Can I let you guys in on a secret? I used to be a smoker. (I know, gasp!) One of the things that helps keep that bad habit at bay—besides, of course, my health and the general grossness of it—is the fact that I’m really paranoid about having yellow teeth. I’m sure coffee does enough damage on its own without me adding to it with cigarettes.
There are lots of teeth-bleaching agents out there, including those whitening strips that I am absolutely terrified of (do you have to rip them off??). But many of those harsh products can damage your mouth, causing your gums to recede faster and your teeth to become brittle and sensitive. (I think we’d all agree it’s better to have yellow teeth than ones that break….) Plus, whitening products are so new that the long-term effects of using them are not widely known. For those who want natural teeth whitening remedies, here are 8 easy ways to get started.
Sage has astringent properties and is antibiotic and anti-fungal, making it a great natural teeth whitener. Mix up a whitening tooth scrub powder and use once or twice a week.
I know—counterintuitive. Who would think that the spice most likely to stain your clothes yellow (in fact, it’s used to dye things) could whiten your teeth? Turmeric’s tooth-whitening power is subtle, and somewhat of a mystery, but try dipping a toothbrush in 1/8 teaspoon organic turmeric, applying to your teeth and letting it sit about 3 minutes before rinsing well and brushing with your normal toothpaste (like this homemade one). The results won’t be dramatic, but it will help! Oh, and make sure you use a dedicated toothbrush for this purpose.
Here’s another weird one: Berries tend to stain things, but the malic acid in them means they’re also a great stain remover. Make this strawberry paste and let it sit on your teeth for 5 minutes before rinsing.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Freshen your mouth while you whiten your teeth by adding hydrogen peroxide to a homemade cinnamon-clove toothpaste. The peroxide is intense, but worth it!
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an all-purpose household wonder, and that’s true when it comes to your teeth as well. Mix several teaspoons of soda with a little water or lemon juice to make a paste, and leave on your teeth for a minute before rinsing off. If baking soda paste sounds…not so fun, baking soda is an ingredient included in the sage and strawberry treatments listed above :)
6. Banana Peel
We haven’t tried this one, but Women’s Health magazine recommends brushing and flossing, then rubbing the inside of a ripe banana peel (seriously) against teeth for two minutes. Supposedly the minerals have a whitening effect.
7. Oil Pulling
This ancient remedy is great for strengthening gums, freshening breath and whitening teeth (among many, many other things). It takes some getting used to, but we swear by it.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Among its plethora of beauty, wellness and household uses, ACV helps whiten teeth when swished around the mouth before brushing. Make sure to do this remedy only occasionally, as vinegar can be hard on your teeth. Dilute the vinegar with water if the taste bothers you.
Have you tried any of these whitening remedies? Which is your favorite?53