1. Brush After Drinking or Eating
The best way to whiten your teeth naturally — though maybe not always the easiest — is to simply brush your teeth with an appropriate toothpaste after eating or drinking something. This takes a lot of persistence and can even be kind of difficult depending on where you are at the time of eating (such as work or school).
Avoiding smoking cigarettes, drinking too much coffee and/or soda, improving your oral hygiene overall, and eating a healthy diet can all also help prevent yellow teeth. If you do regularly drink staining beverages, do so through a straw and try to cut back. Try to drink more plain water after eating or drinking something staining or acidic to help reduce the negative effects.
Most food does not stain teeth, but if you are a coffee drinker or if you smoke, you can pretty much count on having discolored teeth over time due to thinning enamel and/or staining. If this is the case, then having your teeth cleaned every three months may be in order, besides trying some of the natural remedies listed here.
2. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial agent and works great as a total mouth and gum cleaner and keeps the mouth free of germs. A good oral mouth rinse can be made using hydrogen peroxide; use half water and half hydrogen peroxide, swish around in your mouth for about one minute, and then rinse. Research shows hydrogen peroxide keeps breath fresh by eliminating bad bacteria due to acting as a natural antiseptic/antibacterial agent. (4) According to the Dentistry Network, it has many uses in dentistry today, with its most common application to whiten your teeth. It’s also capable of providing natural protection against gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
For another way to use this product, mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with a small amount of baking soda in order to make a paste that helps remove more plaque from teeth. A review published in the Journal of Dentistry found that in five controlled clinical studies on over 270 subjects those brushing with a baking soda dentifrice (toothpaste or powder) showed greater enhanced plaque removal effectiveness than those who used the non-baking soda tooth cleaning products. (5) Results from measurements of patients’ tooth surfaces (such as facial, lingual, proximal and gingival surfaces) also demonstrated statistically greater reductions in mean plaque scores when using baking soda compared to when using baking soda-free products.
To use these products safely to whiten your teeth, brush your teeth as usual first, making sure to reach the back of the teeth too. Baking soda is a gritty substance like sandpaper, so be careful that you have enough hydrogen peroxide mixed in with the soda — because if you don’t it can very well scrub the enamel right off your teeth. This is a big problem, considering enamel does not grow back. The paste should not be gritty at all; in fact, it should be a runnier paste than a stiff paste. Rub the paste onto your teeth for about 30 seconds, then rinse well. For guidance when using baking soda on your teeth, you can also refer to these directions for making homemade remineralizing toothpaste or homemade probiotic toothpaste.
As an alternative to baking soda, you can use white kaolin clay. Mix the kaolin with a bit of water and apply to your teeth about once a week (don’t overuse to avoid damaging your teeth’s enamel). Rinse well. You may want to try blending in a few drops of clove oil or peppermint oil to improve the flavor. Plus these oils also have antimicrobial properties.
3. Coconut Oil Pulling
Can it be true? Coconut oil to clean your teeth? Just when you thought you heard it all when it comes to coconut oil, along comes the news that coconut oil pulling can serve as a natural teeth whitener. Some people attest to their teeth becoming whiter and overall healthier by applying coconut oil to their teeth after they brush, and most people praise the results of oil pulling.
To oil pull, simply put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it between your teeth for five to 20 minutes, or add a few drops to your toothbrush and brush it on. Another oral care option is to apply coconut oil to a corner of a clean washcloth and rub it on the teeth. A bonus regarding coconut pulling? Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, so it’s great for protecting and cleaning your gums as well.
A study featured in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene found, “Edible oil-pulling therapy is natural, safe and has no side effects. Hence, it can be considered as a preventive therapy at home to maintain oral hygiene.”
4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
It makes sense that apple cider vinegar (ACV), which effectively works as a natural antibiotic and teeth/gum cleanser, would also be able to remove stubborn stains on the teeth. ACV is especially helpful for removing stains due to common culprits like coffee and nicotine (smoking). Some report that after using ACV it looks like you just got your teeth professionally cleaned!
What’s the secret of ACV? It contains compounds, including acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes, which kill germs (dangerous “bad” bacteria) and at the same time foster the growth of beneficial “good” probiotic bacteria. Since it’s naturally acidic, it helps break down plaque or other substances stuck to the teeth. The pH of apple cider vinegar can remove stains from your teeth, which helps naturally whiten your teeth.
The key to using ACV for teeth whitening is to be consistent, using it for at least a month continuously in order to see the best results. However, be careful, as with all acids it can remove the enamel on your teeth if you brush too hard or use too much. After brushing with ACV, you need to brush again with regular toothpaste, preferably a non-fluoride paste, or rinse your mouth out well.
Take your finger and rub apple cider vinegar on your teeth for about one minute. Then rinse your mouth out with water or a hydrogen peroxide rinse.
5. Lemon or Orange Peels
Similarly to apple cider vinegar, some swear that using citrus fruits — including lemon and/or orange peels, or lemon essential oil, which contain beneficial acids — also does the trick for whitening teeth. These foods overall are very healthy, such as benefiting digestion due to regulating levels of stomach acid, but the high acid content can also eventually wear away the enamel on the teeth if used too aggressively. Like with ACV, if you use lemon or orange peel on your teeth, always rinse your mouth afterward to be on the safe side. Use the hydrogen peroxide oral rinse formula described above for best results.
6. Strawberries and Other Healthy Foods
Rumor has it that some celebrities whiten their teeth with healthy foods like strawberries. Who would have thought? Model Tyra Banks even tried this tooth-whitening trick on her show. She simply mashed up about four or five strawberries and rubbed this yummy mixture all over her teeth, then rinsed well afterward.
Berries contain many beneficial antioxidants and other compounds that can benefit the health of your teeth, but they’re not the only ones that keep your teeth looking great as you age. The quality of your diet overall is highly tied to the health of your teeth. Foods that can help keep your gums and teeth strong, plus free from diseases or signs of aging, include teeth-strengthening foods like: (7)
- sources of calcium like yogurt or raw milk
- foods high in magnesium and potassium like leafy green veggies, apples or pears
- cage-free eggs
- sweet potatoes, carrots or squash
- nuts like walnuts or almonds
To take advantage of these healthy foods and to help whiten your teeth without putting chemicals inside your mouth, try making this homemade teeth whitener recipe. It combines stain-fighting ingredients like baking soda, lemon essential oil and mashed berries.
BONUS: Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal, an absorbing product used to trap toxins inside the body, may help whiten your teeth by absorbing plaque and microscopic tidbits that cause staining. To whiten your teeth naturally with charcoal, wet a toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Sip a bit of water, swish through mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse well, until spit is clear. For best results, brush your teeth with activated charcoal two to three times per week, but avoid using it if you have crowns, caps or porcelain veneers.