It is your smile that can melt anybody’s heart!
But many people won’t smile or laugh wholeheartedly in front of others due to their stained or yellow teeth.
While it is not possible that your teeth will always remain shiny and white (especially during older age), there are several factors that accelerate the rate of teeth discoloration that can be avoided.
Some of the top reasons that cause your teeth to turn yellow or discolored are drinking a lot of coffee or tea, smoking cigarettes, thinning tooth enamel due to aging, a poor diet, dry mouth, breathing through your mouth due to blocked nasal passages, excess use of antibiotics, excessive intake of fluoride in tap water and even genetic factors.
To whiten teeth, people often rely on teeth-whitening products. But these over-the-counter products can be harmful at times. There are several toxic ingredients used in commercial toothpastes like triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, micro beads and diethanolamine, to name a few. Also, commercial toothpastes are flavored with artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
This is why even the American Dental Association recommends that if you choose to use a bleaching product for whitening your teeth, you should only do so after consulting a dentist. This is especially important for patients with many fillings, crowns and extremely dark stains (1).
For safer and better options, you can try natural teeth-whitening remedies. There are several natural ingredients that can help keep your teeth pearly white for years.
Here are the top 10 ways to whiten your teeth naturally.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has natural whitening properties and is a popular ingredient in commercial toothpastes.
Being mildly abrasive in nature, it helps scrub away surface stains and plaque on your teeth.
A 2008 review published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that toothpastes containing baking soda removed plaque from teeth more effectively than toothpastes that didn’t contain baking soda (2).
Baking soda also facilitates plaque removal by neutralizing acids produced by the bacteria that cause plaque. Plaque buildup can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a little toothpaste. Brush your teeth with this gritty mixture, then rinse with warm water. Use it once or twice a week.
- Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water. Brush your teeth with the paste. Do this a few times a week.
Note: Excess use of baking soda can strip your teeth of its natural, protective enamel. Do not use it for more than a few weeks.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
When it comes to whitening your teeth in a natural way, you cannot ignore the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent. Also, it can kill bacteria in your mouth, thus preventing bad breath.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry in 2012 found that brushing with commercial toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide twice per day led to 62 percent whiter teeth in six weeks (3).
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology highlights the efficacy of a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash in removing stains and plaque (4).
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. Use it as a mouthwash twice daily.
- Alternatively, combine 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Gently brush your teeth with the mixture, a few times a week for 2 or 3 weeks.
Note: Overuse of hydrogen peroxide can erode your tooth enamel. Do not use the remedies more often than recommended.
3. Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another excellent ingredient for maintaining oral health. Using it for oil pulling will help whiten and brighten your teeth.
Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria that can lead to plaque formation or other oral issues that can lead to a yellow tinge on your teeth.
A 2015 study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal reports that oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis (5).
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene found that edible oil pulling therapy is natural, safe and has no side effects, and it can be considered as a preventive home care practice to maintain oral hygiene (6).
- Put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not gargle.
- Spit out the milky solution.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
- Brush your teeth.
- Do it once daily in the morning before eating anything.
4. Activated Charcoal
To fight undesirable stains and plaque on your teeth, activated charcoal is highly beneficial.
Activated charcoal helps whiten your teeth by reducing stains and plaque. In fact, the microporous charcoal works by binding to compounds that stain teeth, including coffee and red wine.
Also, it improves the pH balance in your mouth and helps fight bad breath.
- Dip a wet toothbrush into activated charcoal powder and gently brush your teeth for 1 or 2 minutes. Then, rinse your mouth thoroughly with lukewarm water. Do this a few times a week for a few weeks.
- Alternatively, make a DIY toothpaste for whitening your teeth. Put ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon each of eggshell powder and melted, extra-virgin coconut oil. Mix the ingredients thoroughly using a nonmetallic spatula or spoon. Transfer the paste to an airtight container. Use this homemade toothpaste to brush your teeth twice daily.
Note: If you have caps on your teeth, consult your dentist before using activated charcoal.
While bright yellow turmeric isn’t the first thing you’d think of for whitening teeth yet it works very effectively.
In the form of a fine powder, it acts as a gentle abrasive and helps remove surface stains and reveal whiter teeth.
Turmeric is even an excellent remedy for dental problems like toothaches and gingivitis, due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties that mainly come from a component in turmeric called curcumin.
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of turmeric powder and water. Use it to brush your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeatedly rinse with water and spit it out until the liquid comes out clear. Do it once daily.
