We love our coffee, tea, and red wine. Not so much what they do to our teeth. Harsh whiteners are not the only--and certainly not the best--answer when it comes to a brighter smile. Learn how to whiten teeth naturally using items from the supermarket.
White teeth are big business. Everyone you see on TV, celeb or not, has a gleaming white smile. And our youth obsessed culture goes hand-in-hand with the whitening trend.
Americans spend upward of $1 billion annually on over-the-counter teeth whiteners and whitening procedures by a dentist. Those trays, strips, and lights could be costing us more than just our money, though. The harsh peroxide-based solutions deteriorate enamel, cause gum and tooth sensitivity, and can even cause permanent discoloration.
The common ingredient used in chemical teeth whitening products is Carbamide peroxide, a combination of hydrogen peroxide and urea. Urea is often used as a preservative in conventional cosmetics and has been shown to release formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. Even the American Dental Association recommends consulting your dentist before using any type of chemical teeth whitener.
A safer solution to the dingy smile issue? Ditch the chemicals and opt for natural ingredients to whiten teeth. Yes, there are several that get the job done.
How To Whiten Teeth Naturally
Baking soda: This one probably doesn’t surprise you. Tried baking soda toothpaste before with little to no improvement? Mix the powder with lemon juice instead of water and allow to sit on teeth for one minute before rinsing. Discontinue use if you notice any gum irritation or tooth sensitivity.
Strawberries: Yes, strawberries contain malic acid which offers natural brightening properties. Another plus? They are tastier than baking soda. Mix mashed strawberries with a pinch of sea salt (which helps to breakdown build up) and apply to teeth. Rinse thoroughly after one minute.
Activated charcoal: Yet another use for charcoal. AC binds to stains on teeth and helps to remove them. If you don’t mind sporting a zombie smile for a minute or two, this alternative is worth a try.
Coconut oil: As in, oil pulling. The Ayurvedic tradition is said to detox and improve oral and overall health. One specific benefit is whitening teeth. Best done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, swish a tablespoon of high quality coconut oil in your mouth for several minutes. Twenty minutes is the goal, but begin with shorter times if you’d like. Spit out the oil when finished and brush teeth as usual.
You know what they say about an ounce of prevention? Same goes for teeth. Sipping drinks that cause staining, like coffee and tea, through a straw helps to minimize stains. Daily flossing, and brushing after consuming stain-inducing foods and drinks helps too.
Ditch the harsh chemical teeth whiteners and brighten your smile with natural ingredients and good oral care. Now say cheese!
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Image of woman with white teeth via Shutterstock