It’s the holiday season but your teeth are yellow, so you naturally shy away from taking pictures. Well, that’s not how you should be spending your vacations! If you are short on budget and can’t afford OTC whitening kits, there are always natural teeth whitening remedies to restore your bright smile.
Though the best option is always to go for professional whitening, we understand that sometimes that is not the most feasible option.
Therefore, we bring you a list of ways you can use to naturally whiten your teeth.
Some of these ingredients are present right in your kitchen.
So let’s find out below if you should be using these remedies to brighten up your teeth.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide
This is a bleaching agent that helps to whiten your enamel and even penetrate deeper to have an effect on your dentin.
You can use it in whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes.
Using toothpaste with 1 percent hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can significantly improve the color of your teeth.
While commercial toothpaste is cheap enough, you can also make your own using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide plus water.
Mix 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of baking soda and brush your teeth with the mixture.
You can also, add water to dilute it.
The same goes for hydrogen peroxide mouthwash.
Buy a commercial mouthwash with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.
However, you can dilute it up to 1.5 percent by using water.
Rinse your mouth with the mouthwash twice a day to see results in about 12 weeks’ time.
This is slower than other OTC products because your teeth are hardly in contact with the mouthwash for 2 minutes each day.
While hydrogen peroxide does work, it is more effective in the form of Zoom teeth whitening or OTC whitening gels.
Therefore, you can try it in the form of toothpaste or rinse, but look for other options as well.
This brings us to…
Natural Teeth Whitening with Baking Soda
Baking Soda is abrasive and has whitening properties.
Therefore, toothpaste with the ingredient help to whiten your teeth up to one shade.
However, baking soda actually removes surface stains from your teeth rather than changing the color.
It also helps to increase the pH in your mouth.
It is alkaline in nature so when the pH increases it does not provide an optimum environment for the bacteria to multiply.
Therefore, the bacteria does not stick to your teeth forming yellow plaque and tartar that discolor teeth.
You can find baking soda in toothpaste.
Since the toothpaste also contains fluoride it can provide cavity protection against bacteria.
However, you can also make your own toothpaste by mixing baking soda with water.
In that case, always rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash afterward.
Though, it si better to go for toothpaste because baking soda is abrasive.
Toothpaste containing abrasives can remove surface stains but there is a chance they may also erode the enamel slightly.
This reverses the effect of baking soda because enamel erosion exposes the yellow dentin.
Hence, do use baking soda but in a safer way.
Natural Teeth Whitening or Prevention?
One of the best methods to whiten your teeth is to actually prevent the stains from happening.
Some stains appear over time due to your eating, drinking and lifestyle habits.
Whereas others can be influenced by age, injury, diseases and medications.
You can treat and prevent extrinsic stains at home by monitoring what you eat and drink.
For instance, drinking coffee, tea and alcoholic drinks have darkened your teeth.
The tannins in coffee and tea stick to your teeth whereas the colors in alcoholic drinks leave a stain too.
So when you know this fact, one thing you can implement from today is to reduce their intake.
You do not have to completely forgo the beverages but at least you can reduce the number of cups you drink daily.
Or if you are drinking any cold drink then use a straw instead. Obviously, that’s hard to do with warm beverages.
When you are done drinking, wait for at least 30 minutes before you brush.
Otherwise, you will be rubbing the acids in the drinks and the abrasives in the toothpaste together to erode your enamel.
Other than that you also need to be careful regarding what you eat!
More on that below!
Eating Fewer Sugars and More Calcium
You may think that sugars do not turn your teeth yellow so why should you refrain from them?
Well, that is because if you eat more sugars, there are more Streptococcus mutans in your mouth.
This bacteria results in the growth of plaque and causes gingivitis.
When the plaque hardens to form tartar it can remain in place stubbornly.
Your teeth will have a visible yellow appearance.
Thus you need to cut down on the sugars you take and brush afterward if you do eat sugary food.
What you should do instead is to eat calcium-rich foods.
Your saliva contains calcium ions and it can also whiten your teeth by strengthening the enamel.
Foods rich in calcium such as milk, cheese and yogurt do not only strengthen your bones but also your enamel.
Hence, they save the enamel from wearing out.
As a result, the dentin does not show from underneath so your teeth do not appear yellow.
There’s one more thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy i.e. eat fruits and vegetables.
Eating Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can keep your teeth healthier naturally.
However, it is the enzyme papain and bromelain found in papaya and pineapple that show some teeth whitening effect.
Toothpaste containing bromelain found in pineapples significantly improves the shade of teeth.
Moreover, bromelain and papain in toothpaste help to loosen plaque.
Therefore, your teeth do not appear discolored.
In fact, all raw and crunchy fruits and vegetables help to loosen plaque by stimulating saliva.
The saliva washes away the stuck food particles that the bacteria can feed on and accumulate as plaque on teeth.
Whole fruits are good for your teeth but do not specifically affect whiteness.
Thus, you need to be careful of trends that are not scientifically backed.
Using strawberries and baking soda and other acidic fruits can have the opposite reaction on your teeth.
Acids erode the enamel and make your dentin more visible, hence you should not be using them directly.
This will further make your teeth appear yellower.
So keep eating fruits and vegetables as they are good for your oral health and teeth but do not blindly apply them directly to your teeth.
Natural Teeth Whitening By Oil Pulling, Brushing and Flossing
If you want to remove the plaque from your teeth then traditional oil pulling is one of the methods to look out for.
It removes bacteria from your teeth preventing them from turning into plaque.
As the plaque hardens it can cause your teeth to become yellow and the enamel to erode too showing the darker dentin.
Oil pulling involves the swishing around of coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth to remove plaque.
Remember to spit it out rather than ingest it as the oil will be full of bacteria.
It can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea if ingested.
Unlike a mouthwash, you will need to thoroughly swish it around for 15 to 20 minutes before spitting it out.
This allows the oil to trap bacteria from all of your mouth.
However, there are less evidence on it specifically whitening teeth.
Though, it can be effective in reducing plaque, (hence stains on teeth) and gingivitis.
Though, another way of reducing plaque is brushing and flossing.
Since toothpaste contains chemicals you may not consider it natural but it is a cheap way of maintaining your oral health.
If you brush and floss properly then can rub away the surface stains and prevent your teeth from staining again.
Brushing properly helps to keep remove surface stains whereas flossing gets rid of the plaque stuck between teeth.
Thus, doing so daily will not let plaque accumulate long enough on your teeth to discolor them.
Hence, you can prevent your teeth from staining beforehand.
Natural Teeth Whitening Methods to Avoid
Not all natural ways are safe.
Some can even have an adverse effect on your oral health and your teeth.
No matter what the trends say, some of these are not scientifically backed or there is not enough research proving that they have a whitening effect.
These are some of the methods and ingredients you need to be wary of:
- Apple cider vinegar: There is not enough evidence supporting that vinegar will whiten teeth. While one thing is for sure, it is acidic. As a result, it can weaken your enamel, making the dentin more visible and your teeth prone to decay.
- Activated Charcoal: Charcoal is a worldwide trend however, it is extremely abrasive. It will rather harm your enamel and weaken it. There isn’t enough evidence supporting the claim that it whitens teeth.
- Kaolin Clay: It is another natural material popular for whitening. However, just like charcoal, it is very abrasive. You know the drill. It will weaken your enamel and expose the darker dentin instead of whitening.
Therefore, whenever you want to try natural teeth whitening, do not forget that not all natural ingredients are harmless.
Natural products have their own properties and they can be acidic or alkaline, as well as abrasive.
So keep it in mind while experimenting on something as important as your teeth.