Professional teeth whitening can be expensive, and for a lot of people isn’t actually all that necessary. Your smile might have dulled over time or lost it’s sparkle, but if surface stains are to blame (as opposed to deeper, ingrained stains) there are lots of treatments that are really effective, so you can look beautiful without breaking the bank. If your teeth discolouration is only mild or you want to try out an inexpensive whitener before dropping some cash on the big guns from the dentist, here are a few surprising home remedies to try. Each of these are well documented to remove surface stains and brighten teeth. Admittedly it can seem a little weird brushing your teeth with these kinds of things, especially if you haven’t tried anything like it before! But all of the ingredients are safe for teeth, inexpensive and safe to ingest- you probably have most of them in your kitchen right now. So why not give it a go?!
Activated charcoal (a reheated, oxidised version of the charcoal you use for your summer barbeques) is a very effective natural tooth whitener. While it can look pretty scary brushing your teeth with the jet black stuff, incredibly it does work. Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities let it bind to surface-staining culprits like tea, coffee, red wine, and plaque, and lift them off your teeth The odourless and tasteless powder is absolutely fine to ingest- it’s sold in health food stores in tablet form which can be used to treat a range of digestive problems. The only thing to be aware of is you shouldn’t brush your teeth with charcoal that’s too gritty in case it scratches the enamel. Make sure it’s a very fine powder, or if you’re unsure just allow it to sit on your teeth for a minute or two without scrubbing it in with a toothbrush.
Although strawberries contain citric acid which can weaken the surface hardness of your teeth, they also contains a more gentle acid called malic acid. The riper the strawberry becomes, the levels of malic acid rise and the harmful citric acid decrease. So the key to using strawberries to whiten teeth is to choose really ripe ones. Rub them on your teeth and just like exfoliating the skin, they remove the debris and stains on the surface. The malic acid won’t break down the stain molecules, but the surface clean gives your teeth a whiter and brighter appearance making it a gentle and effective natural choice. You can crush up the ripe strawberry with a fork or in a blender and dip your toothbrush in it, and brush carefully over teeth. Alternatively, eat the strawberries using your front teeth! Within two weeks, this gentle and effective cleaner should make your teeth look whiter. Celebrities including Catherine Zeta Jones swear by this trick, and when they have the financial means to try every tooth whitening product on the market it must be good!
Baking soda is an ingredient in many whitening toothpastes, it’s a mild yet effective exfoliate which can polish up teeth and scrub off surface stains for a brighter smile. Some DIY treatments suggest mixing the baking soda with lemon, but it’s wise to steer clear of this idea. Lemon contains high levels of citric acid which will cause acid erosion and damage to the teeth. Stick with plain baking soda! Mix it with some water and form a paste and gently brush it onto the teeth. Because there’s no fluoride in baking soda, be aware that you will need to use a regular toothpaste too. To avoid risking damage to the enamel, use baking soda as a whitener now and again rather than on a very regular basis. Once a month should be plenty to keep on top of surface stains.
Oil pulling is the 3000 year old Indian technique of swishing coconut oil around your mouth for five to 20 minutes before spitting it out. It has become a huge hit in recent years, with celebrities raving about its claims. Research has shown participants who included oil pulling as part of their oral hygiene routine experienced significantly reduced plaque and gum disease levels. Helping to dislodge surface stains and also improve the condition of your mouth, it’s well worth hopping on board the bandwagon and giving it a try.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a well known multipurpose household cleaning product, but you might be surprised to learn it also has natural whitening properties. The results aren’t instant, but sticking with it and using apple cider vinegar over a period of weeks can make a difference. You can mix it with baking soda to create a whitening paste, or gargle with it for a similar effect. It’s said to be particularly good for nicotine and coffee, the enemy of so many people’s teeth. As with all acids you do need to take precautions as to not cause damage to the tooth enamel- make sure you rinse your mouth really well after using it or brush your teeth again with a regular toothpaste. The use of Apple Cider Vinegar to whiten teeth is even recommended by toothpaste giant Colgate, so is definitely one to test.
For deeper discolouration or any other dental issues, it’s highly advisable to see a dentist who will be able to let you know what to do in your specific case. If you’re not insured, read this guide here to find a dental plan that’s right for you. Visiting a dentist every six months is so important and will catch any problems early, saving you a lot of pain and money later down the line. You can also address any cosmetic issues you have with them too.
Whether you brighten your smile using these natural remedies, or opt to visit a dentist for something more intense you’ll never regret making the effort to make your teeth look good. Anything that gives you more confidence and allows you to smile more is always a good thing!