The at-home teeth whitening industry has grown immensely over the past couple of years. However, if you’re looking for a more natural way to whiten your teeth, dentists have some clever ideas. It’s worth noting that New York cosmetic dentist Jason Kasarsky, DDS says there’s a lack of scientific data behind natural at-home solutions for teeth whitening, so you should be cautious as you experiment with various natural remedies.
Of course, the best remedy is prevention, says Dr. Kasarsky. Cutting back sugar, drinking coffee and tea through a straw, adding calcium to your diet, having frequent dental visits, flossing, brushing and rinsing can all help prevent your teeth from going dull. However, if you’re looking for a natural whitening boost, try these natural solutions.
Baking soda and peroxide
Dr. Kasarsky recommends brushing with a mixture of baking soda and peroxide. The mix should feature one tablespoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of three percent hydrogen peroxide. The combo helps clean surface stains and “the baking soda creates an environment that prevents bacteria from growing,” says the dentist.
Hydrogen peroxide and water
Some dentists recommend using a combination of peroxide and water. Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Victoria Veytsman, DDS says, “the one active ingredient that will really oxidize stains off would be hydrogen peroxide.” She suggests making a diluted mixture and brushing with it occasionally. Dr. Kasarsky recommends creating a mixture of equal parts three percent hydrogen peroxide and water. He advises to swish it and spit it out three times a day.
Is there anything coconut oil isn’t good for? Both Dr. Kasarsky and Dr. Veytsman note they have patients that are fans of oil pulling, “which is essentially swishing with coconut oil to pull toxins out,” explains Dr. Veytsman. According to Dr. Kasarsky, the lauric acid in the oil can also work to reduce tissue inflammation and combat bacteria.
Rockville, MD cosmetic dentist Joe Kravitz, DDS cites his own book Dirty Mouth which says that alkaline water, with a pH of 7.1 or higher, can help make your teeth whiter. However, not all water is made the same. Acidic waters can cause your teeth to turn an unpleasant shade. Dr. Kravitz says a patient of his needed veneers to restore the damage done by drinking a gallon of carbonated water daily.
Baking soda, strawberries and pineapple
Mixing a handful of things thought to enhance teeth whiteness may be a good way to try a bunch of techniques in one shot. Dr. Kasarsky says he’s heard of people using “mashed strawberries and pineapple mixed with baking soda to make a slurry, then brushing with the slurry.”
Strawberries are full of malic acid, which works as a natural astringent to remove discoloration from the surface of your teeth. Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain, a compound with anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties that are often found in stain-removing toothpaste.
While there are some dangerously crunchy foods, like rock candy or caramel corn, others may actually benefit your teeth. According to Dr. Veytsman, “crunchy foods like apples can potentially help remove stains.” That signature crunch can gently scrub stains and clear out bacteria.