How To Whiten Teeth Fast: 17 Bright Methods

Everyone wants to know the secret tricks of how to whiten teeth. Bright, yellow-free tusks have been one of the most universally aspirational ideals for ages, and if anyone ever tells you that they’re 100% satisfied with their smile, you can bet your ass that they’re either lying to you, lying to themselves, or both. The good news is that there are distinct factors that lead to discoloration, and ruling them out early can keep your teeth brilliant for a long time. Most people get to these tricks too late, long after the damage has been done.

Get a head start on warding off stains with the follow dentist-approved tips. Read on to learn what products to use, what habits to make (and break), and even DIY methods for how to whiten teeth.

1. Regular Dental Appointments

Before you go out and buy a pack of Whitestrips or set up an appointment for hyper-whitening with your local dentist, make sure everything else is taken care of, health-wise. “You want to ascertain that there’s no underlying disease before you do a program of whitening, and you also want to make sure you have a thorough cleaning so you can get the best benefits,” says dentist Dr. Jeanne Strathearn. In other words, you want to be working with as white a canvas as you can. And, duh, visit your dentist at least twice a year.

2. Avoid Known Stain Causers

You probably know that coffee and red wine stain teeth, but they’re certainly not the only culprits that can leave your teeth looking less than stellar. There are plenty of other foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, including:

  • white wine
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • pomegranates
  • soda
  • barbecue sauce
  • green tea
  • black tea
  • sugary treats
  • marinara
  • curry
  • turmeric
  • paprika
  • balsamic vinegar

All of these foods or drinks cause or contribute to extrinsic stains. The good news is that extrinsic stains can usually be removed or at least improved, explains Dr. Strathearn. (Other stains—permanent ones—are called intrinsic stains, and can be the result of taking antibiotics when your teeth were developing as a kid. Those are much harder to deal with.)

If you can’t imagine giving up your daily coffee or nightly glass of wine, however, just make sure to rinse with water within 30 minutes of consumption. Rinsing with water helps wash away the offending liquid and lessen the likelihood of a stain. Rinsing is better than brushing, because brushing so soon after drinking or eating a stain-causer can make a situation worse, since at that point you’ll be scrubbing the food or drink’s enamel-eroding acid right into the teeth.

3. Consume Certain Foods

There are foods that can actually brighten your teeth. Fight stains and improve overall oral health by munching on the following:

  • Apples. Apples improve your gum health and stimulate saliva production, which helps to rinse away stains.
  • Cheese, milk and yogurt. Rich in calcium, all of these help to strengthen teeth enamel and appearance.
  • Nuts, celery, broccoli and carrots. The abrasive and coarse abrasive texture of these foods scrubs off stains.
  • Raw onions. The sulfur found in raw onions stops plaque from forming.
  • Strawberries. The malic acid found in strawberries naturally removes surface stains lurking on your teeth.

4. Brush and Floss Daily

Dr. Strathearn says you should be brushing and flossing daily. “You want to be careful not to scrub away enamel at the gum line. You want to go below the gum line when you floss—between the gum and the tooth. That’s where people are either too aggressive or not aggressive enough.” Hardly groundbreaking information, we know, but diligence is the key.

5. Invest in an Electric Toothbrush

Thanks to their vibrating heads, electric toothbrushes are able to remove more stains than a standard toothbrush. The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush can get your teeth a full shade whiter in just one week and improve gum health in two weeks. This charged-up brush is your best bet for scrubbing off surface stains, plus it comes in a sleek black color.

6. Take Good Care of Your Gums

Gums are the backdrop for your teeth, and if you’re suffering from gingivitis (characterized by red, bleeding, receding or puffy gums), it can make your whole smile look unhealthy. Taking care of your gums lets your white teeth take center stage. Make sure to brush and floss twice a day. Use soft bristles rather than hard ones, as hard brushes can be too abrasive for sensitive gums and cause them to recede further. Brush gently, but thoroughly.

Not only will healthy gums allow your teeth to shine bright, it’ll be better for your overall dental health. If you neglect your gums, it can actually lead to your teeth falling out — and at that point, the whiteness of your teeth will be the least of your concerns.

7. Use Whitening Toothpastes

How does whitening toothpastes work to whiten teeth? By employing polishers and abrasives, which buff away dark spots, plus gentle chemical bleaching agents.

