There is much debate in dentistry over the effects of teeth whiteners. You see pastes, creams, gels, and stripes on the shelves; each one guaranteeing a brighter smile and whiter teeth. In the natural community, you hear about fruits, pastes, antiseptics, and cleaners to help whiten your teeth. Let’s explore some natural teeth whitening methods to brighten your smile and some pitfalls that you should look out for.
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
This is the most popular and readily used natural remedy for whitening your teeth. The recipe calls for just enough baking soda mixed with peroxide to make a paste. The paste needs to be a little runnier than toothpaste though. According to an article from Colgate about natural oral care, the paste does not need to be gritty. Too much grit can erode away the protective enamel on your teeth, exposing the dentin beneath to staining and damage. They also warn about using the whitening paste too much, as the acidity can slowly break down the enamel as well. Also be certain to rinse your mouth out with plenty of water after brushing with this combination. Although in small amounts, hydrogen peroxide is not damaging, if left on your teeth or in your mouth, the acidity can wear down your teeth.
Orange and Lemon Peels and Apple Cider Vinegar
An interesting part of citrus fruits is that the juices are quite acidic and should be washed from the mouth fairly quickly. The peels, on the other hand, can be used to whiten the teeth. Rubbing the white pithy part of the peel helps to remove stains from your teeth. Washing your mouth with apple cider vinegar is also said to help remove stains from your mouth. You can apply it directly with a toothbrush and then rinse your mouth, or create a mouthwash with 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. But the American Dental Association warns against prolonged exposure to acids and acidic foods. They recommend that you rinse with water after eating acidic foods and try to avoid prolonged exposure, so only use these methods a few times a month.
It would seem counterintuitive to include a yellow spice known for its ability to dye fabrics as a natural teeth whitener, but because it is antimicrobial, it works effectively as both a whitening toothpaste or mouthwash. According to a scientific study about the effects of turmeric on the body, especially the teeth, they found that turmeric provided relief from gingivitis as well as periodontitis. Turmeric cleans the gums as well as the teeth so that plaque does not build up. When plaque hardens, it becomes tartar which has a yellowing effect on your teeth. Turmeric helps to stop the bacteria in your mouth that create the plaque and thereby stopping the stain creating tartar from being created.
As with all whitening remedies, use in moderation and pay attention to your mouth. Teeth sensitivities, as well as receding gums, are signs that you may be overdoing your whitening efforts. As always, see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups, and be certain to brush and floss twice daily.