Natural Teeth WhiteningWritten by RJ on January 9th, 2009
Natural teeth whitening can be an effective way to brighten your smile. Most remedies call for a concoction of everyday kitchen ingredients and can be applied quickly and simply. The effects are usually not as drastic as home teeth whitening kits or dentist teeth whitening treatments, which use a highly condensed dose of whitening agents , but when applied in combination they can be a good way to maintain beautiful white teeth.
Developing solid dental hygiene habits is the most effective natural teeth whitening treatment. Regular brushing and flossing coupled with avoiding or limiting certain foods and drinks that are known to stain are the best ways to keep your teeth bright. These habits are usually the safest as well.
Unfortunately, some remedies were developed before medical science was able to properly determine their level of safety and success. Because of this, it’s important to remember that natural teeth whitening recipes should be researched carefully and that you should consult your dentist prior to participating in any teeth whitening treatments. Some home remedies can be harmful to your teeth and cause permanent damage.
The Best (and Worst) Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies
Of the dozens of natural teeth whitening remedies, only a few actually work well enough to use. Of those that work, many can harm your teeth if used consistently. If you’re considering using natural teeth whitening techniques, continue reading to discover your best and safest options.
Lemon Juice & Lemon Peels
The treatment is applied by rubbing the lemon peels across the teeth or by brushing them with lemon juice. Using lemons to whiten teeth will work, however it can be an extremely harmful method. The active whitening ingredient in lemons is citric acid, which will destroy the calcium in your teeth causing them to become weak. This weakening can lead to tooth decay and permanent damage to your tooth enamel. So, although you will see some improvement, using lemon juice to whiten your teeth is NOT a good idea, and should be avoided.
This remedy calls for the ash to be brushed on the teeth regularly. Hardwood ash contains highly concentrated amounts of potassium hydroxide, or lye, which can damage tooth enamel over time. Like lemon juice, this method will make your teeth appear whiter, but not in a way that is good for your teeth. This method isn’t recommended, which is a good thing because preparing it every day would be a terrible burden, and it must taste awful.
Brushing your teeth with a mashed strawberry paste sounds like a good idea. And it may even taste like one. Though not as much, strawberries contain acid just like lemons. Brushing the strawberries on your teeth puts them in direct contact with a harmful amount of calcium robbing acid. Another thing to be concerned with when using strawberries to whiten is the seeds. If you brush too hard they are likely to harm your gums or tooth enamel. And even if you brush gently, there’s a good chance one or many of them will get stuck between your teeth. Then, if you don’t follow up with floss, the seeds can cause tooth decay or even gingivitis, which creates even more dental problems. Your best bet is to let strawberries stick to what they’re best at – shortcake.
Most gums that claim to whiten teeth aren’t very effective. They do contain baking soda, which is discussed below, but normally not enough to whiten teeth on its own. Whitening gums can be a helpful compliment to other whitening treatments, though, by prolonging the results the other treatment achieved. Perhaps the most beneficial effect whitening gum has on your teeth is its ability to act as a temporary, away-from-home floss. If you’re unable to brush, chewing a piece of whitening gum after lunch will help pull food away from your teeth and gums. Of course this trick should never replace proper oral hygiene, and it shouldn’t be done with anything but sugarless gum. Anything else would be counterproductive.
Brushing with baking soda is one of the oldest and most effective natural tooth whitening remedies. It successfully removes stains and kills bacteria in the mouth making your teeth whiter and healthier. It’s possible that baking soda can irritate your gums. If you find this to be the case, try mixing it with salt and brush gently. Many types of toothpaste come with baking soda added – you may want to try one of them as well. This method is pretty successful and among the safest. It is worth trying.
This method calls for gargling of hydrogen peroxide (yes, the kind you’ll find in your medicine cabinet) as a way to whiten your teeth. It may work, but you may notice some tooth and gum sensitivity. Even though you may experience some discomfort, whitening with peroxide is safe as long as you don’t swallow it. The concentration of peroxide found in hydrogen peroxide is much lower than the over-the-counter whiteners, so you should be prepared for less drastic results. Peroxide may be a good idea to try once in a while, maybe for a special day or event, just to add that little bit of extra whitening, but it’s probably not strong enough to be used as a primary treatment.
Baking Soda & Peroxide Paste
Perhaps the most effective natural teeth whitener, this formula is a time-tested remedy that works. The ingredients are commonly found in most homes and are not harmful if used properly. This means you should use it in moderation (no more than once a week) and you should not ingest the paste. The paste is made by combining approximately equal parts (2-3 teaspoons) of both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a bowl. Mix them together until they reach a consistency similar to tooth paste. Once you’ve reached a texture you’re satisfied with brush your teeth with it, leaving it on for a couple minutes at least. Next, rinse your mouth, spitting out the paste and re-brush with regular tooth paste. And that’s it! If you’re planning whiten your teeth at home, without purchasing a teeth whitening kit, this combination is your best bet. In fact, you can probably find a tooth paste brand that sells a product with these ingredients.
Natural Teeth Whitening Recap
Using natural teeth whitening techniques can work wonderfully if done properly. As stated above, the most effective and safest ingredients are baking soda and peroxide. Treatments should be limited to these ingredients to protect the health of your teeth and gums. Remember, the best way keep your teeth and gums healthy is to practice solid oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. Avoiding staining foods, drinks and habits can also keep your teeth cavity free and naturally white.