19 Natural Ways To Make Your Teeth Whiter at Home. Tips and Cautions included!
The world is crazy over white sparkling teeth.
According to MSNBC, just Americans alone spend over $1.4 billion dollars on over-the-counter teeth whitening products every year. In fact, this does not include what people spend on seeing dentists or specialists for teeth whitening. Most adults take the quest for white teeth seriously.
According to a survey from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of adults believe a smile is a key social asset, while 74% feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s career success.
It is hard to dismiss the craze since everyday we are bombarded with advertisement and celebrities who’s teeth are on the borderline of glaring into your eyes.
But is it really good to have blazing white teeth? Should you join in the bleaching crowd?
Studies say otherwise.
Breaching can cause our enamel to soften and erode. In a 2002, University of Southern California School of Dentistry did a survey of 100 people who used over-the-counter whitening product. The result shows that half of them experienced mild sensitivity and 1 in 25 of them had debilitating, shooting pain that lasts several minutes at a time.
Worst, the pain can persist for several weeks or months even after discontinuing treatment. Some of the common side effects of whitening products can cause irritated/bleached gums, nerve damage, discolored enamel and even receding gums (due to their abrasive nature).
It doesn’t mean that in-office treatments are better. There are several reported cases of users experiencing chemical burns on gums and tongue, and other soft tissue areas due to poor management. Root canal may be required if the peroxide (commonly used for in-office treatment) leaks into a crack or cavity in a tooth.
There is no bleaching kit, be it from the dentist or the drug store that can do the job safely. They might look effective at first but these treatments will eventually eat away the enamel, and then the teeth will look duller and ultimately be more vulnerable to straining.
Our Teeth’s Nature Color
Our teeth is made up of 4 main parts – pulp, cementum, dentin and enamel (Click here for more details).
- Pulp chamber is where the nutrients are transported in from the bloodstream and out to the tooth.
- Cementum protects the root of the tooth
- Dentin, yellowish living tissue which supports the enamel
- Enamel is the white outer layer which helps to protect the tooth
As you can see, enamel and dentin play the biggest factor in our teeth color. The natural color of teeth actually ranges from pale yellow to whitish grey, not sparkling white. What you see on TV and magazines are either photoshop-ped or they had already done some bleaching.
They are not ‘real’.
How Did Our Teeth Get Stained?
Other than its natural color, our teeth do get stained by several factors. Age is an unpreventable factor that color of teeth changes. As we age, the enamel thins (and is semi-transparent in nature), the yellow hues of the dentin shows through more. However, this can be reversed by remineralizing your enamel which we are discuss about it later.
At Mouthdiary, we like to further divide reason for teeth staining into 2 categories – intrinsic and extrinsic stains.
Intrinsic stains predominantly reflects on changes on the internal structure of the teeth, namely the dentine. Reasons could be due to changes in health, hereditary conditions (like dentinogenesis Imperfecta) as well as certain medications (like tetracycline) taken during childhood. It can also be due to side effects of treatments like chemotherapy.
External stains could be due to foods and beverages that color (coffee, red wine, blueberries, etc) and poor dental hygiene that led to the formation of tartar and plaque, which allows more surface area for stains to hang on. Smokers tend to have more yellow teeth (in some cases, permanent grey marks that can’t be removed) because of the nicotine in cigarettes. The more straightforward remedy for smokers is actually to stop smoking, but that’s another topic for another time.
Home Remedies For Teeth Whitening
If you were to ask us, in terms of what we can eat to help in reducing discoloration of teeth, we would propose the basics for teeth whitening can basically be distilled into these 3 main points.
1) Prevent thinning of the enamel so that the color of dentin does not show through as much.
2) Regularly clean surface of teeth to reduce formation of tartar and plaque. Other than the main purpose of preventing dental cavities, the absence of tartar and plaque makes it difficult for stains to latch on the surface of teeth
3) Clean the gaps between teeth to prevent accumulation of bacteria and plaque to improve general oral health, which should also correspondingly reduce discoloration of teeth. Using an interdental toothbrush (a tool specially for cleaning the hard to reach and gaps between teeth). Here is a list of interdental toothbrushes we like.
Without further ado, let us present 19 natural ways to make your teeth whiter at home:
1. A Toast With Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar rocks in the school of teeth whitening. Firstly, it doesn’t taste as bad as vinegar.
Secondly, it is a juggernaut at removing germs that are harmful for your teeth. Thirdly, it can help remove stubborn stain especially ones that are caused by smoking and coffee.
