We’re always on the hunt for ways to look better, be more fit, and become more successful. In that equation also lies the search for whiter teeth. Statistic Brain reports the teeth whitening industry rakes in $11 billion every year. It’s safe to say that people really care about their teeth, which is a good thing.
But professional whitening products don’t come cheap. If you want pearly whites but don’t want to spend a lot of money on them, it’s time to try a few home remedies. Before we get down to the whitening, though, it’s important to understand why your teeth get yellow in the first place. There are several factors that play a part, including genetics, the kind of food and drink you consume, and, of course, your oral hygiene habits. A tooth is made up of four substances: enamel, which is the strong, white covering that protects the tooth; dentin, which supports the enamel and is a hard yellow material that carries nerves; pulp, which is a the center of the tooth.
The enamel and dentin play the biggest role in color, which is what these four natural remedies will be targeting. Ready to rock a bright and white smile? Keep reading!
1. Baking soda
For optimal results, make sure you use this paste before bed and after you brush your teeth. Baking soda is a common ingredient with teeth whitening products; it’s official name, sodium bicarbonate is mildly abrasive and gently scrubs away surface stains to help return teeth to a whiter shade. For this particular remedy, you only need one additional ingredient: hydrogen peroxide. Colgate recommends mixing the two ingredients into a paste, brushing, then letting the mixture sit for about a minute before rinsing.
2. Rinse with apple cider vinegar
If you’re not too keen on making and applying your own whitening paste, rinsing with apple cider vinegar is a great natural and organic way to maintain whiter teeth. Dr. Debra Glassman, a New York-based dentist, tells Men’s Health you can try rinsing with two parts water to one part apple cider vinegar, then swishing the solution around for one minute. Try this several times a week.
3. Rinse with coconut oil
This is yet another interesting way to whiten your teeth. Rinsing with coconut oil has been around for awhile, but it seems to be gaining in popularity. “This oral therapy is a type of Ayurvedic medicine [a traditional Indian system] that dates back 3,000 years,” Jessica T. Emery, D.M.D., told WebMD. “It involves swishing approximately 1 tablespoon of oil — typically coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil — in your mouth for about 20 minutes and then spitting it out.”
Although swishing and rinsing your mouth with coconut oil for 20 minutes doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing to do, the story says it may help prevent gingivitis, plaque, and other microorganisms that cause bad breath. And of over time, you may see whiter teeth. Just don’t try to replace your regular brushing and flossing regimen.
4. Eat this and avoid that
To prevent further yellowing, Men’s Fitness recommends incorporating apples, celery, carrots, and other crunchy vegetables into your diet. They act as a scrub for your teeth because they produce saliva, which helps to prevent plaque that causes your teeth to yellow. When you’re whitening, try to avoid dark, caffeinated drinks like coffee and red wine, as they can stain your teeth and counteract the whitening process.