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. And I’m sure coffee does enough damage on its own without me adding to it with cigarettes.
10 Ways to Whiten Teeth Naturally
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 teeth that are a little yellow than chipping and breaking.
Plus, many 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 10 easy ways to get started.
1. Pineapple and orange
Some fruits and vegetables contain organic acids, and evidence has shown that increasing plants in the diet seems to maintain teeth color. Pineapples and oranges have an enzyme in common that has been shown to actually whiten teeth—bromelain [source].
This anti-inflammatory compound carries other therapeutic properties, such as keeping bacteria at bay, promoting wound healing, suppressing cancer cells, and improving circulation [source].
Who would think that the spice most likely to stain your clothes yellow (in fact, it’s used as a dye) could whiten your teeth? I know—counterintuitive, and it hasn’t been proven in studies—but turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for gum disease [source] and killing mouth bacteria [source]. Many also swear by its ability to whiten teeth.
Turmeric’s tooth-whitening power is subtle and somewhat of a mystery, but try dipping a toothbrush in 1/8 teaspoon of organic turmeric, applying it 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 too, but they contain citric and malic acids, meaning they’re also a great stain remover [source]. 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, which has a direct bleaching action on teeth [source], 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 whitening your teeth as well [source]. Mix several teaspoons of soda with a little water or lemon juice to make a paste, and leave it 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 strawberry treatment listed above for a tastier option!
6. Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is a highly porous substance that readily binds to the teeth-staining tannins found in most food and drink. It is often added to toothpaste and has been shown to whiten teeth with continuous use [source].
To use it for teeth whitening, simply empty a small capsule of activated charcoal into a cup and mix it with a tiny amount of water. Apply to your teeth using a toothbrush, and allow it to sit for several minutes before rinsing.
7. Banana peel
The stringy, fleshy side of the banana peel is chock full of good-for-you vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese, which can get absorbed by tooth enamel and help lessen stains [source]. All you have to do is rub the fleshy side of the banana peel against your teeth for several seconds until you have created a paste.
Let this sit for 10 minutes, being sure to keep your lips away from the paste as much as possible. When the time is up, brush your teeth like you regularly would with toothpaste and water.
8. 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.
Studies show that the lauric acid in coconut oil helps to rid your teeth and gums of bacteria while it binds to toxins and draws them out of your teeth. When done regularly, oil pulling has been shown to reduce plaque and staining [source]. Try swishing a tablespoon-sized amount of coconut oil in your mouth for 15 minutes once per day.
9. 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 is too much for you.
10. Bentonite clay
Bentonite clay works in much the same way as activated charcoal. It’s a highly absorbent substance that readily binds to stains on the surface of the teeth. It also contains a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals that can help strengthen tooth enamel and remineralize teeth.
Combine clay with baking soda to make a DIY brightening tooth powder that whitens without the harsh, irritating chemicals contain in commercial products.
Have you tried any of these whitening remedies? Which is your favorite?
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.89