Who doesn't want a brighter smile? The sad thing is, even if you have impeccable dental hygiene, those coffee stains and tooth discolouration might easily take the shine off your pearly whites. If you are not ready to spend a fortune on an in-office procedure yet or are scared of developing temporary tooth sensitivity, you will probably want to check how to whiten teeth naturally first.
In this post, we have accumulated a few of the most popular options. Have a look at them to get acquainted with the treatment methods. We don’t promise they will work wonders but it doesn’t hurt to give them a go.
Determining Teeth Colour and Shade
Before we let you in on the various teeth whitening techniques, how do you find out the level of tooth discolouration that you have? Everybody is born with a natural teeth colour of their own. As a matter of fact, there are around 29 different shades. Sometimes a comprehensive oral care routine is not enough to keep your pearly whites bright.
Dentists have come up with a shade guide that helps to determine where on the range you fall. Not only does this help with making fillings and porcelain veneers (dental veneers) that match the patient’s tooth colour, but you can use it for reference when whitening your teeth. This way you can track down the transformation of your white smile.
According to this guide, the whitest shade is marked as B1 and the darkest reads C4. Discoloured teeth happen for various reasons. There are both internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic) factors that cause stains on teeth and overall tooth discolouration. It is not possible to achieve the lightest shade with natural methods. You need to have a professional treatment for this or obtain a take-home teeth whitening kit from your dentist. But keep in mind that even if you go for the lightest shade, there are still going to be some yellow bits here and there. Recently, there have been developments and computer-matching of tooth colour using complex algorithms have shown to produce more consistent results than manual colour matching <fn>https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165317/</fn>.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
- Lack of saliva or chronic dry mouth
- Using tobacco products
- Consuming a lot of sugary foods and simple carbohydrates
- Mouth trauma
- Poor oral hygiene and lack of dental care
- Excessive consumption of fluoride (present in tap water)
- Stomach acid travelling up the oesophagus and into the mouth can lead to tooth enamel erosion and cause yellowing
Natural Teeth Whitening Methods
Let’s move on to the actual teeth whiteners you can use at home. Some of them have been sitting in your kitchen cabinet for years.
Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda) to Eliminate Tooth Stains and Get a Whiter Smile
Commercial toothpaste products often have baking soda on the ingredient list because of its natural teeth whitening properties 1. It also has the ability to absorb bad odours and scrub stains from the teeth surface thanks to its abrasive texture. Some people brush with baking soda to whiten their teeth.
Of course, it has to be said that this is a long-term process that doesn’t always produce the desired results. In fact, if you notice any difference, it will be a small one. The sole application of baking soda is less effective than the use of commercial whitening products containing baking soda.
To use it yourself, simply make a concoction of two parts water and one part baking soda. Put it on your toothbrush and wash like you normally do. You can do this once or twice a week but be careful not to take it too far.
Although there are a few studies on the teeth whitening properties of baking soda 2, they are not definitive. Science still hasn’t found enough evidence to support this thesis.
Fruit and Vegetables for White Teeth and a Bright Smile
Foods that naturally whiten teeth include lemons, lemon juice, lemon peels and other acidic foods; most citrus fruits; strawberries; pineapples; yoghurt, milk, cheese; broccoli, and cauliflower. A combo of baking soda mixture and strawberries can produce even better results. It appears that these yummy red fruits contain malic acid which is claimed to eliminate tooth discolouration.
Chewing crunchy fruits after meals helps to keep your teeth clean and free of food debris. Generally speaking, raw fruits and veggies with higher water content are great for your teeth. However, you should avoid blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, and blackberries. Even though they are healthy foods, they can work the other around and cause stains instead.
How exactly do fruit peels work? You have to rub them against your teeth. Take for instance bananas. Use the inside of the fruit peels as you strip them off the flesh to get the job done. Simply run it across the teeth for a few minutes.
Hydrogen Peroxide to Eliminate Teeth Stains and Obtain Whiter Teeth
Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known substance given its wide use as a household disinfectant, natural bleaching agent, and hair lightener, among other things. What we want to explore is another important function of the chemical - namely, its ability to kill bacteria in the mouth and whiten the teeth.
It’s no secret that take-home teeth whitening kits and in-office treatments opt for a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide in a controlled environment and under the strict guidance of a trained specialist. Dentists follow a special protocol, that is, and every step of the process is monitored to avoid unwanted complications and side effects.
Other than that, a lot of commercial whitening products have hydrogen peroxide on the label but if you check it out, you’ll see it’s at a lower concentration, which makes it safe to use by anyone.