- Alternatively, put 4 tablespoons of dried, organic turmeric root powder in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of organic, virgin coconut oil. Mix it thoroughly with a spoon or fork. Use it to brush your teeth once or twice daily.
6. Orange Peel
To whiten yellow teeth, orange peel is one of the best secrets. The acidic property of the peel makes it a powerful bleaching agent. This helps reduce the yellow tinge on your teeth.
In fact, orange peel is highly effective at removing teeth staining, especially smoking stains, due to the limonene it contains.
A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Dentistry found that toothpaste containing d-limonene was significantly effective in reducing smoking stains on teeth, and d-limonene alone inhibited the development of further smoking stains (8).
- Rub a long strip of orange peel over your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Do this twice daily until you are satisfied with the results.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works as a natural disinfectant and cleaning product, and can also be used to whiten your teeth naturally.
Acetic acid, the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, helps kill bacteria and reduce the risk of plaque or other oral problems.
In a 2014 animal study published in the Journal of Sichuan University, researchers found that apple cider vinegar has a bleaching effect on teeth, but it may soften the teeth (9).
- Dilute raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water.
- Swish it around in your mouth for a minute as a mouthwash.
- Rinse your mouth with plain water.
- Use it a few times a week only.
Note: Avoid overuse of apple cider vinegar, as it can erode the enamel on your teeth.
Salt is slightly abrasive in nature and can be used to remove stains from your teeth and revive their white color. It also helps replenish lost mineral content in the teeth.
In addition, it helps get rid of plaque, which in turn reduces the risk of many oral problems that can lead to discoloration of teeth. It is also beneficial in preventing bad breath.
- Moisten your toothbrush and dip it in table salt or sea salt.
- Brush your teeth with it at least once daily.
Note: Be gentle using salt, as it can damage your gums and tooth enamel if used roughly.
9. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, can also be used to enjoy white teeth. Due to its astringent and antiseptic properties, regular use of neem also helps get rid of bad breath and prevents dental cavities, plaque, gingivitis and other oral health problems.
There are a few different ways you can use neem for whiter teeth.
- Use neem twigs as a toothbrush to brush your teeth daily. Simply chew on a broken end until it becomes soft enough to brush your teeth with.
- Extract the juice of neem leaves and rub it on your teeth once daily. Leave it on for a few minutes, then use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. Rinse it off with warm water.
- Mix a few drops of neem oil in your regular toothpaste, then brush your teeth.
10. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay is often used in homemade face masks, but it can also be used to whiten your teeth naturally.
Being rich in minerals, it supports tooth mineralization. Plus, it has detoxifying properties that fight gum disease and bad breath.
- Put 1 tablespoon each of bentonite clay and baking soda in a bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Mix thoroughly until you get a smooth consistency.
- Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
- Brush your teeth with this mixture at least once daily.
- Always choose the right toothpaste suitable for your oral health problems, as it is a key part of your oral hygiene routine.
- Along with toothpaste, pick the right toothbrush. Both manual and electric toothbrushes can effectively clean teeth. You can choose one depending upon your comfort level.
- Do not share your toothbrush with anyone.
- Rinse your toothbrush before and after every use to keep bacteria from accumulating on the bristles.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, as it is the most important part of your dental care routine.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day to help remove plaque from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Use a mouthwash to help freshen-up your breath.
- Rinse your mouth with water after meals or drinking caffeinated beverages to remove any leftover food or residue from your teeth. This will help prevent stains and decay.
- Always avoid brushing right after eating very acidic foods, which can weaken your enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, as they are harmful to your oral health and they can cause stained teeth, gum disease and even oral cancer.
- A healthy diet can go a long way in maintaining good oral health.
- Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products. American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/tooth-whitening-safety-and-effectiveness.
- Enhancement of plaque removal efficacy by tooth brushing with baking soda dentifrices: results of five clinical studies. Journal of Clinical Dentistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19278079.
- Effectiveness of a new dentifrice with baking soda and peroxide in removing extrinsic stain and whitening teeth. Journal of Clinical Dentistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23210419.
- Effect of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash as an adjunct to chlorhexidine on stains and plaque. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3800406/. Published 2013.
- Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report. Nigerian Medical Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382606/. Published 2015.
- The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash. Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27084861. Published January 01, 2016.
- Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633300/. Published 2013.
- Effect of toothpaste containing d-limonene on natural extrinsic smoking stain: a 4-week clinical trial. Advances in pediatrics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21250568. Published August 2010.
- Effects of vinegar on tooth bleaching and dental hard tissues in vitro. Journal of Sichuan University. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25571718. Published November 2014.