Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth
If you want to whiten your teeth, professional whitening in a dental office will get you the best results. Professional whitening uses stronger agents than can be sold over the counter and often entails a special light source that speeds up the whitening process.
Of course, professional whitening is a pricier option than at-home teeth whitening kits. But even if price isn’t a factor, you may simply prefer to use a natural solution. Maybe you don’t like the idea of using synthetic chemicals or strong bleaching agents. Maybe you feel the intense whiteness that purchased products sometimes yield doesn’t look…well…natural to you. Maybe it just feels better to you that you can use something you may already have at home in your pantry or refrigerator.
So if you’re one of those people who prefer a natural process for whitening your teeth, you’re in luck. There are several options you can try.
Some natural ingredients that can help whiten your teeth are:
- Baking soda – Baking soda has been used to help clean teeth since before pre-mixed toothpaste was available commercially, and it can be a cornerstone of a natural whitening habit. It is abrasive, but only mildly, which means using it can be a gentle way to scrub away surface stains. To make a paste, mix baking soda with water, hydrogen peroxide (see below), lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar.
- Hydrogen peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide is found in many over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, albeit in a highly concentrated form. Integrating hydrogen peroxide into your oral care regimen, such as a rinse, can help keep stains at bay, but it may not be all that effective at whitening.
- Coconut oil – Coconut oil, which you can often find in jars at natural sections of grocery stores or sometimes the cooking oil aisle, is often used in skin or hair care by natural product aficionados. It is also slightly acidic which means it can kill bacteria that live on the surface of your teeth.
- Apple cider vinegar – Vinegar is often used as a household cleaning product, so it’s no surprise that it can be used to clean teeth as well. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse or mixed with baking soda. Be sure to brush or rinse again after using it, however, because the acidic properties can damage tooth enamel.
- Lemon – We mentioned lemon juice as a possible additive to baking soda above, and the acidic properties are also present in the rind of the fruit. Try brushing with a mixture of lemon juice and water (if you don’t wish to use baking soda), or rub the peel directly on your teeth.
Remember that the best results start with prevention. Avoid stain-creating drinks like coffee and tea, and if you do drink them, brush right away whenever possible. Don’t smoke, keep sugar intake to a minimum, and maintain your teeth’s enamel with proper oral care.
The key to natural teeth whitening is consistency. Don’t expect immediate results. Rather, it could take at least a month, often longer, before you start to notice outcomes. And if you are using an acidic solution such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, be careful. The acidic properties can damage the enamel on your teeth. You can try using them a few times a week instead of daily, or be sure to brush just after using to make sure the acid doesn’t sit on your teeth. Lastly, if you’re in braces, it’s best to wait until after orthodontic treatment is over before you begin any sort of whitening regimen. Ask Dr. Smith, your Smithtown orthodontist, for more information.