 Dr. Strathearn confirmed that whitening toothpastes can be effective, but the process isn’t quick. “It takes a long time. There is an agent in there that will lighten teeth, but it will take a while. It’s noticeable, but not as quick as Crest Whitestrips.” So while you may see a difference over the course of a few months, let’s say, don’t expect results overnight.

Whitening toothpastes are by far the most universally used form of whitening, and for good reason. You can easily pick up a tube for a five-spot, though, of course, you can upgrade to more expensive options. Sure, you won’t all of a sudden be immediately blessed with perfect chompers, but it’ll help.

8. Apply Whitening Strips

“They do work, they’re effective. We often recommend that, if patients want to try something in an inexpensive way before deciding on another treatment,” says Dr. Strathearn. Perhaps reach for the Whitestrips the week before a big job interview, a first date, or a wedding.

As opposed to toothpastes, whitening strips work largely as a result of whitening chemicals, specifically peroxides and bleaches. These chemicals are, as you would expect, on two plastic strips, one for your top set of teeth and another for your bottom, and while they’re affixed, the whitening chemicals make their way into your teeth and remove extrinsic stains.

They’re easy as hell. Seriously, all you need to do is slap them on, wait the recommended amount of time, then take them off. Plus, they’re effective; it’ll only take a few days of use for your teeth to look noticeably whiter.

“These are inexpensive and very effective. I’ve seen really good results,” says cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin Sands, who has worked on the smiles of Robert Downey Jr., Joe Manganiello, and the Kardashian clan, among others.

Remember, however, you’re working with chemicals when you use whitening strips. And the trouble with chemicals is, well, they’re chemicals. Meaning that they can be kind of troublesome if you don’t pay close attention. For example, some strips are made with chlorine dioxide, a chemical that can actually eat away at enamel if you leave it on too long. There’s also the issue of reach; often, strips will cover only the bottom half of the teeth, effectively leaving along the gumline just as yellow as it started off. Finally, there’s the problem of increased sensitivity post-strip. Not at all ideal.

9. Try Whitening Gel Trays

Take everything we said about tooth whitening strips, chemicals and all, and repeat it sans the strips. Instead, gels are either brushed onto the teeth, or squeezed into a jaw-shaped tray, which you’ll then affix onto your teeth for the recommended time. After the designated time has passed, often overnight, you’ll then either brush away the gel or remove the tray.

The biggest benefit of whitening gels is that they’re so thorough. You apply the gels either directly to the teeth or in excess to the tray, and that means that all the little nooks and crannies of your teeth get whitened, from the tips to the tops. Also, the trays stay in place a bit better than the strips, since there’s no adhesive that can come unstuck.

As with whitening strips, however, you’re working with chemicals when you use whitening gels. Chemicals, man. Can whiten with ‘em, can’t whiten without ‘em.

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10. Consider Whitening at the Dentist’s Office

The general gist goes like this: After a cheek retractor is put in your mouth, to keep your skin away from your teeth, a whitening gel containing high percentages of hydrogen peroxide is applied to your teeth. It’s left on for anywhere between 15 minutes to half an hour, washed away thoroughly, then reapplied one or more times until the desired result is acquired. Sometimes, they’ll shine a bright light on your teeth to speed along the process.

It’s always a good idea to have someone who knows what they’re doing in charge, and with in-office tooth whitening, you’ve got professional supervision. Also, results are instantaneous, so you don’t have to wait days or weeks to see whitening start to take shape.

The only downside to whitening in-office is the price. It can get you up to eight shades whiter in one visit, but it doesn’t come cheap, to say the least: A single session costs up to $650. Results aren’t always consistent either, depending on age, type of stains, and a number of other factors. Oh, and also you’ve got to watch out for what you eat directly after, which is doable, but a pain.

11. Brush with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

As a known bacteria fighter, baking soda can not only clean your mouth, but also help you fight stains. Here’s how to whiten teeth with baking soda: Combine one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with two tablespoons of baking soda for the ultimate stain-fighting mixture. Brush with the paste for two minutes. The hydrogen peroxide will lighten stains as the baking soda scrubs them away. Not only does this method work, it’s super affordable. You can pick up both ingredients for less than five bucks. You will, however, have to whip up a fresh mixture each time you use the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, so it requires a little more prep than other at-home teeth-whitening methods.

