Do you want white, shining teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Tooth whitening is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it continues to grow. Yellowing of the teeth is generally caused either by stains on the enamel (i.e. the top layer of the tooth) or by the enamel wearing away, exposing the yellowish layer of dentin below. Commercial tooth whitening products promise that no matter the cause of your yellowing teeth, they can restore your smile to brilliant whiteness.
Unfortunately, these treatments can come with a high cost. The bleach they use can severely irritate your gums and teeth, causing sensitivity and pain. In some cases, whitening too frequently can even wear away at the enamel and erode your teeth. Luckily, it’s still possible to make your pearly whites shine without the hazards of commercial bleaching. And odds are, you have exactly what you need in your kitchen cabinets already.
Baking Soda & Lemon Juice
Baking soda is gently abrasive and helps to buff away surface stains caused by coffee, soda, and other dark drinks. Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent and will help whiten your smile. The alkalinity of the baking soda counteracts the acidity of the lemon juice, preventing it from further wearing away your enamel.
To use, mix baking soda and lemon juice until you have a thick paste. Use the paste to gently brush your teeth, allowing the mixture to sit on your teeth for several minutes. Rise with water.
Oil pulling is an excellent way to improve your oral health in general, and when it comes to whitening teeth, it can give you an extra boost. It works by loosening plaque and other stains from the surface of your teeth, while nourishing and soothing your gums at the same time.
To get the most out of oil pulling, hold a teaspoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for 3-5 minutes. Swish it around for one minute, then spit it out to expel plaque and other materials that have been removed from your teeth. Repeat this process three to four times.
If your teeth are only moderately stained, you can use oil pulling alone to give them some extra shine. If the yellowing on your teeth is more severe, use oil pulling in combination with another method.
Strawberries & Salt
The high level of vitamin C in strawberries helps to break down plaque stains on your teeth and strengthen the enamel, fighting off yellowing on two fronts. The salt is abrasive, but gentler than baking soda, making it an excellent choice if you have sensitive teeth or damaged enamel.
To use, mash several strawberries into a pulpy mixture, then add in a pinch of sea salt. Using a toothbrush, scrub the mixture onto your teeth and leave it for 3-5 minutes before rinsing.
In addition to its many disease fighting properties, turmeric can also help restore your smile to a beautiful shine, lifting stains without damaging or eroding the enamel.
To use, dip a wet toothbrush in powdered turmeric and gently scrub your teeth. Be aware that this will turn both the brush and your teeth bright yellow. While the color will wash off your teeth when you rinse your mouth, your toothbrush will be permanently dyed.
If you want to spare your toothbrush, you can also scrub your teeth with a slice of fresh turmeric root, or mix the powder in water and use it as a mouthwash.