the mouth for a minute. This method won't kill the odorous molecules of the onion. However, the mustard sauce has a strong aroma that can help mask the onion smell. 

4. Chew on Some Cardamom

Cardamom is a delicious Indian spice with a lot of health benefits. But a surprising quality of cardamom is its ability to get rid of onion breath. If you like the taste of the spice but not the smell of onions, it’s worth a try.

Chew cardamom after eating onions. Its strong aroma will help mask the onion odor and freshen your breath.

5. An Apple a Day Keeps the Onion Breath Away

Apples are one of the most versatile fruits on the planet. They’re just delicious. Plus, they have countless uses and benefits. One of these uses is to get rid of onion breath quickly. 

Eating an apple is one of the most effective methods to get rid of onion breath. That’s because the natural enzymes in the apple break down the onion's sulfur compounds.

6. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Rinse your mouth with apple cider vinegar and water. This helps to neutralize onion breath. And it destroys bad-breath-causing bacteria in the mouth.

7. Rinse Your Mouth with Baking Soda

Rinse your mouth with baking soda in water. This method neutralizes the onion smell, maintains the pH of your saliva, and controls the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

8. Drink Some Milk

Drink milk. When you drink milk, the sulfur in the onion is neutralized by the milk's fat content. Milk also acts as a natural mouth rinse.

9. Mints, Peppermints, and Breath Mints

If you’re looking for a minty fresh breath, you need mint. The mint contains chlorophyll which helps to freshen your breath while masking the onion odor. It also has mild antiseptic properties that fight against bad breath caused by bacteria.

You can find peppermint flavored chewing gum and spearmint flavored breath mints everywhere you go. Just make sure you get the sugar-free kind because the sugar in chewing gum damages your teeth.

You can also get your hands on some natural mint. Drink mint with water or chew on mint leaves to get rid of onion breath.

10. Brush Your Teeth

If all else fails, brush your teeth with plenty of toothpaste. Regularly cleaning your teeth is crucial for proper dental health. But. it’s also a great way to freshen up your breath.

Other Foods That Cause Bad Breath

While onion breath is certainly not pleasant, there are a couple of other healthy foods that cause bad breath too. Watch out for these in your diet before an important event:

  • Garlic: The garlic odor can be very strong. The best way to get rid of it is by utilizing plant chemicals like chlorophyll and polyphenols to bind to sulfur compounds in garlic. Eat herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, cilantro, mint, or dill to get rid of garlic breath.
  • Strong cheeses: There’s nothing classier than a nicely arranged cheese board. But, the smell of cheeses like Stilton, Roquefort, or Camembert can linger in your breath. Eating vegetables, using mouthwash, or gargling with saltwater are the best ways to get rid of cheese breath.
  • Horseradish: This member of the mustard family is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. Despite its benefits, cut or chewed horseradish releases mustard oil, which comes with a really bad smell. Gargle with saltwater or use mouthwash to get rid of it quickly.
  • Kombucha: This fermented drink is a popular superfood with a lot of amazing benefits. But, this vinegary drink doesn’t smell good at all. Drinking some green tea or chewing herbs will eliminate the bad breath caused by kombucha.

Could Your Bad Breath Be a Dental Issue?

Eating onions isn’t the only reason you may have bad breath. It can be a sign of a serious dental problem. Bad breath can be a symptom of gum disease, tooth decay, or an infection. If the smell of your breath doesn’t go away with these tricks, you need a dentist to examine you.

A trip to the dentist can cost a lot of money. Even a simple checkup can cost you more than you expect. But, if your bad breath could be a life-threatening condition, there’s no time to waste.

To save your teeth and your wallet from worries, sign up for a Carefree Dental Card.

Carefree Dental offers an instant discount at participating dental practices. All you have to do is sign up for a Carefree Dental Card, show it to the participating dentist, and save your money! 


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed doctor or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

Read More »