12. Apply Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar

Create a mixture using a quarter tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Brush your teeth with this mixture to fight stains. This is another really cost-effective DIY option, and chances are you already have the ingredients lying around your house. Note: You can’t repeat this treatment more than once a week, given the acidity of the lemon. Applying the mixture too frequently can wear down the enamel on your teeth.

13. Stop Smoking

In addition to all the harmful side effects of smoking, it the tar and tobacco found in nicotine rapidly yellows smokers’ teeth. So, if for no other reason than vanity, do yourself a favor and stop lighting up. Not only will your teeth look better, your breath, heart and lungs will also be healthier.

14. Make Out (Yes, Really)

As if you need another reason to make out, studies show that kissing stimulates saliva production, which, incidentally, can help you fight stains. Other (less exciting) ways so stimulate saliva production include chomping on raw, fibrous fruits and veggies, as well as sucking on sugar-free candies and chewing sugar-free gum.

15. Rub Your Teeth with a Banana Peel or Orange Rind

Wondering how to whiten teeth with bananas? It sounds crazy, but thanks to the plentiful vitamins and minerals found in the skin of bananas and oranges, many people use the inside of peel and rinds to whiten their teeth. While we don’t know of any studies have proven the validity of this method, it certainly can’t hurt. Try it out by rubbing your teeth with the fruit casing. Wait ten minutes and follow up by brushing your teeth.

16. Make a Tooth Mask with Activated Charcoal

Some people brush with activated charcoal, but because this ingredient is soabrasive, dentists recommend that you use it as a mask rather than a toothpaste. Charcoal is highly absorbent and is able to effectively bond with surface stains, and then lift them away — it’s just as effective (and safer) to create a charcoal paste, apply it to your teeth, let it sit for three minutes, and then rinse it away. Make the paste by mixing together a half a tablespoon of activated charcoal with just enough water to make it paste-like (a quarter of tablespoon should do the trick).

17. Go Big or Go Home: Veneers

Dr. Sands estimates that 30-40 percent of red carpet smiles are actually veneers: “Two appointments and you’ve got a magazine cover smile,” he says. Veneers are the most extreme way to get blindingly white teeth, and they’re also the most expensive. Each veneer can cost up to $2,500. Plus, once you get veneers, there’s no going back. The process involves grinding down your own teeth in order to cap them with the veneers. So do whatever you can to protect and care for your own teeth, and you’ll render veneers unnecessary.

7 best teeth-whitening kits

As we age, our teeth naturally become more yellow, while the likes of coffee, tea and red wine can leave stains on our gnashers.

But thankfully there are plenty of ways to brighten our smiles without having to resort to pricey dental surgery treatments. Instead, opting for a DIY kit can give you a brighter, whiter smile and remove stubborn stains with ease. But which one should you go for?

These days there are a variety of methods to choose from so it’s super-easy to find one that works for you and your lifestyle. Whitening toothpastes can be used just like regular formulas but contain mild abrasives and gentle polishing agents to remove stains.

Alternatively, you can use a tray-based teeth whitenener, which involves the use of a mouth guard and a gel-based whitening solution. While some of these are one-off treatments, others need to be used twice a day for up to two weeks.

For best results, in-office dental treatments are recommended as at-home kits are restricted to lower concentrations of whitening ingredients like peroxide. But, for modest improvements tray kits are your next best option.

It’s also important to make sure you understand the risks of using a teeth whitener and these should be listed on the product you’re about to buy. As a general rule though, when using tray kits always make sure the mouth guard fits properly as any leaking gel can cause blistering and sensitivity to your lips and gums.

Here’s our pick of the best teeth-whitening tools that will give you pearly whites, without costing you a fortune.

1. iWhite Instant Teeth Whitening Advanced Kit: £75, Amazon

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This kit from iWhite includes 10 pre-filled trays, a tooth polisher, toothpaste and a mouthwash, which all work together to rebuild enamel and remove stains. The whitening kit itself is one of the easiest to use as the trays come already filled with the gel and fit securely onto the front and back of your teeth, helping to keep saliva pooling to a minimum. After wearing for 20 minutes, our tester said their teeth already looked whiter and reported fantastic results after using for five consecutive days. The toothpaste and mouthwash can be used daily to maintain effectiveness while the polisher can be used as and when needed to remove any plaque build-up.

