Since our teeth yellow as we age, teeth whitening can instantly make you look younger. There are an abundance of commercial teeth whitening products available in drugstores and in dentist offices (including ours). But when we started hearing about natural treatments to whiten teeth, naturally we were interested. Are natural options as effective as commercial products? We dug around to find out.
It might not make sense to rub black stuff on your teeth to make them whiter, but that’s the claim. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated and purified. It absorbs impurities like tannins, which are the main substances that stain teeth. A few years ago, activated charcoal was a popular ingredient in toothpastes, but the black color was disconcerting for consumers.
To use, mix equal parts charcoal and water to create a black paste. Coat your teeth and let it sit for a few minutes. According to our research, you will probably notice a slightly whiter smile.
This teeth whitening method is more palatable to most people. Strawberries contain malic acid, which is a natural tooth whitener. You can make your own strawberry toothpaste, but be sure to also use fluoride toothpaste to counteract the natural sugars in the strawberry.
To make strawberry toothpaste, mix a strawberry with half a tablespoon baking soda. Spread the mixture on your teeth and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Then rinse and floss out any residual strawberry seeds. Strawberries work more slowly than conventional whiteners, so you’ll probably notice a difference after a few weeks.
Citrus rinds contain d-limonene, which is a natural solvent. That’s why so many household cleaners have a citrus scent; citrus naturally breaks down oils and fats. There is not as much evidence that orange peel is an effective tooth whitener. A 2010 study found that toothpaste containing d-limonene reduced smoking stains, but not tea stains, so it might not be effective at whitening all teeth.
If you want to try using orange peel as a whitener, simply remove an orange peel and rub inside of the peel on your teeth.
Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the whitening agent found in commercial teeth whiteners. Baking soda is clinically proven to improve whiteness. Once again, this mixture isn’t as effective as a commercial whitener, but it can still work. Be sure to use a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide to avoid damaging your gums and mouth.
Mix ½ teaspoon hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of baking soda to make a toothpaste-consistency paste. Use your finger to put the mixture on your teeth and then let it sit on your teeth a minute or two. Brush and rinse thoroughly afterward.
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