It seems like every time you watch television or read a magazine, there's an ad for a new teeth-whitening product or procedure. Some methods cause sensitivity or pain -- normally those with bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide -- and others are expensive. Whether you are interested in a natural whitening alternative to avoid side effects or simply to save some money, several methods are available that use everyday household items and food.
Eat fruit and vegetables. Crunchy ones like apples, pears, carrots and celery remove stains from your teeth through their abrasive texture, leaving brighter enamel. Apples also contain a natural astringent that lifts discoloration from your teeth. Rub orange peels on your teeth for a mild whitening effect. Do not substitute lemon peels for this, as the acid they contain can strip away the enamel of your teeth.
Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol prevents plaque buildup and encourages saliva production which naturally cleans your whole mouth, including between and around teeth. Chewing on a little cheese after eating has been shown to prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus in cheese, yogurt and milk stimulate the remineralization of your tooth enamel.
Floss at least once a day in addition to brushing two or more times daily. Stains on the sides of teeth add to a darker overall appearance and flossing removes the items that cause this discoloration. Flossing also helps keep your gums healthy which complements the sparkle of your smile.
According to the American Dental Association, some studies suggest that baking soda is too abrasive for teeth whitening. However, it does have stain-lifting properties and by combining it with other ingredients, you may protect the enamel while whitening it. Create your own paste by mixing baking soda with water or simply sprinkle a small amount onto the toothpaste on your brush. Adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the baking soda paste increases the whitening effect, but the American Dental Association recommends you consult your dentist before using a bleaching product like this. Once your teeth have shown an improvement, use a baking soda additive only once or twice a week. Different theories exist on the benefits of adding lemon juice or strawberries to baking soda for teeth whitening. While some believe it causes more harm to the enamel than good, other reports suggest that using it once or twice a week is safe. Strawberries contain malic acid, a natural astringent, and the seeds act as a buffer. Crush a ripe strawberry and mix it with a teaspoon of baking soda. Apply the mixture to your teeth and then brush as normal after about five minutes. Always rinse well after using any of these ingredients.
Tips & Warnings
- The reason for the strawberry is that strawberries contain malic acid that helps whiten teeth. Malic acid is a natural acid that strawberries produce.
- You should always use a soft toothbrush anyway and brush gently, otherwise you could be damaging your teeth.
- Take care to not do this everyday as it could weaken tooth enamel. You will see great results without doing this everyday!
- The Huffington Post: 7 Natural Tips for Whiter Teeth
- American Dental Association: Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products
- The Beauty Bean: How to Whiten Your Teeth Naturally - 5 All-Natural Ways to Whiten Your Smile
- Rivive Life Clinic: Top 5 Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth
- Viva Woman: DIY Beauty - Baking Soda to Whiten Your Teeth
- Health.com: How to Whiten Your Teeth Naturally