The white teeth is a universal sign of beauty and health. It is not surprising that more than $11 billion was spent on teeth whitening products in the US alone. Another interesting fact is that over $1.4 billion of that revenue was spent on the homemade alternatives.
The white teeth sure look healthy, however, if you use various chemicals to achieve that look, you are still damaging your well-being. As we want you to be healthy and stay away from those toxic chemicals we will present you with the natural and safe alternatives for teeth whitening.
What makes the teeth look yellow?
There are many factors at work for the teeth to become yellowish and lose their white shine. There are some foods that can dye your enamel (the outer layer of your teeth). Furthermore, the plaque made from the bacteria is another reason for your teeth to look that way. Sometimes the yellow teeth color is also due to the enamel-eroding away and exposing the underlying dentin. Dentin is a yellow bony tissue, lying underneath the enamel.
The 7 ways of naturally whitening your teeth
- Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a natural Indian method, used to improve oral hygiene while removing the toxins from your body. It includes moving oil around in your mouth to eliminate the bacteria causing the plaque, causing your teeth to look yellow.
Generally, Indians used sesame or sunflower oil, yet any type of oil will do the trick. Coconut is a popular choice as it has good taste and includes many other health benefits. It is also full of lauric acid, known for its effects of reducing inflammation and killing bacteria.
Some studies have concluded, that daily oil pulling effectively decreases the number of bacteria in the mouth, all while reducing plaque and gum disease.
While there is no official proof that oil pulling whitens your teeth, it does help reduce the reasons that make the teeth yellow. Despite that, there are many people who claim oil pulling has made their teeth whiter and brighter. All in all, it is a safe practice, definitely worth a try.
To oil pull, take one spoon of coconut oil and push and pull the oil around your mouth. As coconut oil is solid at room temperature, you may need to sit tight for a couple of moments, for it to soften. Exercise the oil pulling for 15-20 minutes.
After you are done, make sure you spit the oil into a toilet or a garbage can, as it can become solid again, causing a blockage in your drain pipes.
Unlike most of the teeth whitening techniques, oil pulling doesn’t involve acid or any other substance that erode the enamel. Therefore it is safe to do daily.
- Brushing With Baking Soda
Baking soda has natural whitening effects, making it a popular component of commercial toothpaste. It is an abrasive that can help remove surface stains or teeth, making them look whiter. Furthermore, it creates an alkaline environment, preventing the growth of bacteria in your mouth. It is not a substance that will whiten your teeth overnight, however, you should see the difference in the look of your teeth over time.
Again, there is no scientific proof that baking soda whitens your teeth, but several studies concluded that toothpaste with baking soda has a notable whitening outcome. Furthermore, the effect only gets stronger with larger concentrations of baking soda in the toothpaste.
There were also studies that showed that toothpaste containing baking soda lessened the teeth plaque more efficiently than toothpaste without it.
To use baking soda, stir 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water, and brush your teeth with the mixture. You can repeat this a few times per week.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
This chemical is a natural bleaching ingredient that also reduces the bacteria in your mouth.
Actually, people have been using it throughout time to disinfect various wounds, due to its anti-bacterial features.
There are many commercial whitening solutions that contain high amounts of hydrogen peroxide, however, you will apply a much smaller amount of it at home.
Sadly, there are no studies to prove the results of brushing your teeth with hydrogen peroxide by itself. However, several studies were done on toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. One study showed that toothpaste with baking soda and 1% hydrogen peroxide resulted in much whiter teeth on average.
There is a concern though in regards to the safety of hydrogen peroxide. The heavily diluted concentration appear safe, however, stronger concentrations can lead to irritated gums and sensitive teeth. There are some concerns that high amounts of it could lead to cancer, but this was never proven.
You can use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash before you start brushing your teeth. Check your concentrate to be a 1.5% or 3% solution, so you avoid any side effects.
The most common concentration available stands at 3%. The substance can easily be diluted to 1,5%, by combining equal amounts of water and hydrogen peroxide.
Another way of using hydrogen peroxide is to mix it with baking soda, creating a toothpaste.
