What makes a good impression? The Academy of General Dentistry reports that 40% of people notice your teeth first. So to help you put your best foot and smile forward, here are ten natural teeth whitening tips to try now.
While new technology has led us to discover how to safely bleach teeth, many people over-bleach their teeth which can lead to things like gum irritation, receding gum lines, bluish enamel, and tooth sensitivity.
Your teeth are made up of layers, with the outermost layer being your enamel. Even though your enamel is the hardest and most mineralized tissue in your body, it is still prone to decay.
Besides the obvious, like cutting back on things like smoking, drinking coffee and other things that tend to stain your teeth, you can use one of the natural teeth whiteners below:
Tip 1 – Activated charcoal
This one might sound like some crazy black magic and it may look a little terrifying, but give it a try and see for yourself. Now we’re not talking about using the charcoal that brings us delicious smoky Paleo grilled eats, we’re talking about activated charcoal.
You can find it in stores next to your other vitamins and supplements. It comes in capsule form and is usually taken for stomach pains (like diarrhea and stomach ulcers), food poisoning, and to help your body cleanse out toxins via your bowel movements (this includes deodorizing smells!). Another purpose for this miracle black pill is teeth whitening. You have a few options when it comes to using this dark powder on your teeth:
1. Charcoal Powder
Open a capsule into some kind of container, like a cup. Take a toothbrush (definitely get a separate toothbrush for this kind of brushing), apply toothpaste to the head of the brush, and then dip the head of the brush into the pile of the activated charcoal powder so the toothpaste is completely covered. Gently brush your teeth to avoid any potential damage to your enamel. Then rinse with just water.
2. Charcoal Powder + Water
Open 1-2 capsules into a cup and add enough water to the cup to make a paste out of the activated charcoal powder. Use a toothbrush to apply the paste onto your teeth and wait 3 minutes. Rinse with water.
Tip 2 – Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide Paste
Take 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and mix enough hydrogen peroxide with the powder to create a paste. A runnier paste is better than a chalkier paste, try slowly adding in more liquid if you are unsure what a good ratio is.
Baking soda is a bit gritty so be careful not to scrub your teeth too hard with this paste so that you don’t wear down your enamel.
Apply this to your teeth the in the same way that we described with the previous tip. Hydrogen peroxide has great antibacterial properties so it is a great agent for keeping your mouth and gums clean.
Tip 3 – Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut oil is basically the hottest go-to multipurpose food item on the market. There are even memes about how ridiculously awesome coconut oil is for your health. Coconut oil benefits your skin, your hair, and even cold sores — and it can also benefit your dental health.
Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. This is long enough for the oil to pick up toxins and prevent tooth decay, reduce gum inflammation, and to whiten your teeth.
Believe it or not, electric toothbrushes and floss were non-existent at one point, while oil pulling for dental health has been around for at least 10,000 years!
You’ll want to avoid swallowing the coconut oil at this point because it not contains all the bad stuff you want to remove from your body. Make sure to spit out the coconut oil in the trash and not in the sink. This is because coconut oil has such a high melting point that you run the risk of clogging up your pipes if it gets trapped and turns solid before it can drain.
Tip 4 – Turmeric
Turmeric is usually a cooking spice, so using it as a paste may not be the best-tasting home remedy for teeth whitening, but it does work nonetheless. Just like with the other powders on this list, you want to make a paste with turmeric.
This is yellow magic that will wash away and leave your teeth looking brighter, but be careful not to get any on your clothes or skin (or even surfaces like a light-colored countertop) because turmeric can stain.
You can use either water or melted coconut oil to make your turmeric paste. Apply it to your teeth and let it sit for 3 minutes. Rinse your mouth with water and follow up with a brush using your normal toothpaste.
Tip 5 – Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar is highly acidic and will hurt your tooth enamel, so be sure to dilute apple cider vinegar before using it for teeth whitening. Also avoid using this method more than once a day for the same reason.
Add half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water. Gargle the solution in your mouth for a few seconds like you would with mouthwash and then dispose of the waste in the sink.
Tip 6 – Strawberry Salt and Baking Soda
For a more pleasant taste, try making a strawberry paste. Take 1-3 strawberries and ½ teaspoon of baking soda and muddle together in a cup. Use a designated toothbrush to apply the mixture to your teeth and let it sit for 5 minutes.
This method needs special care afterwards, so be sure to brush and floss like you normally would after using strawberry paste. This is because strawberries have tiny seeds that can get stuck between your teeth, which is not good for your dental health. Abstain from using this method more than once a week.
Tip 7 – Avoid Dark Pigmented Foods
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Try focusing on your daily habits and see what you are consuming that has the most color. While it may not be bad to consume these things on a moderate basis, chronic consumption might be what is causing your teeth to stain. These foods may include things like coffee, marinara sauce, soy sauce, or anything with artificial coloring.
Tip 8 – Eat Raw, Crunchy Fruits and Veggies
Getting foods that are crunchy and raw into your diet is great for teeth whitening, because they help scrub your teeth while you chew. They also typically have higher water content than other fruits and veggies, which can help to eliminate sugars and stimulate your saliva flow to further wash away food particles to protect against damage. Crunchy fruits and vegetables include things like apples, celery, and carrots.
Tip 9 – Limit Your Acidic Food/Drink Intake
In much the same way that you will want to avoid overeating dark-colored foods, you’ll want to steer clear of getting hooked on consuming things that are acidic, because they have the power to break down your enamel. This includes things like soda, energy drinks, and wine (both white and red can lead to staining).
Rinse your mouth with a swig of water after drinking or eating something acidic to help prevent the acids from wearing your teeth out. Using a straw to drink acidic beverages is also a good option to avoid as much tooth-to-acid contact as possible.
Tip 10 – Fruit Rinds
Believe it or not, these are not useless. Specifically, banana peels can be used to help whiten teeth. Just rub a banana peel on your teeth for about 2 minutes.
Active ingredients in banana peels include manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Rinse with water and brush with toothpaste afterward. Orange peels work too, their active ingredient is limonene.
Watch this video – 10 Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth at Home
Written by Liz Lang
Liz Lang is a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Southern California Institute for Research and Education in the field of Gastroenterology. Liz graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Public Health Sciences.
Liz has an insatiable thirst to learn how the human body works in order to keep people healthy. When Liz isn’t in the clinic, she enjoys exploring nature, yoga, and trying new things (especially food!).
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