3 Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth at Home

teeth whiteningWhiter teeth, like thick, shiny, hair, is something that many people in our cosmetically driven world desire today. In fact, Americans spend over $1.4 billion dollars in over-the-counter teeth whitening products every year-that’s a good chunk of money just to achieve a different shade of teeth. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve tried OTC teeth whitener-I even paid to have my dentist do it once. It worked for a bit, but my teeth got so sensitive I couldn’t stand it. I also felt I really didn’t need to be so obsessed with the color of my teeth that I paid a bunch of money for a bunch of who-knows-what that made my teeth hurt, so I started looking into more natural alternatives. With a bit of patience, I think you can naturally restore whiteness to your teeth. They may not get to be scary sear-out-somebodies-corneas –when-you –smile white, but they’ll appear more like you took good care of your pretty pearly whites rather than just bleaching them like crazy.

3 Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth at Home- without using harsh chemicals.

Why do teeth get yellow?

To figure out how to whiten our teeth, we have to know why they get yellow in the first place. There are several factors that play a part, including genetics, what kind of food and drink you consume, and how well you practice oral hygiene. A tooth is made up of 4 tissues-enamel, which is the strong white covering that protects the tooth, dentin, which supports the enamel and is a hard yellow material that carries nerves, pulp, which is at the center of the tooth and contains blood and lymph vessels, and cementum, which covers the root of the tooth.

The enamel and dentin is what play the biggest role in color. Certain food and drinks will directly stain the enamel, yes, but over time the two biggest culprits are the nasty food and drink that actually break down the enamel, and weakening enamel as we age. As the enamel breaks down, it reveals the yellow dentin underneath. These remedies will focus on whitening teeth that have already lost some white enamel, but it’s also good to keep in mind that doing things to strengthen enamel is just as important so you can keep it from breaking down further. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or whitening!)


1. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice Paste

Baking Soda isn’t a shocker here. Sodium bicarbonate (its official name) is mildly abrasive; gently scrubbing away surface stains to return teeth to a whiter shade. It’s also very alkaline (the opposite of acidic) so I would think if you have a very acidic mouth or eat a lot of acidic food, it could help balance out the Ph, which would be useful as acid breaks down enamel-this is strictly speculation on my part. It will also reduce the acidity of the lemon juice, which acts as a natural bleach of sorts. I use a mixture of baking soda and water on some days, and use the lemon juice on others, as I don’t want to overdo it.

You will need…

-Several teaspoons of baking soda
-Enough lemon juice or water to form a paste
-A toothbrush

Directions

Mix several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice (or water) to make a paste. Wipe your teeth and any extra saliva off of them with a paper towel. Put a good amount of paste onto your toothbrush and apply. Leave the paste on for 1 minute, then rinse, so as to avoid the acid effecting enamel. If you are using just water you can leave it on for up to 3 minutes.

baking soda paste for teeth

brushing teeth with baking soda

2. Strawberry, Salt and Baking Soda Scrub

Strawberries are high in Vitamin C, which can help break-down plaque that is causing your teeth to look yellow. It also has an enzyme called malic acid, which may help to remove surface stains. The salt acts as an abrasive portion of the paste, physically scrubbing away stain-causing gunk, and the baking soda is an extra touch that you can choose to leave out if you’d prefer (I just like to add it to anything involving my teeth.)

You will need…

-1-3 large strawberries
-A pinch of seat salt
-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (optional)

Directions

Mash the berries into a pulp, and add a pinch of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of baking soda, if you’re using it. Wipe any extra saliva off your teeth with a paper towel, and then apply a generous portion of the mixture to a toothbrush and apply. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then rinse. Do this nightly.

strawberry tooth paste

using strawberry to whiten teeth

3. Coconut Oil Rinse

I know this sounds absolutely mad (I thought it was crazy too when I first read about it) but rinsing your mouth with coconut oil (called ‘oil pulling’) is a unique, old, remedy that people swear by to help whiten teeth. It doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing in the world, but I actually don’t mind the taste, and I think it does make a difference in the color of your teeth. It won’t make a difference by “bleaching” per say, but lauric acid in coconut oil can rid your teeth of bacteria found in plaque that can make them yellow. It is also supposed to promote gum health, and help keep your breath fresh.

