One of the first things people notice about you is your smile, which is why a whiter smile is so important to so many people across the globe. However, teeth often become dull and may stain over time due to the foods we eat and how we care for our teeth and gums. In fact, adult teeth are never white. They are usually a very pale shade of yellow or gray naturally.
Why Do Teeth Get Yellow?
There are many factors that contribute to yellowed teeth. Some factors are preventable, while others are unavoidable.
Factors like genetics and tooth structure may not be controlled, while life choices like the foods we eat, things we drink, and substances we put into our body are controllable factors that may cause yellowing of the enamel.
Your teeth actually consist of four layers- enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum. Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth, which is hard and protects the tooth, which is the part of the tooth that contribute to color.
Dentin is the second layer, which lies beneath the enamel, supporting it. The third layer of pulp contains blood and lymph vessels. Finally, the final layer of cementum covers the root of the tooth.
Even if you have yellowed teeth, you can reverse the effects of staining and achieve pearly whites by using a whitening agent.
Whitening agents are any product or substances that help to bleach and remove stains from teeth. Normally, peroxide is the main ingredient in store-bought teeth bleaching kits. However, there are lots of natural and alternative methods for achieving a whiter smile too.
Since we value white and healthy teeth, here are 20 ways to naturally whiten your teeth at home.
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15 Ways to Safely and Naturally Whiten Your Teeth at Home
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an excellent cleaning and whitening agent for teeth. It’s also readily available at the supermarket and even some convenience stores. It’s often a household staple, used for baking and even general cleaning tasks. You may already have some in your kitchen or hall closet.
Baking soda does a few things for your teeth. It is a naturally abrasive agent, scrubbing teeth and removing both plaque and food particles. Also, baking soda is very alkaline, which means that is a base, neutralizing acids and sugars in your mouth which can cause the breakdown of enamel, which leads to cavities and tooth decay. Baking soda can help to balance the Ph levels in your mouth.
You can use baking soda with a few drops of water or coconut oil to create a paste, which you can apply to your toothbrush and brush your teeth normally.
However, since baking soda is abrasive, it shouldn’t be used daily. It’s better to use this method once or twice a week to keep your teeth clean and sparkling white.
Strawberries are high in vitamin C, which can help to break down plaque which causes yellowing teeth.
Strawberries are also chocked full of malic acid. Malic acid can help to remove surface stains on teeth by helping to break down and remove plaque from the surface enamel.
To use strawberries to whiten your teeth, you have a few options. You can, of course, eat the strawberries and benefit from them, but you can also use them as a paste and brush with them.
To make a paste, you can use any combination of baking soda, salt, or coconut oil with mashed strawberries for a natural whitening alternative.
However, malic acid is only good for whitening when used in moderation. So, you should aim to only use the mixture to brush with a couple of times per week.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemons, like most fruit, are acidic.
Though acids are known to be harmful to tooth enamel, breaking the tooth down and leaving the tooth vulnerable to tooth decay, occasional use of acids to remove stains can work to bring you whiter teeth.
In most cases, you should rinse your mouth after eating acidic foods to avoid erosion. If you want to use lemon juice to help whiten teeth, you can make a paste using baking soda and brush with it normally.
Due to the acidic nature of lemons, you should only brush with lemon paste once a week, or once every two weeks.
The rest of the time, you should rinse or brush after eating any acidic foods, including citrus fruits like lemons.
4. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an old remedy for staining and technique for achieving whiter teeth. It works in a few different ways, not only improving the pigment of your teeth but killing bacteria as well. There are lots of health benefits you can receive from oil pulling, for both teeth and gums.
While most people practice oil pulling for upwards of ten minutes per day, two to five minutes per day can give you many of the same benefits without the lengthy dedication.
You can use coconut oil in one of two ways. Firstly, you can use the coconut oil for pulling by swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth for 2-5 minutes, then following with regular brushing. Alternatively, you can just use the coconut along with your regular toothpaste for the antibacterial properties that encourage less plaque and in turn, less staining.
Coconut oil is not a bleaching agent, but it will decrease plaque, which will lead to whiter teeth. Not only that, but it can help to encourage healthier gums as well. Coconut oil is also very inexpensive and is mild to taste.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the main ingredients in most whitening gels and strips.
Though you can buy products that contain peroxides, such as whitening strips and gels, you can also make your own whitening paste at home using a combination of hydrogen peroxide and coconut oil or baking soda.
