Your teeth are one of the first things people notice about you. And pearly whites show you care about your oral hygiene and take the time to look your best. But even if we do brush every day, teeth can become yellowish due to several factors like ageing, eating and drinking habits, gum problems or thinning enamel. We all want a beautiful, twinkling smile and it is more important than ever now due to all those image-dominant social media platforms. If you’re afraid of all those chemicals used for bleaching teeth, or you simply don’t have the time to go to the dentist, here are five natural ways to get a stunner smile and bump up oral care.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, which has the main active ingredient acetic acid as well as potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes, helps to kill harmful bacteria, promote good bacteria and cleanse teeth. Being naturally acidic with antibacterial properties means apple cider vinegar breaks down plaque or other substances stuck to the teeth, what’s more its pH can remove stains caused by coffee or smoking, making it a natural whitener. However, the vinegar can also soften your teeth and erode the enamel on them if you use it too much. That’s why it’s always better to dilute it with some water when you’re whirling it around in your mouth like a mouthwash. You should then brush with regular toothpaste or at least rinse your mouth out with plain water.
2. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil around in your mouth to reduce bacteria, which can transform into plaque allowing your teeth to look yellowish. The traditional Indian remedy not only removes plaque, its antimicrobial assets make it great for protecting and cleaning your gums and dealing with gingivitis. Indians have customarily used sunflower or sesame oil for oil pulling, but since coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which can reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, and tastes good, it is a premium choice. So for naturally whiter and overall healthier teeth, simply put a tablespoonful of coconut or other type of oil in your mouth and swish it between your teeth no less than five minutes. As it does not expose your teeth to acid or any other ingredient that erodes enamel, it is safe to do every day.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
As it’s a natural bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide is one of the other top ingredients to use for a brighter smile. Often used as a disinfectant, the chemical compound also has antibacterial powers that help keep your mouth germ-free. What’s more it’s a natural protector against gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis and it keeps your breath fresh. But be wary when using it as strong doses or using it too much can lead to gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. One effective and safe way of going about a hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse is to use half water and half hydrogen peroxide, twirl the mix around in your mouth for about a minute and then rinse with plain water. Another method is to mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to make toothpaste. Just combine two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with one teaspoon of baking soda and gently brush, however don’t use it more than a couple of times a week to avoid eroding your tooth enamel.
4. Baking Soda
An untreated, powerful ingredient you can use for cleaning just about anything in the house, baking soda also works miracles on your teeth. Its natural whitening properties rub away surface stains, making it a prevalent ingredient in commercial toothpaste. Several studies have shown that toothpastes with baking soda offer better whitening results than those without. Additionally, as baking soda creates an alkaline setting in your mouth, it prevents bacteria from growing, enhancing the removal of plaque. The best way to benefit from this whitening remedy is to mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water, making a paste to brush your teeth with. You can use it a few times a week.
It turns out antioxidant-packed fruits aren’t just good for us nutritionally; they can help with our oral hygiene as well. Crunching and chewing on raw raw fruits and even vegetables can help rub plaque away. Strawberries are one particularly effective fruit, probably due to the malic acid they contain. Whitening your teeth with a strawberry and baking soda mixture is a natural whitening cure and exfoliator touted by celebrities and beauty buffs like Huda Kattan. To give it a try, mash a fresh strawberry, mix it with baking soda and brush the mixture on your teeth a couple of times a week. Or you can try it à la model Tyra Banks. On her show she simply puréed up several strawberries, scrubbed them over her teeth and then rinsed. Similarly, pineapples are thought to brighten your teeth probably thanks to bromelain. A study showed a toothpaste with the enzyme was better at removing tooth stains than a standard one. Plus, lemon and/or orange peels, or lemon essential oil can whiten teeth due to their beneficial acids. But because of their high acidity, you should always rinse your mouth after using them.
3 Top Tips
* Limit tobacco and staining foods and drinks like coffee, sodas and dark berries. Plus you can try drinking these beverages out of a straw or brushing your teeth after eating or drinking discolouration culprits.
* Cut back on sugar as it encourages the streptococcus mutans bacteria that onsets plaque and gingivitis. When you do eat something sugary, brush your teeth soon afterwards.
*Foods high in calcium, like milk, cheese and broccoli, can help protect your teeth from enamel erosion, which causes tooth discolouration.