White teeth are a sign of health and vitality, so it’s no wonder there is a universal quest for a gleaming, bright smile. It’s one of the most requested treatments in our dental practice.
With so many choices for teeth whitening products on the market, it can be a little overwhelming knowing what to choose. The fact is, there are home remedies for whitening your teeth that are effective. We endorse using methods that don’t involve harsh chemicals for brightening your smile and removing minor stains.
Take precautions, though, as misusing these methods can cause the erosion of enamel.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Many things can cause teeth discoloration or a yellow appearance, such as certain foods and plaque build-up. In these cases, regular dental cleanings and whitening remedies can be very effective.
Sometimes teeth appear yellow when the enamel has eroded, exposing the dentin underneath which is naturally yellow.
Try These Home Remedies for Whitening Your Teeth
Oil pulling is great for maintaining good oral hygiene. It involves swishing oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. The oil binds to the toxins, plaque, and bacteria in your mouth and between teeth. The oil is then spat out, taking the bacteria with it. Typically, sesame or coconut oil is used. Oil pulling is safe for daily use as there are no harmful acids or chemicals in the oil.
There are many benefits to oil pulling. To learn more check out our article Does Oil Pulling Improve Oral Health?
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is an antimicrobial that can be effective at whitening your teeth. However, you will want to limit the frequency and length of time the vinegar is in contact with your teeth as it can erode tooth enamel.
To use apple cider vinegar as a rinse, mix it with equal parts water and swish. Rinse with water after use. This can be done several times a week safely.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating hard, crunchy fruits and vegetables is a safe and effective way to remove plaque from your teeth. Using a paste of strawberries and baking soda may be effective at brightening teeth. Strawberries contain malic acid which may produce an exfoliating effect, but it has not been proven to be effective at penetrating stains on teeth.
Studies have shown that bromelain, found in pineapples, is effective at removing stains when it is an ingredient in toothpaste. Eating pineapples has not shown to have the same effect.
You may also be interested in 10 Foods and Beverages That Cause Yellow Teeth.
Brushing with baking soda removes surface stains and naturally buffs teeth. Baking soda has also been proven to create an alkaline environment in your mouth which inhibits the growth of bacteria. One study showed that brushing with a baking soda toothpaste is more effective at removing yellow stains than brushing with a toothpaste that does not contain baking soda.
To brush with baking soda, create a paste of baking soda and water and brush gently. You can safely brush with baking soda a few times a week. MDHealth.com, explains that baking soda combined with water releases free radicals that break down molecules that stain tooth enamel.
We first learned about the whitening ability of peroxide when periodontists used it as a mouth rinse for their patients. As a home remedy, you will see results more slowly but it’s inexpensive. Combine baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to create a paste using these instructions from Colgate:
- Combine about two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of baking soda.
- Stir it into a paste and start brushing.
- Let the paste stand about a minute and then rinse thoroughly with water.
- It is safe to use this teeth whitening home remedy 2 or 3 times a week.
Regular Brushing and Flossing
Good oral hygiene is an effective way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile looking its best! Toothpaste helps remove stains from the tooth’s surface. Whitening toothpaste works the same way, but with more ingredients, and they don’t bleach your teeth. Flossing removes food and bacteria from between your teeth, which automatically makes them appear brighter and whiter.
A Safe and Effective Alternative to Teeth Whitening Home Remedies
The risk of using home remedies for teeth whitening is that misapplication can cause damage to your teeth. Enamel erosion can lead to tooth sensitivity and yellow teeth, thus defeating the purpose.
The advantage of teeth whitening solutions and processes applied by dentists is that they have been tested and proven to be safe and effective. Your dentist will have conducted a thorough examination before using a teeth whitening treatment to ensure that it is right for you.
Be sure to ask your dentist about using a home remedy before attempting to whiten your teeth at home. They will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment for getting whiter teeth.
KöR Whitening System
At Ultimate Smile Design, we encourage the use of home remedies for whitening your teeth when they are safe and effective for your particular situation. A dental examination will reveal the cause of yellow teeth and the best course of action. If a mild abrasive can help restore a white appearance, that will be recommended. However, if there is deeper staining, a whitening procedure may be the best course of action.
We use the KöR Whitening System which uses carbamide peroxide, a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, and special trays to ensure the hydrogen peroxide isn’t diluted by saliva, ensuring maximum potency and effectiveness. We invite you to ask about this system during your next visit. The KöR system can remove years of staining due to foods, beverages, smoking, and medications.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2019. It has been updated with fresh content.