Diluted with water and add baking soda (expect bubbling when we add baking soda to ACV, so get a deep bowl or cup) or sea salt to create a mouthwash that is effective in removing light discoloration on teeth. Gargle the solution for a minute or so.
This solution can be rubbed on the teeth like a polish. Apple cider vinegar has the added benefit of relieving symptoms of acid reflux disease. Ironically, people who have acid reflux diseases often suffers from stained teeth too.
Remember to rinse thoroughly after gargling the solution, to minimize the erosive acidic nature of ACV. Repeat for a few days to get that sparkling white smile.
Caution: While using of vinegar is very effective, remember to use it sparingly. Vinegar is highly acidic and it removes calcium from your enamel which overused can cause porous holes resulting in tooth sensitivity and even caries.
2. Banana Na Ah Ah~~
You must have heard about the tons of health benefits that bananas provide, but do you know it can be used to whiten your teeth too?
In fact, banana peel is known to be kinder to the teeth as compared to some of the natural teeth whitening methods listed here.
With its high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and manganese, the banana peel applied to the teeth can help remove stains and whiten them.
In addition to the minerals already listed, banana peel is also high in calcium and vitamin D which can strengthen your teeth and help them absorb the minerals better.
It is little wonder why Minions love bananas so much.
- Peel off a strip off the banana skin and leave the others intact for future use.
- Rub the inside (white area) of the peel gently over your teeth. Make sure all your teeth get the banana paste. Do this for 2 minutes.
- Keep your lips open 1 to 2 minutes so that the banana essence can work on your teeth and your lip does not rub them off.
- Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth to remove the remaining residue.
- Repeat this process for once a day (preferably before you sleep).
This method has to be done for months before you can see distinctive difference. As the effect may not be obvious in the first few weeks, take a before and after picture for comparison.
Tips: Don’t throw away the peel as they can be use as mineral compost for your plants. Either blend them or just leave it in your flower pot.
3. Broccoli Scrubbing
Eating the florets is like putting your teeth into a car wash for polishing and scrubbing. It also helps to induce your mouth to produce saliva that helps to neutralize the acidity of your mouth while killing bacteria at the same time.
A research in The European Journal of Dentistry concludes that the iron found in broccoli helps protect the tooth enamel by casting a invisible wall of protection against staining bacteria and cavity-causing acid.
Tips: Don’t over cook your broccolis or boil them for too long. The best way to retain the natural vitamins and minerals is to steam it.
Coconut Oil Pulling
Mouthdiary had only came across this baby a few days ago and we are loving every minute of it. While it may sounds absurd, this method promises to whiten your teeth eliminate your gum problems while improving your overall health!
Hard to believe?
We were highly skeptical too when we first heard about it. But that this method had been used for thousand of years as Indian folk remedy. If it is around for thousand of years, we at Mouthdiary will sure give it a try!
So how does oil pulling works?
Most of our teeth problems are a result of harmful bacteria accumulating in our mouth. They react with the plague that is formed on our teeth and produce acid. This acid then burn into your enamel and you get cavities. In fact, most gum diseases are also the result of overwhelming bacterial infection.
When you do oil pulling, bacteria get ‘pull’ along with the oil and dissolves in it. Being liquid, oil pulling is capable of reaching areas of your mouth which is difficult to be accessed by your toothbrush. It can even pull out bacteria which are hiding in between your teeth.
This is further supported by researchers from Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) in, Ireland, who reported in their studies that coconut oil is effective in destroying most strains of the bacteria and especially Streptococcus mutans.
Actually, oil pulling can be done using other kind of oil too. Such as olive, sunflower and sesame oil. However, we at Mouthdiary prefer coconut oil due to its tons of health benefits and most importantly, its nutty flavor. If you had tried other forms of oil like us, once you go coconut, you will never go back.
Adding to the plate, coconut oil contains lauric acid which is antimicrobial, meaning it can kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Totally badass for keeping good dental hygiene.
- Scoop out a tablespoon of coconut.
- If yours come in solid form, you can either let it melt at room temperature or put it in your mouth to melt. (We prefer the latter for convenience and speed)
- Gargle and swish the oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. (you can slowly build up from 10 minutes)
- Spit out the oil, rinse with water and brush your teeth.
Our experience after 10 days is that even though this method will not be able to make your teeth shine with the kind of whiteness when you bleached it, it does make a difference in the color. Furthermore, the health benefits and the lack of side effects make this method a must try.
Tips: We recommend that you do oil pulling in the morning before you brush your teeth. The time is when we have the most bacteria in our mouth due to lack of saliva production when we are sleeping. Doing oil pulling helps to remove them and starts afresh.
