Natural Teeth Whitening: What Remedies Actually Give you Results and Which Ones are Damaging?
We know teeth whitening kits can be expensive! We pride ourselves on selling an affordable product that offers better results at lower prices, but if money is tight, even that can seem like too much. So what are your options if you’re desperate to get those pearly-whites but can’t afford the kits?
There are some natural teeth whitening home remedies that can help to bring out your sparkle. They might not deliver an instant Hollywood smile, but they can certainly reduce yellowing and return some of your enamel’s natural sheen. At the same time, however, there are “remedies” that may do more harm than good...find out which ones are worth your time!
Apple Cider Vinegar for Teeth Whitening: Potentially Damaging
Apple cider vinegar is a potent anti-bacterial agent, don't get me wrong. But vinegar is highly acidic and can erode the enamel so it’s not something you should be swishing around your mouth, even if you do follow each swish with a rinse of water as exponents recommend.
It's definitely gaining popularity and traction as a teeth whitener, but it is not something we would personally recommend. It may kill the bacteria in your mouth, but at what cost?
Lemon Oil and Peel for Teeth Whitening: Potentially Damaging
As with apple cider vinegar, lemons and other citrus fruits are highly acidic and can kill the bacteria in your mouth, stopping it from yellowing your teeth. When brushed directly onto the enamel it may also help to reduce stains.
However, lemons and citrus fruits, in general, are highly acidic. They contain citric acid, which is used in everything from laundry detergent to limescale removers. While the concentration found naturally in lemon juice and peel is considerably lower than your average chemical-based cleaner, it’s still strong enough to erode your enamel.
Laboratory tests on the effects of citric acid on tooth enamel show that while initial exposure does not cause immediate damage (although there is some demineralization and softening), it eventually dissolves the surface of the tooth into a “honeycomb-like structure”. This is not something you should be exposing yourself to willingly in the pursuit of cleaner, whiter teeth.
Baking Soda for Teeth Whitening: Effective!
You probably have baking soda in your pantry, but there’s a good chance you have it in your bathroom as well! It’s found in many commercial toothpastes.
Its effectiveness as a natural teeth whitener has been known for some time. Contrary to what you might think, baking soda has little to no benefit as an abrasive substance and this is not its main method of action. On the Relative Dentin Abrasive scale, only “plain water” is ranked lower.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, actually helps to reduce the acidity in your mouth, which stops bacteria from developing and plaque from growing. Combined with the act of brushing, which helps to reduce the plaque that has already formed, regular use of baking soda can limit the amount of plaque growth, thus keeping your teeth whiter for longer.
Just add one part baking soda to two parts water in order to form a paste and there you have it: effective, natural teeth whitening paste.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening: Effective when Used Properly
I'm pushing the boundaries of what can be defined as “natural” here, but hydrogen peroxide is as easily obtained as everything else on this list. It can be used in the comfort of your own home and it’s also safe, providing you use it correctly.
If you get your teeth whitened by a dentist they will use a concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide. When you’re doing it yourself at home, stick with a 1.5% solution and limit the number of times you use it as excessive use can lead to irritation and sensitivity.
You can add it to a toothpaste and brush directly onto your teeth or you can use it as a mouthwash before brushing. Both methods should help to reduce oral bacteria and whiten your teeth.
Turmeric for Teeth Whitening: Promising
As crazy as it sounds, a spice with the color of heavily stained teeth and the potential to stain seemingly everything it touches may be useful as a natural teeth whitening agent. Ironic, right?
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there concerning the benefits of turmeric as a teeth whitener. It is also included in many natural toothpastes and teeth whitening pastes. It has powerful antibacterial properties and also has abrasive qualities. Advocates recommend mixing it with coconut oil, smearing it onto the teeth and leaving for a few minutes.
There is no scientific evidence to back this up and oral hygiene experts advise caution when using it, so while this is something that may have a lot of promise, it’s not something you should jump into just yet.