2. Pearl Drops Instant Natural White Charcoal Toothpaste: £4.33, Boots

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If you don’t like the idea of using mouth trays, then whitening toothpaste could be the best option for you. Our favourite has to be this purple paste from Pearl Drops, which taps into the beauty world’s obsession with charcoal as an ingredient. Working to remove impurities, the formula uses a combination of detoxifying charcoal, fluoride and plaque removers to boost stain removal. While the purple colouring can be a bit off-putting at first, the end result leaves your teeth looking brighter and with an instant sparkle, but it does need consistent use over a period of weeks to notice any real difference in shade.

3. Luster Pro Light Teeth Whitening System: £33.32, Look Fantastic

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Developed by dentists, this system works the same way as most other kits but with the added benefit of a whitening light that helps to speed up the entire process. To use, apply the whitening solution to pre-treat teeth, brush each tooth with the activator gel and then apply the light for two minutes (it has an automatic shut off timer which is handy).Unlike other kits that need to be used within a certain time frame, this one comes with three options so you can work it around your lifestyle. You can use over two days with 10 treatments each day, during week days with four treatments a day or over a full week with two to three treatments. Our tester decided to complete the suggested 20 treatments over two days and reported teeth that looked visibly whiter. We also love the fact that it comes with a colour chart where you can record its effectiveness.

4. Rapid White 1 Week Tooth Whitening System: £10, Boots

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This kit is very simple to use. It comes with two easy-to-use mouth trays that can be customised to fit your teeth, a tube of whitening gel, an accelerator fluid and a tube of Rapid White toothpaste. After applying the accelerator directly to your teeth using a sponge applicator, you simply pop the gel-filled trays into your mouth and leave them for five to 10 minutes before brushing your teeth with the toothpaste. Our tester found the trays comfortable to wear and was delighted with the results, even after just a few days – half the recommended treatment time – as it left teeth visibly whiter and cleaner.

5. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush, Rose Gold: £134.99, Argos

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A toothbrush that whitens your teeth might sound like a trick but this one really does work. It features five brushing modes: Clean, Sensitive, Gum Care, White and Polish. It claims to whiten teeth more than two times better than a manual toothbrush. After using just once, our tester reported a squeaky clean feeling and they noticed a visible difference in whiteness after a few weeks use. This might be at the higher end of the price scale but if you’re looking to invest in a product that you can use everyday this is the one for you.

6. Diamond Whites, Home Whitening Kit, £39.99

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The Diamond Whites system comes with two mouth trays that, after soaking in hot water, you can mould to the exact shape of your teeth, helping to cover the teeth properly and reduce saliva pooling. Once that’s done, fill the tray with the provided gel, leave on for 20 to 30 minutes and brush with the whitening toothpaste. Our tester found that this kit helped remove stubborn stains from discoloured teeth and after a few uses definitely took their whiteness up a notch. We also love that this kit comes with a top-up whitening pen to maintain your smile, which only takes 10 to 12 minutes to develop. Ideal just before a night out.

7. Superdrug Fourteen Day Whitening Kit: £8.99, Superdrug

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Easy to use, this three-step system is a gentle 14-day treatment that will help you get a perfect smile. To use, apply the accelerator fluid to your teeth, fill the supplied mouth tray with whitening gel and hold firmly in place for five to 10 minutes by biting down. Finish by brushing your teeth with the whitening toothpaste. Unlike other kits, the mouth tray fits over both sets of teeth at once and is a little harder to place but for a high street option that’s super-affordable it manages to hold its own, whitening our tester’s teeth by a couple of shades over the two-week period.

 

Four Teeth Whitening Tips For A Whiter Smile

Whether you have your teeth whitened at the dentist’s office or at home, it’s one way to build your confidence and make you smile. It’s important to continue looking after your teeth after a whitening to ensure they stay clean for as long as possible. Here are four teeth whitening tips to ensure your smile stays bright and you stay confident.

Whitening Toothpaste

Dentist visits are critical to remove the plaque and stains that develop over time, but whitening toothpastes can help the process on a daily basis. Ingredients in products such as Colgate® Total® Advanced Whiteningtoothpaste can gently scrub the teeth to remove stains, so it’s great to use between dentist cleanings and whitenings. If you’re looking to whiten teeth at home, the hydrogen peroxide in Colgate® Optic White®White & Radiant can help you achieve that.