To use the paste, all you need to do is brush with it normally to allow the whitening effects to take place.
It’s an effective method for achieving whiter teeth, but you should make sure to rinse completely after use. Also, the treatment should only be used a couple of times per week to avoid increased sensitivity.
If you choose to mix the peroxide with baking soda, it’s important to limit your use and rinse because it can break down enamel and cause additional sensitivity as well as yellowing. Baking soda can also be coarse and abrasive, so make sure to be gentle.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
For stubborn stains, apple cider vinegar is a great option. Apple cider vinegar is great for gum care and removes the toughest stains, especially those caused by nicotine and caffeine. You can use apple cider vinegar by either using it as a rinse or brushing with it.
Apple cider vinegar can give you whitening results that rival the results you’d get from a professional whitening. However, vinegar is acidic and can break down enamel. This is why you should rinse with water after using the vinegar, and only use the treatment once or twice a week.
It may take a few weeks or months to see the full results, but it’s worth the wait, especially for the cost. Don’t forget to brush regularly after using the apple cider vinegar treatment.
7. Brushing After Meals
This shouldn’t be a surprise, but there are lots of foods and beverages that can harm enamel, and in turn, stain your teeth.
A few of these culprits are wine, coffee, acidic food, and both processed and natural sugars.
The best way to prevent staining, in turn allowing for whiter teeth, is to brush and floss more often. After you eat or drink, it can be helpful to brush your teeth.
This will help to eliminate leftover food particles, encouraging bacterial growth, causing staining, plaque, and even cavities.
Even if you don’t have time to brush, it’s a great idea to rinse your mouth or take a drink of water. The water will neutralize acidic and sugar, while also helping to clean teeth of residues.
8. Eat Your Veggies Raw
Crunchy and raw vegetables are a great way to help brush the plaque away and whiten your teeth.
Plaque buildup occurs throughout the day and can cause both yellowing and cavities.
Raw veggies like celery, broccoli, and carrots are slightly abrasive and can act as a scrubbing agent, carrying plaque and food particles away.
Not to mention that veggies are chocked full of high water and vitamin content.
Vitamins help to strengthen teeth, while water helps to whiten and wash away particles. Overall, eating fresh vegetables is an excellent way to improve your overall health and achieve whiter teeth.
9. Try An Apple A Day
Just like raw vegetables, apples are an excellent way to whiten your teeth naturally as well. Apples are essentially nature’s toothbrush. When you eat an apple, you benefit from it in a few different ways.
To start, apples are fibrous, which means that they are gently abrasive.
As we know, crunchy foods help scrub away plaque that causes stains. Apples also manage to clean between teeth, as well as on the surface.
As you bite into the fruit, it can help to clean your teeth, whitening them in the long run by keeping plaque at bay.
Also, apples are naturally slightly acidic which may act as an astringent. However, you should still rinse or drink some water after eating apples to prevent any damage to the enamel of your teeth.
Apples are also excellent for naturally white teeth because they are chocked full of vitamins that benefit your oral health including vitamins A, B, C, K and more.
Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is a black powder substance, often found in capsules and used to treat some medical conditions. It’s also non-toxic.
You might think that using something dark in pigment would be counterproductive for whitening, but this not the case with charcoal. Activated charcoal not only improves whiteness but also absorbs toxins.
To use charcoal, you can use charcoal powder and combine it with coconut oil to make a paste. Alternatively, you can use water, but a smoother consistency may be achieved using coconut oil instead. Then, all you need to do is brush normally and rinse well. You shouldn’t use charcoal every day, but you can use it every other day for whiter teeth.
There are some charcoal toothpaste that is intended for everyday use, so if you want to stick with charcoal, you can alternate between using the charcoal paste and toothpaste alternative.
Flossing. It’s something we should do every day, but not always something we practice in our daily lives.
Floss particularly good when it comes to keeping your teeth white, plaque free, and clean. Floss doesn’t whiten teeth in the sense of bleaching, it just does a good job of cleaning away plaque, preventing yellowing and cavities.
Also, floss can help reduce the number of food particles found in the mouth, reducing bacteria which may lead to plaque production. All around, flossing helps to keep teeth cleaner and whiter.
You should floss twice daily in order to benefit your teeth and gums.
12. Use a Straw
You don’t need to cut out sugary drinks altogether to live a happy, healthy, and balanced lifestyle. However, residual sugar left behind from drinking these kinds of beverages can do damage to the enamel, breaking the exterior down and allowing for both staining and cavities.