You will need…

-About a tablespoon of coconut oil

Directions

In the morning, before you brush your teeth, scoop out a tablespoon or a little less (depending on the size of your mouth) of coconut oil. You can either soften it, or just put it in your mouth (I usually do the latter, and just let it soften.) Push, swish, and “pull” the oil through and around your teeth for 10-15 minutes, then spit it out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth.

oil pulling teeth

coconut oil pulling

Note: You can use either of the pastes after you have brushed your teeth at night if you prefer.

Are these remedies going to guarantee ridiculously white teeth within a week? No. You may start to see a difference, but it won’t be as instant as the commercial products. In the end, will your teeth be so white people squint when you open your mouth? No. And I like it better that way. I’ve found that since using these my teeth are indeed whiter, my mouth overall feels healthier and it doesn’t look like I bleached the life out of myself. We live in a world where photo-shopped faces (and teeth) and make-up covered celebrities set the standard for how we look, which makes life hard for people who like, well, real people. As a result we seem to forget what’s good for ourselves, and spend a ton of money just to look like the ideal. By going natural here, you can save the money for something else, feel better about yourself, and have a healthier mouth (and health is what, in the end, creates real beauty.)


Tips:

- Routine. Set up a routine using these remedies and stick to it, at all costs, to get the most out of them.

- While not “natural” per say, using 3% (I repeat, 3%) hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse can whiten your teeth through the process of oxidation. It is an active indigent in many OTC whitening kits, but is often times found in much higher (and expensive) combinations in them.

- It’s fairly common knowledge, and difficult in today’s world, but try to avoid dark drinks, such as coke and coffee that stain your teeth.

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By Claire Goodall

Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→

         

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We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:

29 Comments

  1. diane langford says:

    all sound good. only thing is don’t spit the coconut oil in the sink, because it hardens under 76 or 77 degrees and will clog the sink.

  2. Theresa Fatherree says:

    I have been using a solution of equal amounts of toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide & baking soda as a tooth whitener. I’m going to try your strawberry concoction. Thanks.

  3. Vicky says:

    An alternative to coconut oil is Neem toothpaste and mouthwash..Neem is a natural product that has antibacterial , antimicrobial properties.. It leaves your mouth feeling super clean and fresh…

    • viki says:

      the problem with neem toothpastes are its herbal ingredients can actually do more damage that good so just be careful since it can cause harsh abrasion!

  4. Becky says:

    I grew up using Crest with fluoride, brushing within 5 minutes after finishing a meal… (I’ve only ever had three cavities, one of which the dentist gave me when he jabbed his pick into a molar.) After about 30-35 years my teeth began to get really sensitive, so I switched to the various sensitive toothpastes, again with fluoride. About two years ago (I’m almost 59 now), I began reading about fluoride’s effects on teeth and the body, including how FLUORIDE STAINS TEETH YELLOW/BROWN. So I switched to Tom’s no-fluoride toothpaste. I don’t know if it’s just wishful thinking, or an actuality, but I believe my teeth are getting whiter – and I still drink a quart of hot regular black tea (4 teabags’ worth in a Mason jar) every morning! There’s natural fluoride in the tea, but cutting out the fluoride toothpaste has made a world of difference AND my teeth aren’t sensitive anymore, either! I think the sensitivity was also brought on by all that fluoride! Any time I tried to switch off the sensitive pastes to a regular toothpaste, or even between brands of the sensitive types, the inner lining of my mouth would slough off in sheets (as in peeling skin after a bad sunburn), my teeth would just throb, and I’d go back to the sensitive paste. When I went to the Tom’s, my mouth lining was fine, my teeth never hurt, and they seem to be getting whiter! HOORAY!!!