Crunchy Produce

You can’t have toothpaste with you all the time. But you can still keep your bright smile intact while away from the bathroom sink. How? According to Prevention magazine, fruits and veggies such as celery, apples and carrots are naturally abrasive, so they can help remove some of the substances that discolor your teeth.

Enamel Protection

Your smile may not be as bright as you want because of weak enamel. According to the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy site, enamel is naturally a hard substance, but it cannot repair itself when it breaks down because it doesn’t contain any living cells. Once enamel has been affected by oral disease, you can’t restore it, and weak enamel can be more susceptible to stains. That’s where enamel protection comes in handy. Fluoride found in most toothpastes can actually help strengthen tooth enamel against the wear and tear associated with acidic foods and beverages, meaning fewer stains left on weak enamel.

Dairy Products

Good news for dairy lovers: The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recommends eating foods high in calcium (cheese and yogurt) to help keep your teeth white. Not only do dairy products provide your teeth with the calcium they need to keep enamel strong, but harder cheeses can actually eliminate food particles that stain your teeth.

Whitening at home or seeing your dentist for professional treatment are both viable ways to get rid of stains. To help keep it that way between visits, use the above teeth whitening tips, such as eating the right foods and using the right products, to ensure you can put your best smile forward.

7 Simple Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth at Home

In 2015, Americans alone spent over $11 billion on teeth whitening, including over $1.4 billion on at-home whitening products. There are plenty of products to choose from when it comes to whitening your teeth. However, most whitening products use chemicals to bleach your teeth, which concerns many people. If you want whiter teeth, but also want to avoid the chemicals, then this article lists many options that are both natural and safe.

What Causes Teeth to Look Yellow?

There are multiple factors that cause teeth to become dull and lose their bright, white sparkle. Certain foods can stain your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth. Additionally, plaque build-up on your teeth can cause them to look yellow. This type of discoloration can usually be treated with regular cleaning and whitening remedies. However, sometimes teeth look yellow because the hard enamel has eroded away, revealing the dentin underneath. Dentin is a naturally yellow, bony tissue that lies underneath the enamel. Here are 7 simple ways you can naturally whiten your teeth.

1. Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy meant to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. The practice involves swishing oil around in your mouth to remove bacteria, which can turn into plaque and cause your teeth to look yellow. Traditionally, Indians used sunflower or sesame oil for oil pulling, but any oil will work. Coconut oil is a popular choice because it has a pleasant taste and offers many additional health benefits. Coconut oil is also high in lauric acid, which is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. A few studies have shown that daily oil pulling effectively reduces bacteria in the mouth, along with plaque and gingivitis. Streptococcus mutans is one of the primary types of bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque and gingivitis. One study found that daily swishing with sesame oil significantly reduced Streptococcus mutans in saliva in as little as one week. Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies to prove that oil pulling whitens your teeth. However, it’s a safe practice and definitely worth a try. Many people claim their teeth are whiter and brighter after regular oil pulling. To oil pull, put 1 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 may need to wait a few seconds for it to melt. Continue the oil pulling for a full 15–20 minutes. Be sure to spit the coconut oil into a toilet or trash can, as it could return to solid form once in your drain pipes and cause a clog. Unlike many other tooth whitening methods, coconut oil pulling does not expose your teeth to acid or other ingredients that erode the enamel. This means it is safe to do daily.

BOTTOM LINE:Coconut oil pulling involves swishing oil in your mouth for 15–20 minutes to remove bacteria. Practicing this daily can reduce plaque and may brighten your teeth.

2. Brush With Baking Soda

Baking soda has natural whitening properties, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in commercial toothpaste. It’s a mild abrasive that can help scrub away surface stains on teeth. Additionally, baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth, which prevents bacteria from growing. This is not a remedy that will whiten your teeth overnight, but you should notice a difference in the appearance of your teeth over time. Science has not yet proven that brushing with plain baking soda will whiten your teeth, but several studies show that toothpaste with baking soda has a significant whitening effect. 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 . Furthermore, a review of five studies found that toothpastes containing baking soda removed plaque from teeth more effectively than non-baking soda toothpastes . To use this remedy, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with the paste. You can do this a few times per week.