Use 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and combine it with 1 spoon of baking soda, making your own toothpaste. Limit its use to a few times per week as it can otherwise erode your tooth enamel.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an organic remedy used for centuries to disinfect and clean different materials in a natural way. Its main ingredient, the acetic acid, is a natural enemy to bacteria. The antibacterial property of apple cider vinegar makes it extremely useful for mouth cleaning and teeth whitening.
There was a study that showed apple cider vinegar does have a whitening effect on teeth. But it was also concluded that it may also soften the teeth.
To use apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash, dilute it with water and push and pull it around your mouth for a couple of minutes. After you are done, make sure to rinse your mouth with water.
You should not use that method every day as it can erode your teeth enamel. Also limit the amount of time you treat your teeth with it, as it is quite powerful.
- Fruits and Vegetables
A diet, high in fruits and vegetables has great benefits for your teeth and overall health. Fruits and vegetables are not a substitute for brushing your teeth, but they can help with reducing the plaque, especially if they are raw and crunchy.
Among them, strawberry and pineapple are most commonly claimed to have whitening effects on the teeth.
Using a combination of strawberries and baking soda you can whiten your teeth in a natural way. The method was even endorsed by many celebrities.
The malic acid in strawberries will take care of the discoloration on your teeth and the baking soda will deal with the stains.
While the method still isn’t completely backed up by science, there is a study that showed the mix of strawberry and baking soda can produce some change in the teeth color. However, it is greatly inferior to other commercial methods.
To use this natural mixture, just crush some strawberries and mix them with baking soda.
If you decide to try this method, limit it to a few times per week, as the combination of strawberry and baking soda could damage your tooth enamel.
A recent study showed that a toothpaste that contains bromelain, a substance also found in pineapple, removes tooth stains a lot more efficiently than regular toothpaste.
However, there is no scientific proof that eating pineapple can have the same effect.
Even though your teeth will become more yellow as you age, you can still do a lot to slow down that process and have your teeth stain-free.
Avoid Staining Food and Drinks
Limit your input of coffee, red wine and soda as they are all well-known to cause tooth stains. It still doesn’t mean you have to completely exclude them from your diet. You should just be mindful of your daily consumption of those beverages. You should also consume them using a straw so you can prevent the direct contact with your teeth.
Furthermore, brushing your teeth after consuming those beverages will limit their effects on your teeth. Also, avoid smoking or chewing tobacco as both can cause your teeth to become yellow.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
If you want your teeth to be white, limit the amount of sugar in your diet. If you consume y lot of sugar you are also feeding the bacteria responsible for plaque and gingivitis.
After you consume a sugary treat, always brush your teeth to negate the negative effects of sugar.
Eat plenty of calcium
If you consume enough calcium you can protect your enamel, so it doesn’t erode and expose the underlying dentin which is yellow. You can do that by enjoying calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, and broccoli.
- Brush and floss regularly
You shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of regular brushing and flossing. Even though tooth discoloration sometimes comes with age, it is mostly a consequence of plaque build-up.
If you brush and floss on a daily basis you can prevent that from happening. Toothpaste removes your tooth stains and flossing deals with bacteria, responsible for the plaque.
Another thing to remember is to regularly visit your dentist to keep your health in check.
Unproven Whitening Methods
There are some other natural teeth whitening techniques that have been scientifically backed to determine their effects and safety.
Some of them include:
Activated charcoal – Brushing your teeth with charcoal is claimed to pull toxins out of the mouth and removes the tooth stains.
Kaolin clay – Using this method supposedly removes the tooth stains.
Fruit peels – Some claim, that rubbing orange, banana or lemon peels on your teeth makes them whiter.
There are some people who support those methods, however, they were not studied enough to evaluate their effectiveness and side effects when it comes to teeth whitening.
There are many natural methods to whiten your teeth. Most of them gently remove the surface stains on the teeth. But keep in mind, that doctors often offer treatments that are much more effective and are appropriate for severe tooth discoloration. If you don’t have the proper budget to whiten your teeth you can always choose a cheaper option like smile veneers or other similar products.