    The only thing I don’t particularly care for with Tom’s is that they add XYLITOL to it, which is deadly to dogs if they somehow get hold of it. I just have to make sure our new cat doesn’t get stupid, steal the toothpaste off the bathroom counter and leave it where my dachshunds can find it! She hasn’t shown any homicidal tendencies yet, but with a cat, one never knows………. ;-)

    • Nadine says:

      Maybe the problem was the “within 5 minutes after meals”. Whenever you eat something acidic, like an apple, the enamel is very sensitive at first and easier to be brushed off. Do it often enough and this practice weakens the teeth.

  5. Heather says:

    Yes, after using the coconut oil, spit it in a trash can! If you use the sink, it will harden immediately on the cool pipes.

    That said, all of these ideas are terrific! I brush my teeth with a homemade paste (coconut oil, baking soda, essential oil) and they are very pearly white and clean, so I can attest to the power of these ingredients.

    • Delph says:

      Hello
      I m thinking of doing my own tooth paste, any recommendation of which essential oil to use. ALso, where and how long can you store it? Thank you :)

  6. Deedee says:

    I’ve done the oil pulling before. From what I understand it’s a great way to pull toxins out of the body. I didn’t know it could help brighten your teeth though. I’ll start doing it again.

  7. KO says:

    When you oil pull with coconut oil you are creating an emulsion with your saliva and oil, it dilutes the oil and it could never cause problems with your plumbing if you spit it in the sink

  8. ssk says:

    thanks it was helpful I loved it.

  9. umidorland says:

    I just used did it with the coconut oil for the first time, I wonder where this will go in 3 weeks or so. I have say, my mouth feels cleaner after rinsing it with oil and then brushing my teeth over it. It’s wonderful! :D

  10. Kamille says:

    Can you use the coconut oil that is the liquid form or does if have to be the solid kind?

  11. Aliysha Khan says:

    Thnx really worked

  12. fernando says:

    what happens if I mix the 3? will it be more effective?

  13. Tyra says:

    Are these effective? Coconut oil? I’m just curious. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Jeanette says:

    I’m DEFINITELY going to start using the coconut oil! Yet I don’t know if it will work. *~*

  15. LEEZY says:

    I have heard and read alot about sodium bicarbonate possitive effects on teeth and i am currently carry on with mine

  16. Hehe says:

    You can use perioxide to rinse your mouth
    Whitening products just have a higher percentage of peri oxide
    3% vs 6%

  17. Carmen says:

    Thank you for these great tips! I only knew baking soda and lemon juice extract, now I can also try the strawberry. I have a yellow teeth since I was a child, I already asked my dentist about it and she said that it’s okay because it only means that my teeth has a lot of calcium in it and that it is because of the genes.

  18. Terri says:

    In the instructions for using coconut oil it says to swish for 10-15 minutes—is this perhaps a mistake and should say 10-15 seconds?

    • susan says:

      It’s not a misprint…it is 10-15 minutes!

    • Alisa says:

      Terri, it really is 10 to 15 minutes. During that time, your mouth will get fuller and fuller as more of your natural saliva is generated and added to the oil already in your mouth – by the end of the oil pulling session, you will have twice as much in your mouth as the tablespoon you start with, and this can be hard at first. I had to work up to that tablespoon to be able to keep it in my mouth for 10 minutes; I started with about a half tablespoon.

  19. Nadeen says:

    Thanks ill try it , I think it will work

  20. Lee says:

    Does soda really work?
    I have a wedding and can’t afford to get teeth cleaned at mo..
    I’m worried white areas will go bright white and it will look worse than b4.!!
    Has anyone tried?

  21. Jennifer @ GrowingUpTriplets.com says:

    Thanks for this list! I’ve never heard of the strawberry paste! Sounds yummy! :)

  22. Julia & Elena says:

    Thanks! I tried the lemon and baking soda! It worked over 1 week! Thanks!

  23. Jarjeena says:

    I’m so gonna try it. Thanks a lot.

  24. hihihi says:

    What if I have braces?

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