Caution: As coconut oil will solidify and clog the drain under low temperature (especially in winter), it is highly recommended that you avoid spitting them into the sink or toilet bowl. Mouthdiary does it by spitting into a paper towel first and throw in the trash.
5. Who Took My Cheese!
One of our favorite natural teeth whitening. While it may sound ridiculous, eating more cheese is actually good for your teeth!
Recent studies had proven that eating more cheese actually prevent your enamel from erosion.
Cheese contains minerals such as calcium and phosphorus that can help to promote re-mineralization of your tooth enamel.
This is a big thing for white pearly teeth as it thickens your enamel to avoid showing the yellowish color beneath it. Thicker enamel means less discoloration.
Another little-known benefit of cheese is that it increases the pH level in the mouth making it less acidic. This means the chance of discoloration and tooth erosion is reduced. If you don’t like cheese, drinking milk and eating yogurt (I eat 1 scoop of unsweetened yogurt everyday and Niki says that my teeth is getting whiter) will have similar effect.
Tips: It is recommended by experts that in order for maximum mouth-saving effect, you should take bites from a piece of cheese when eating or snacking. You can even take them when you are drinking wine. Just always remember to end your drinking session with the cheese.
6. Get White With Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers rejoice!
Niki was ecstatic when she first learnt about this fact. She declared proudly now that there is no more reason that I should stop her from eating this savory desserts due to cavities.
Though I like to agree with her but there is a catch.
The only type of chocolate that is good for your teeth is dark chocolate (and she hate bitterness).
Not the white chocolate or sweetened ones like Cadbury (see how the name indicates you might as well bury your teeth if you eat them) chocolate which are full of sugars.
Dark chocolate contains theobromine (reason for the bitterness) which helps to strengthen your tooth enamel, making them stronger, thicker and prevent staining (weaker outer coating on teeth makes them more susceptible to discoloration).
It also contains lots of tannins (antioxidants found in cacao) which helps to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth while also neutralizing the microorganisms that cause bad breath.
Tips: Choose the best-quality dark chocolate (preferably no sugar and ones that contain at least 70% cacao) you can find to get more theobromine, tannins and these advantages.
7. Munch With Vigor
Fruits and vegetables are wonderful for antioxidants and fibre. They are necessary for a balanced healthy diet.
Crunchy foods like apples, carrots and celery are great teeth scrubbers. Their high fiber content and abrasive nature helps to remove plague while not eroding your enamel.
They also contain an enzyme, called malic acid, the same acid found in strawberries, which is helpful to whiten the teeth. The act of eating such food itself will increase saliva production, own very own self-cleaning agent. Please don’t underestimate the importance of our friendly saliva. In my field of work, people who has damaged saliva glands (may due to head and neck cancer treatment) always end up with dental issues.
Tips: Chew properly in order to extract the malic acid and let the fibres have ample time to work on your teeth.
We love this fruit. Adding it to salad and Assam instant noodles is a must for its rich tingling favor. Lemon is a also very powerful natural bleaching agent. Other than using it for lightening your hair color as some saloon do, it can be used to get rid of your teeth yellow discoloration.
You can either gargle with lemon juice or scrub your teeth with lemon peel (like orange peel.)
- Mix together a few drops of lemon juice and some salt (or baking soda).
- Apply the mixture on the stained teeth and rub the paste vigorously over your teeth and gums. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
Do this twice daily for about two weeks to get rid of tartar and the yellow tinge.
Caution: Only use this method at most once a week as lemon juice is acidic and it can weaken the enamel. Over-usage causes your teeth to lose calcium, making them become brittle.
9. Preventing Holey With Holy Basil
Also known as tulsi in Hinduism.
This plant is worshipped by Hindus and is sacred for a good reason.
It had been used for herbal remedy for many different ailments including dental and oral care.
For a start, this amazing plant can kill up to 99% of the germs and bacteria in your mouth (that causes plaque, cavities and tartar), whitens your teeth and leaves your breath fresh for long period of time.
It has also have tons of health benefits such as reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose level and aging.
- Dry some few leaves of basil leaves in the sun.
- Grind them into powder.
- Mix the powder with your regular toothpaste or if you can make a paste using the powder and mustard oil.
- Brush as per normal
Caution: Avoid chewing on the tulsi leaves as they contain certain compounds like mercury, while being powerful in killing germs, they can actually be harmful for the teeth if kept in direct contact for too long.
10. Bring Out The Margosa
Let’s go back to the basic. This time, let us do it the tribal style!
