Naturally Whiten Your Teeth at Home
There are plenty of products to choose from when it comes to whitening your teeth. However, most whitening products use chemicals to bleach your teeth, which concerns many people. If you want whiter teeth, but also want to avoid the chemicals, then this article lists many options that are both natural and safe.
What Causes Teeth to Look Yellow?
There are multiple factors that cause teeth to become dull and lose their bright, white sparkle. Certain foods can stain your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth. Additionally, plaque build-up on your teeth can cause them to look yellow. This type of discoloration can usually be treated with regular cleaning and whitening remedies.
However, sometimes teeth look yellow because the hard enamel has eroded away, revealing the dentin underneath. Dentin is a naturally yellow, bony tissue that lies underneath the enamel.
Here are 7 simple ways you can naturally whiten your teeth.
Try Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy meant to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. The practice involves swishing oil around in your mouth to remove bacteria, which can turn into plaque and cause your teeth to look yellow. Traditionally, Indians used sunflower or sesame oil for oil pulling, but any oil will work. Coconut oil is a popular choice because it has a pleasant taste and offers many additional health benefits. Coconut oil is also high in lauric acid, which is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies to prove that oil pulling whitens your teeth. However, it’s a safe practice and definitely worth a try. Many people claim their teeth are whiter and brighter after regular oil pulling. To oil pull, put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and push and pull the oil through your teeth. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you may need to wait a few seconds for it to melt. Continue the oil pulling for a full 15–20 minutes. Be sure to spit the coconut oil into a toilet or trash can, as it could return to solid form once in your drain pipes and cause a clog.
Unlike many other tooth whitening methods, coconut oil pulling does not expose your teeth to acid or other ingredients that erode the enamel. This means it is safe to do daily.
BOTTOM LINE: Coconut oil pulling involves swishing oil in your mouth for 15–20 minutes to remove bacteria. Practicing this daily can reduce plaque and may brighten your teeth.
Brush with Baking Soda
Baking soda has natural whitening properties, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in commercial toothpaste. It’s a mild abrasive that can help scrub away surface stains on teeth. Additionally, baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth, which prevents bacteria from growing. This is not a remedy that will whiten your teeth overnight, but you should notice a difference in the appearance of your teeth over time.
To use this remedy, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with the paste. You can do this a few times per week.
BOTTOM LINE: Brushing with a paste made with baking soda and water can reduce bacteria in your mouth and buff away surface stains.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that also kills bacteria in your mouth. In fact, people have been using hydrogen peroxide for years to disinfect wounds because of its ability to kill bacteria. Many commercial whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, although at a much higher concentration than you will use.
The way to use hydrogen peroxide is by mixing it with baking soda to make a toothpaste. Combine 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and gently brush your teeth with the mixture.
Limit the use of this homemade paste to a few times per week, as overuse can erode your tooth enamel.
BOTTOM LINE: Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent and can kill bacteria in your mouth. You can use it as a mouthwash or mix it with baking soda to form a whitening toothpaste.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a disinfectant and natural cleaning product. Acetic acid, which is the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, effectively kills bacteria. The antibacterial property of vinegar is what makes it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth.
To use it as a mouthwash, dilute it with water and swish it around in your mouth for several minutes. Make sure to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards.
BOTTOM LINE: Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that may help whiten your teeth. However, overuse of vinegar can also erode the enamel on your teeth, so limit its use to a few times per week.
Use Fruits and Vegetables
A diet high in fruits and vegetables may be good for both your body and your teeth. While they’re no substitute for brushing your teeth, crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables can help rub plaque away as you chew. In particular, strawberries and pineapple are two fruits that have been claimed to help whiten your teeth.
Whitening your teeth with a strawberry and baking soda mixture is a natural remedy that has been made popular by celebrities.
To use this remedy, smash up a fresh strawberry, combine it with baking soda and brush the mixture on your teeth.
Some claim that pineapple can whiten teeth. A study found that a toothpaste containing bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, was significantly more effective at removing tooth stains than a standard toothpaste.
However, there is no evidence that eating pineapples produces the same effect.
BOTTOM LINE: Certain fruits may have properties that help whiten teeth. Regularly consume raw fruits and vegetables to help rub off plaque and keep your teeth looking bright.
Prevent Tooth Stains Before They Happen
Your teeth naturally yellow as you age, but there are some things you can do to prevent stains on your teeth.
Limit Staining Foods and Beverages
Coffee, red wine, soda and dark berries are infamous for staining teeth. That doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid them, but you should limit the amount of time these substances are in contact with your teeth.
If possible, drink beverages known to stain teeth out of a straw to prevent direct contact with your teeth. Moreover, brush your teeth soon after consuming one of these foods or beverages to limit their effects on the color of your teeth.
Additionally, avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, both of which can cause tooth discoloration.
Limit Sugar in Your Diet
If you want whiter teeth, cut back on your sugar intake. A diet high in sugar supports the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the primary type of bacteria that causes plaque and gingivitis. When you do consume a sugary food, brush your teeth soon after you eat.
Get Plenty of Calcium in Your Diet
Some tooth discoloration is caused by enamel eroding away and exposing the dentin underneath, which is yellow in color. Therefore, anything you do to strengthen the enamel of your teeth will help keep your teeth pearly white.
Calcium-rich foods, such as milk, cheese and broccoli, may help protect your teeth from enamel erosion.
BOTTOM LINE: A healthy diet with enough calcium can help prevent your teeth from becoming yellow. Brushing your teeth soon after you eat can also help prevent stains.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Brushing and Flossing