How to … whiten your teeth

In 2015, Americans alone spent more than $US11 billion on teeth whitening, including more than $US1.4 billion on at-home whitening products. A bright smile that reveals magnificent pearly whites can be a confidence-booster, but as we get older, the ‘whites’ might have faded to grey. Add in the fact that every celebrity seems to have super-white veneers these days, and, suddenly, those stained, dull teeth might be an issue.

So you’ve been diligent about brushing and flossing twice daily, but your teeth are no longer white. Most store-bought whitening products use chemicals, which might concern some people. So here are some tips to naturally whiten your teeth at home.

Baking soda paste
Baking soda has natural whitening properties and is a recognised way to clean your teeth and promote gum health. That’s why it’s found in many commercial toothpastes.

Simply add one teaspoon of baking soda to two teaspoons of water and brush for five minutes. You can do this up to three times a week.

Science has not yet proven that brushing with baking soda will whiten your teeth, but several studies show that toothpaste with baking soda has a significant whitening effect, Healthline reports.

“One study found that toothpastes containing baking soda were significantly more effective at removing yellow stains from teeth than standard toothpastes without baking soda. The higher the concentration of baking soda, the greater the effect.”

Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has natural teeth-whitening properties. Use this in conjunction with baking soda to lift pesky stains. It can also be used as a mouthwash.

Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with one teaspoon of baking soda to form a thick paste. Brush for three minutes and rinse. Repeat each week.

The acetic acid in vinegar can erode the enamel, so limit the amount of time that apple cider vinegar is in contact with your teeth.

To use it as a mouthwash, dilute it with water and swish it around in your mouth for several minutes. Make sure to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards.

Strawberry paste – and pineapple
Malic acid in strawberries naturally helps to remove surface stains and plague. Mash three to four strawberries in a bowl and add one teaspoon of baking soda. Clean your teeth as you would with toothpaste and rinse thoroughly. Do this twice a week.

Some also claim that papaya and pineapple can whiten teeth. A study found that a toothpaste containing papain and bromelain, enzymes found in papaya and pineapples, was significantly more effective at removing tooth stains than a standard toothpaste, according to Healthline.

Oil pulling
Many people claim their teeth are whiter and brighter after regular oil pulling, although there is not scientific proof that this works.

To oil pull, put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, and push and pull the oil through your teeth. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you will need to melt the oil and wait until it is just cool enough to pop in your mouth. Continue the oil pulling for 15 to 20 minutes, then spit it into a bin as it would return to solid form in your drains and cause a blockage.

Unlike many other tooth-whitening methods, oil pulling does not expose your teeth to acid or other ingredients that erode the enamel, so you can do it daily.

Check with your dentist about other natural remedies or for professional teeth-cleaning procedures.

Are you astonished at how white some people’s teeth are? Have you tried any of these remedies? Do you have another suggestion?

Related articles:
Strengthen your teeth
Chew food for healthy teeth
Five foods that stain teeth

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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