In the olden days where toothbrush and toothpaste are not invented, tribes use Margosa to protect their dental health.
How do they use it?
They just chew it. It helps to tackle teeth problems and remove yellow discoloring.
If you feel that it is too barbaric and the taste, you can use the oil instead. Due to the astringent and antiseptic properties, regular use of margosa oil helps to get rid of bad breath and prevents dental cavities.
Either mix margosa oil with your regular toothpaste and brush your teeth or gargle it like oil pulling.
11. Keep Those Peelies
Orange peels are amazing!
Its uses include using it as air freshener, scrub for plates, refrigerator deodorizer, repel insects, make candles and many more.
It is lesser known that this orangish strips can also be used as for teeth whitening too.
Orange peel possesses calcium and Vitamin C which can help to fight against micro-organisms present in the mouth.
The white part of the orange peel (also known as albedo) contains vitamin C, calcium, pectin, glucarate, limonene (A natural solvent) and soluble fiber.
According to a research made in 2010 (American Journal of Dentistry), it is found that toothpaste containing d-limonene was more effective in reducing smoking stains on teeth and d-limonene alone inhibited the development of further smoking stains.
Our lips may feel a bit numb if the peel is in contact with it but the peel also stimulates saliva production which is great for balancing the pH level in the mouth and reduce thinning of the enamel.
- Roll an orange around on a flat surface. This will loosen the skin from the flesh.
- Peel the skin into strips. Keep the white portion intact.
- Cover your teeth with the peel. Rub the white under portion of orange peel across stained teeth.
- Rinse your mouth to wash away the acid
- Wait for 10 minutes and brush your teeth to remove any residue.
Tips: Organic oranges are preferred as others contain lots of herbicides and pesticides. If you prefer not to burn your money pouch (like us), fear not. Just make sure to wash the peel extremely well before use. You should consider getting a very good fruit or vegetable scrub. If fresh orange peel is not available, you can use dried orange peel powder.
Caution: Some people do form allergic reactions (such as dermatitis) toward citrus peel.
12. Fire In The Hole!
Yummy pineapples. Throw them into your mouth to bombard the nasty bacteria.
This grenade looking, sweet and sour fruit is often known for making savory pineapple fried rice and breeding enzymes (just add honey and let nature does it work).
In addition, it is also great for teeth whitening.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is a natural stain remover which is often used in many stain-removing toothpaste.
It helps separate plaque from the surface of your teeth, preventing tooth erosion and discourages cavities from forming. It has also anti-inflammatory attributes which help to reduce gingivitis.
13. Repel Vampires with Onion And Garlic
Other than scaring vampires away, onion and garlic can help you blind them with light reflection of your teeth.
While both are not the best thing for your breath, onion and garlic contains bacteria-reducing compounds called thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates which help to promote healthier teeth.
They help promote healthier teeth by reducing the production of plaque(We consider this as teethpire). Being colorless, these foods doesn’t stain teeth.
Tips: If you are like me who loves cooking, just add them to stir fried vegetables. Pan-fried onion and garlic smell heavenly. Else include them in your salad for easier consumption.
14. Eat Lots of Love
Do you know that Catherine Zeta Jones whitens her teeth with strawberries?
These red little cuties are rich in Vitamin C which can help break down and washes away the yellowish plaque.
They also contain malic acid which may help to remove stains from your teeth. Often times, teeth whitening products will use malic acid as an ingredient.
Going for the full shot, strawberries contain ellagitannins and antioxidants that can help pauperize stain-inducing bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.
- Mash this delicious fruit and mix in baking soda until blended
- Spread the paste onto your teeth and leave them on for 3-5 minutes for best effect
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly to flush out the malic acid
- Floss out any stray strawberry seeds that gets caught between your teeth
- Wait for 30 minutes for your enamel to harden and brush thoroughly with toothpaste (This helps to remove the natural sugar and residue).
Caution: Limit this to at most once at week as baking soda is abrasive and too much malic acid can erode the enamel.
15. Eat Those Umbrella Tops
Shiitake mushrooms have becoming increasingly popular as a staple replacement especially to those who want to cut down on meat.
Other than low on fat and high in protein, this yummy fungi is filled with lentinan, a type of natural sugar that helps to prevent tooth decay.
According to the Paediatric Caries Research Foundation, lentinan has a strong antimicrobial property that specifically targets the type of bacteria that cause cavities. This inhibits the growth of plaque-building bacteria that cause tooth decay and discoloration.