To prevent breakdown and protect your teeth, you have to drink sugary beverages with a straw.
The straw will minimize the amount of contact the sugar has with your enamel. This will, in turn, allow for your teeth to stay whiter and improve whiteness over time with less contact with sugar.
Turmeric is a root that belongs to the ginger family. It has a peppery flavor, and it’s yellow in color. Often, it’s produced as a dried powder.
Turmeric has many health benefits, including teeth whitening and gum care. Turmeric is not only chocked full of vitamins, but it also provides anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
Turmeric is highly pigmented and tends to stain things like fabrics, but it has miraculous effects when it comes to whitening teeth.
You can use turmeric in combination with coconut oil to make a paste for brushing with. You should still rinse after using the treatment, but it’s safe for daily use and cleans your teeth well.
Turmeric is also antioxidizing and antimycobacterial, so you know that you’ll come away with clean and healthy teeth after brushing with turmeric. These qualities also make turmeric paste great for helping with gum problems like periodontitis.
14. Banana Peels
Banana peel whitening has been on the rise as a DIY whitening method. Though some people claim that the method isn’t effective, there is some science behind the trend that explains the method’s effectiveness.
To use a banana peel to whiten your teeth, you should use a banana that’s just ripe, with some parts of the peel that may still be green. You should use a ripe banana because it will have the optimum levels of potassium, which is the ingredient that brightens and whitens teeth.
Next, all you need to do is cut a strip of banana that you can fit comfortably against your teeth and rub your teeth for 2 minutes. Afterward, you can rinse or brush your teeth normally. The minerals and potassium found in the peel will brighten and whiten your teeth over time with daily use.
15. Care for your teeth
Above all else, you can whiten your teeth by removing plaque and preventing future staining. This is why caring for your teeth is one of the best and most important steps you can take to achieve whiter teeth.
Taking care of your teeth means a lot of things, especially brushing and flossing twice a day, below is a list of things you can do to care for your teeth and keep them white.
Healthy habits for whiter teeth
Brushing and flossing twice a day
It’s recommended that individuals brush their teeth twice a day. Although, not everyone does so. Brushing twice a day ensures that the majority of plaque, bacteria, and food particles are brushed and scrubbed away. You should also floss, because it will further reduce the number of particles in your mouth, leading to cleaner and whiter teeth.
Choosing the right products
The type of toothbrush you use affects the level of clean you can achieve. While different people may have different needs when it comes to dental care, a few things to look for as a general rule of thumb are soft bristles, a comfortable handle, and varied length bristles. The toothpaste and mouthwash you use also can affect your teeth. Sugarless toothpaste with fluoride is one of the best options, along with making your own. Same goes for mouthwash.
Eating the right foods goes a long way to having white and healthy teeth. Some of the best foods you can eat include crunchy and raw vegetables, but whole grains and dairy products are also excellent for your oral health. General healthy eating benefits your whole body, including your teeth and gums.
Along with eating a balanced diet and including tooth-friendly foods in your daily meals, you should also increase your water intake. Water benefits the body in many ways, but especially your oral health. Water promotes gum health, cleans the teeth, and neutralizes both acids and sugars, which decreases plaque production. Water is excellent for promoting whiter teeth.
Minimizing sugar/acid intake
We all know that sugar isn’t beneficial for our health. It’s okay in moderation, but both sugars and acids can damage your enamel. Both can break down enamel, causing staining and even cavities. You should make sure that you control both your acid and sugar intake, while also rinsing with or drinking water after consumption to neutralize bacteria causes.
Brushing after meals
Brushing after meals decreases the chance of food particles staying in the mouth to become bacteria, which becomes plaque. Plaque can affect the whiteness of your teeth, causing yellowing over time. Brushing or rinsing between meals is a small thing you can do for a healthier and brighter smile.
Visiting the dentist
Visiting the dentist regularly plays an important role in oral health, especially for managing and promoting whiter teeth. You should visit the dentist biannually for checkups and cleaning. Cleanings can whiten your teeth because the dental hygienist will be able to clean your teeth more thoroughly and your dentist will be able to identify and problem areas during checkups. Asking your dentist about whitening methods is also a good idea because they often have a lot of professional insight on how to achieve a whiter smile.
Follow and do these tips on a regular basis to get healthier, whiter teeth …