5 Ways To Make Your Teeth Whiter Naturally
by Laura Hobbs
Everyone looks more attractive when they smile, but some people are ashamed to show their teeth due to discoloration.
The tannins in these drinks can stain teeth, leaving them looking dull.
Smoking also discolors teeth, staining them an ugly yellow color.
Cutting down on these common culprits will make a big difference to the color of your teeth, but you can get a quicker fix by using these five natural remedies for discolored teeth.
1. Strawberry Pulp
Strawberries contain malic acid, an organic compound that reacts with food or drink stains on your teeth and strips them away. You can whiten your teeth at home by mashing strawberries into a pulp with a little baking soda and applying the mixture to your teeth using a soft toothbrush.
Leave the strawberry mush on your teeth for a few minutes, so that the malic acid has enough time to work on the most deeply ingrained stains, and then wash it away with water.
You may need to use dental floss to work out any strawberry seeds from between your teeth, but the final result should be well worth the effort.
2. Lemon Wedge
You can get a pearly white smile by sucking on a wedge of lemon or lime. This treatment works because the citrus acid naturally contained within the flesh of the fruit etches away the stains on your teeth.
Simply cut a mouth-shaped wedge from your lime or lemon and bite down on it with your front teeth, so that you can see the skin of the fruit between your parted lips. After keeping the wedge in place for a few minutes, you may notice that your teeth are whiter.
After using this treatment, it is essential to rinse your mouth with water and baking soda to neutralize the acid: a short exposure to citric acid will give your teeth a deep clean, but if you leave them in contact for too long, then the acid could start to dissolve away the enamel of the teeth, which is bad news for your dental health.
Citric acid is a completely natural substance, but it should nevertheless be used with caution.
3. Banana Peel
Potassium is a mineral that is found naturally in teeth and which helps to give them their pearly white appearance. Toothpaste manufacturers are beginning to recognize the dental health benefits of potassium, with leading manufacturer Colgate now adding potassium nitrate to its line of whitening toothpastes for people with sensitive teeth.
However, you don’t need to buy specialist toothpastes to get the benefits of potassium ions, as they can be inexpensively found in nature. You can deliver a concentrated burst of potassium into your teeth by rubbing them with a piece of banana peel.
Bananas are one of the best natural sources of potassium ions, and unlike other fruits they contain very little acid, which makes them a gentle and safe tool for whitening your teeth. You can apply the banana peel treatment every day, as well as enjoying bananas as teeth-friendly on-the-go snacks.
Toothpaste manufacturers use volcanic ash, also known as tephra, in some whitening toothpastes. Although you’re unlikely to have a volcano in your back yard, you can get the same whitening effect by using wood ash.
This remedy might not sound as appetizing as some of the others mentioned in this list, but it works on the same principle as the banana peel method.
Wood ash contains a lot of potassium in the form of potassium hydroxide, a natural tooth-whitener, and hardwood ash is a particularly good source of this compound.
Take some wood ash from your fireplace and mix it with a little water to form a paste, which you can then use to brush your teeth. If the flavor is enough to make you gag, try adding a small amount of peppermint oil to make your own cheap and natural whitening toothpaste.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very popular among health-conscious people due to its possible metabolism-boosting effect, which is believed to promote weight loss. But did you know that it can also be used to whiten your teeth?
Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, citric acid, and lactic acid, which work together to scrub stubborn stains from your teeth, leaving them feeling squeaky clean and looking dazzlingly white.
Use apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash twice a day to strip away staining chemicals from your mouth. Because of the high acid content of apple cider vinegar, it is important that you follow this treatment by rinsing with water and baking soda, as prolonged contact with acidic substances can have a corrosive effect on tooth enamel.
(This post is contributed by Laura Hobbs from Glebe Dental Group. Laura is a cosmetic dental technician who researches and studies alternative, natural health remedies in her spare time.)
Study on the dental health benefits of potassium: Efficacy of a dentifrice containing potassium nitrate, soluble pyrophosphate, PVM/MA copolymer, and sodium fluoride on dentinal hypersensitivity: a twelve-week clinical study, by Schiff T, Dotson M, Cohen S, De Vizio W, McCool J, Volpe A, published in J Clin Dent. 1994;5 Spec No:87-92. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8534380