In addition, shiitake mushroom contains chlorhexidine which has an inhibitory effect on the decaying process of the teeth, significantly decreasing dentin mineral loss.
16. Go Deep With Seaweed
Seaweed is not known as superfood for nothing. Other than packing a massive amount of nutrients which is beneficial to your blood, fight cancer and help weight loss, it also contains 10 times more calcium than milk and 8 times more than beef!
How’s that as a holy grail for teeth.
In the UK, studies conducted by scientists of Newcastle University showed that enzymes in seaweed actually cut through plaque and remove bacteria in it to prevent the build-up of plaque.
This is a big thing as scrubbing away the plaque using traditional toothbrush does not always work.
The research was led by Professor Burgess who said, “If we can contain it within a toothpaste we would be creating a product which could prevent tooth decay.”
Start incorporating this hair-like-delicious-planty into your daily meal and keep your dentist away. We at Mouthdiary love to add seaweeds in our noodle soup and porridge to enhance the flavor. And of course not to forget having some fun laughing at each other seaweed’s smile. ^_^
Caution: Avoid seaweeds that are sold in supermarket as snacks as they are usually high in salt content and MSG.
17. Green Tea-ly Sensation
Green tea is undisputed-ly one of the healthiest beverage on our planet. It lowers cholesterol and diabetes risk, increase fat burning rate, boost metabolism and improve brain function.
To top up the goodies, green tea contains catechins (also called condensed tannins) which prevent staining because they fight bacteria, acid and even glucosyltransferase—an enzyme that enables dental plaque to stick to your teeth like barnacles to a coral reef. Less sticking also means less bad breath.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology, discovered that routine intake of green tea promotes healthy teeth and gums. The study analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men, and found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea.
Tips: If you want to reduce the amount of fluoride in your water, you can put tea leaves in as they absorb fluoride.
Caution: Catchins in green tea only works if you drink unsweetened tea. Say no to the ‘green tea drinks’ which you found bottled up in supermarket. The only ones which is beneficial to both your health are the ones that either come in tea bags or packed in papers. Also go for green ones than black ones like Oolong tea as black tea contains less catechins and is high in caffeine.
18. Fishy Fishy
Wild salmon is extremely tasty when made into sushi and sashimi. This ocean fish is loaded with protein, Omega 3 fatty acid (both DHA and EPA), vitamins and minerals.
The health benefits of salmon include proper cardiovascular health, correct muscle and tissue development, boosted eye health, and efficient body metabolism.
How about its work in the dental faculty? The vitamin D found in salmon helps our body absorb calcium and phosphorus, nutrients that strengthen your teeth and contribute to a beautiful smile.
Caution: If you can, choose wild salmon instead of farm raised ones as they have less pesticide and fungicide residues. They are also higher in nutrients due to the food they eat.
19. Brush With Roots!
Looking to replace that synthetic toothbrush of yours?
Consider using licorice roots instead.
This plant has been a staple for Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedy and it is also used in Africa for teeth whitening and cleaning.
Best of all, it actually has a nice natural ‘sweet’ taste to it! Do you know that it was once the main ingredient to make liquorice candy. But nowadays, most of such candies don’t contain licorice anymore due to its cost. It is now replaced by anise oil which has similar taste.
In a recent study by ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, they say licorice roots could have a role in treating and preventing tooth decay and gum disease since it can help to kill the major bacteria which is responsible for cavities and tooth decay.
Licorice roots contains licoricidin and licorisoflavan A which are found extremely useful in reducing all three types of bacterias that are responsible for tooth decay. They also contain other compounds which are helpful in preventing periodontitis, an inflammatory disease that can wreck the soft issues and bones that maintain your teeth.
- Select a root that is about the size of a toothbrush
- Chew on one end light until the outer bark becomes loose and discard the bark
- Continue chewing till the root fibers becomes loose and resemble a brush
- Rub the root fibers over each teeth gently and don’t forget the gum line
- Rinse your mouth with water after brushing
- Cut off the part that is being used and repeat the steps next time round.
Caution: People with high blood pressure should be monitored regularly as licorice can lead to increase in high blood pressure when taken in large amount (unlikely since you are not eating it but better to be safe).
Natural ways of teeth whitening are definitely less invasive than the ones you from get over the counter or getting your teeth whiten by a dentist. Even though, they may not be as fast in seeing result, it is better for us in the long run.
Here comes the end of our 19 natural ways to whiten teeth at home. Do you happen to any other ways of natural teeth whitening and wishes to share with us? Write in to us or put it in the comment! We will love to know more.