However, some people like to try plain hydrogen peroxide at home. If you are willing to go this route, there are a few things you should know. First, since you don’t have the skills and knowledge that dentists acquire over so many years of study and practice, you should stick with a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Some bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide, especially if used incorrectly, can damage the protein-rich dentin tissue which us under the enamel 3.
More often than not, drugstores sell a 3% solution, which will do the job. But if you want to play it safe, you can lower it to 1.5% by simply adding equal parts water to it. Next up, apply it on your teeth and let it sit for 5 minutes or brush with your toothbrush.
Another way to go is to mix 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to form a paste. Then, apply it to your teeth and brush like you normally do. This will eliminate plaque buildup and make your teeth appear whiter. A word of caution: it’s easy to go overboard, so to avoid damaging your teeth enamel, don’t use the baking soda mixture more than once or twice a week. The same applies to hydrogen peroxide used alone.
And if you are scared you may mess this up, your safe bet is to buy commercial toothpaste that contains hydrogen peroxide. You can never go wrong with it. Long-term use of hydrogen peroxide without the supervision of a professional could cause sensitivity.
Oil Pulling as an Added Bonus to Your Dental Care
Coconut oil is at an advantage over other DIY whitening methods because it won’t expose the teeth to acid that may cause permanent damage to the tooth enamel and tooth structure, tooth erosion, or other tissue damage for that matter. Supporters of this method claim it removes plaque buildup and improves your oral hygiene routine immensely. In addition to improving dental health, it also has numerous health benefits.
How does it work? Keep the coconut oil at room temperature so it liquefies. Take a spoonful or two of it in your mouth and swish it around. Let it work for anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour and then spit it out.
Although oil pulling once or twice a week is believed to help reduce plaque formation, there is no scientific evidence on the question of whether it can actually whiten the teeth. But it will definitely have a positive effect on the teeth.
Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
Brushing your teeth with charcoal powder is said to help whiten the teeth due to its toxin-absorbent properties. However, there is no scientific evidence about that yet, so don’t get your hopes too high. There is a multitude of toothpaste products on the market that contain activated charcoal in case you want to give them a try.
Note: Nothing beats professional cleanings and in-office teeth whitening, even though some of these may increase your risk of tooth sensitivity. Regular cleanings can have a tremendous impact on your oral health and also help you get whiter teeth. Even take-home teeth whitening kits obtained from a dentist are a better option because they are custom-made to fit your tooth structure.
Questions & Answers
Is natural teeth whitening safe for pregnancy?
It depends on the natural teeth whitening methods you go for. Foods, baking soda, and oil pulling are absolutely okay to use and there is no harm in employing fluoride toothpaste either. However, if you plan on brushing with hydrogen peroxide, it’s best to run it by your doctor first just to be on the safe side. You want the best start for your offspring, so don’t take any chances here.
You should know that as pregnancy hormones change during that special time in your life, blood flow increases to all parts of the body, which can make your gums vulnerable to swelling and bleeding 4. Do not perform any treatments by yourself. Not to mention, pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease) due to plaque formation is an actual thing. Instead of worrying about the colour of your teeth, think about gum health. Practice good oral care and don’t skip your dental appointments during pregnancy and after that.
Any guidance on how to whiten sensitive teeth naturally?
The best way to go is to buy over-the-counter products that are designed for sensitive teeth. They will usually say that on the bottle.
What gets rid of nicotine stains?
To reduce the incidence of stained teeth resulting from tobacco products, try to brush your teeth or use a mouthwash after smoking. If possible, forget about cigarettes altogether. This will also improve your overall health.
What whitens teeth naturally and fast?
There is no magical ingredient that will turn discoloured teeth into pearly whites overnight. No matter which method you choose, you will have to devote to it for an extended period of time before you see any results. If you want an immediate outcome, you should go for porcelain veneers or professional dental bleaching.
What are some tips to prevent teeth stains without using a take-home teeth whitening kit or natural remedies?
To keep your natural teeth colour, make certain to brush your pearly whites after having a stain-causing food, sugary foods, or sticky foods. This way, they won’t get the chance to sit too long on your teeth and feed the naturally existing bacteria. If you can’t do this, at least rinse your mouth with water to remove some of the debris and reduce the levels of acidity.
Your best move would be to cut down on fast foods and white sugar, as they can stain your teeth over time. And after brushing your teeth, you could also rinse your mouth with oil for a couple of minutes. Common foods and drinks that stain the teeth are certain juices, dark sodas, black tea, and coffee. Although you don’t need to discontinue their use, you should limit consuming them. Last but not least, make sure you follow a good oral care routine for a healthy mouth.