Many of us long for pearl-white teeth, but dental bills can be expensive. As the cost of healthcare rises, more and more people are turning to alternative, natural-based remedies for common oral issues, especially teeth-whitening.
How to Tell if your Teeth Need Whitening
Grab a piece of white printer paper and stand in front of a mirror. Smile and hold the piece of paper next to your teeth. Does your smile look yellow by comparison? This usually indicates that your teeth have surface stains and some of the techniques outlined in this article might be all you need.However, if you teeth look gray by comparison, this usually indicates that the discoloration lies inside the teeth and “bleaching” them will not do much good.
That qualification aside, here are some simple, affordable, homemade concoctions you can try at home. Pick one to try and do it once a day for a week or so and see if you notice any difference.
1. Brush After Eating or Drinking
Perhaps you may have already been lectured by your parents and your dentist for years about this one, but it warrants repeating. It’s certainly not the easiest method to whiten your teeth. It takes a lot of persistance and it can even be difficult to do at times (like if you’re travelling or at work.) But brushing your teeth regularly after each meal is by far the best way to not only whiten your teeth, but even prevent the need for whitening methods altogether.
2. Give up Coffee
Often times, it’s the things we do NOT do that can have the best benefits. Coffee stains your teeth and the acid from the coffee attacks the enamel of the tooth. If you drink a lot of coffee you may have a difficult time keeping your teeth white. If you don’t feel that you could give up coffee completely, you could always try to drink it less frequently.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut is often praised for having all kinds of health benefits. This may be yet another to add to the list. There are different ways you can use coconut oil on your teeth, but the approach that seems to be generating the most attention is known as coconut oil “pulling.” In simple terms, this means that you put a spoonful of coconut in your mouth and swish it around for about 5 to 20 minutes.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be a good solution if you are dealing with particularly difficult stains, such as those from coffee or nicotine. This method takes a little more commitment than the others. You will likely have to keep at it for at least 1 month before you see any noticeable improvements. Also, be sure to brush and rinse again with regular toothpaste after brushing with the vinegar to ensure that the acids don’t stay on your teeth and wear down the enamel.
5. Lemon or Orange Peels
This one might sound a bit odd, but people have reported having success whitening their teeth with lemon or orange peels. It’s so simple that it’s probably worth a try. Simply peel an orange or lemon and rub the inside of the peel on your teeth. Then brush and rinse your teeth as normal.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you might want to try some of these hybrid concoctions from Everyday Roots.
6. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice Paste
Lemon juice acts like a natural bleach. The baking soda is mildly abrasive, gently scrubbing away the surface stains on your teeth and also helps balance the acidity of the lemon juice.
Mix several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice to make a paste. Put a generous amount of the paste on your toothbrush and apply to your teeth. Leave the paste on for about 1 minute, then rinse.
7. Strawberry, Salt, and Baking Soda Scrub
Strawberries are high in Vitamin C which can help break down plaque that might be causing your teeth to look yellow. The salt acts as an abrasive that scrubs away the gunk that causes stains.
Pick out 2 or 3 large strawberries, and mash them into a pulp. Add a pinch of salt and ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Wipe the saliva off of your teeth with a paper towel. Once again, apply a generous portion of the paste on your toothbrush and apply to your teeth. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse.
These next couple unconventional tips come from Wellness Mama. As counterintuitive as it sounds, charcoal has been reported to have many health benefits, including whitening teeth. While filling your mouth with the black charcoal will make your mouth look quite ugly for a moment, and you might think it’s a surefire way to stain your teeth, apparently it works quite well for some people.
This is another counter-intuitive remedy. Turmeric has been used as a dye in the past and is actually known for staining things yellow (like cloth or skin). It works by calling on the good things (like gelatin) it puts in your teeth. For a more detailed explanation check out Mommypotamus’ post.
What to do if your stains go deeper than the surface
Unfortunately, if your teeth discoloration is not due to simple surface stains or your tooth’s enamel is simply grayer than you’d like, you are probably going to need to go to the dentist for a deep clean. This can be expensive but you can at least get on a dental discount plan to reduce your bills.
Let Us Know What You Think
Have you had success with any of these methods? Any good ones that we missed?