BOTTOM LINE:Brushing with a paste made with baking soda and water can reduce bacteria in your mouth and buff away surface stains.

3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that also kills bacteria in your mouth. In fact, people have been using hydrogen peroxide for years to disinfect wounds because of its ability to kill bacteria. Many commercial whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, although at a much higher concentration than you will use. Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies to show the effects of rinsing or brushing with hydrogen peroxide alone, but several studies have analyzed commercial toothpastes containing peroxide. One study found that a toothpaste containing baking soda and 1% hydrogen peroxide led to significantly whiter teeth . Another study found that brushing with a commercial toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide twice per day led to 62% whiter teeth in six weeks. However, there are some questions regarding the safety of hydrogen peroxide. While heavily diluted concentrations appear safe, strong concentrations or overuse can cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. There’s also concern that high doses may cause cancer, but this has not been proven. One way to use hydrogen peroxide is as a mouthwash before you brush your teeth. Make sure you are using a 1.5% or 3% solution to avoid side effects. The most common concentration of hydrogen peroxide at the drugstore is a 3% solution. You can easily dilute this concentration to 1.5% by mixing equal parts peroxide and water. Another way to use hydrogen peroxide is by mixing it with baking soda to make a toothpaste. Combine 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and gently brush your teeth with the mixture. Limit the use of this homemade paste to a few times per week, as overuse can erode your tooth enamel.

BOTTOM LINE:Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent and can kill bacteria in your mouth. You can use it as a mouthwash or mix it with baking soda to form a whitening toothpaste.

 
4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a disinfectant and natural cleaning product. Acetic acid, which is the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, effectively kills bacteria. The antibacterial property of vinegar is what makes it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth. One study performed on cow teeth found that apple cider vinegar does have a bleaching effect on teeth. However, they also found that vinegar may soften the teeth. The acetic acid in vinegar has the potential to erode the enamel on your teeth. For this reason, you should not use apple cider vinegar every day. You should also 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.

BOTTOM LINE:Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that may help whiten your teeth. However, overuse of vinegar can also erode the enamel on your teeth, so limit its use to a few times per week.

5. Use Fruits and Vegetables

A diet high in fruits and vegetables may be good for both your body and your teeth. While they’re no substitute for brushing your teeth, crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables can help rub plaque away as you chew. In particular, strawberries and pineapple are two fruits that have been claimed to help whiten your teeth.

Strawberries

Whitening your teeth with a strawberry and baking soda mixture is a natural remedy that has been made popular by celebrities. Proponents of this method claim that the malic acid found in strawberries will remove discoloration on your teeth, while the baking soda will buff away stains. However, this remedy has not been completely backed up by science. While strawberries may help exfoliate your teeth and make them appear whiter, they are unlikely to penetrate the stains on your teeth. A recent study found that a strawberry and baking soda mixture produced very little color change in teeth, compared to commercial whitening products. If you decide to give this method a try, limit its use to a few times per week. Despite studies showing that a strawberry and baking soda paste had a minimal effect on tooth enamel, excessive use could cause damage. To use this remedy, smash up a fresh strawberry, combine it with baking soda and brush the mixture on your teeth.

Pineapple

Some claim that pineapple can whiten teeth. A study found that a toothpaste containing bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, was significantly more effective at removing tooth stains than a standard toothpaste. However, there is no evidence that eating pineapples produces the same effect.

BOTTOM LINE:Certain fruits may have properties that help whiten teeth. Regularly consume raw fruits and vegetables to help rub off plaque and keep your teeth looking bright.

6. Prevent Tooth Stains Before They Happen

Your teeth naturally yellow as you age, but there are some things you can do to prevent stains on your teeth.

Limit Staining Foods and Beverages

Coffee, red wine, soda and dark berries are infamous for staining teeth.  That doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid them, but you should limit the amount of time these substances are in contact with your teeth. If possible, drink beverages known to stain teeth out of a straw to prevent direct contact with your teeth. Moreover, brush your teeth soon after consuming one of these foods or beverages to limit their effects on the color of your teeth. Additionally, avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, both of which can cause tooth discoloration.

Limit Sugar in Your Diet

If you want whiter teeth, cut back on your sugar intake. A diet high in sugar supports the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the primary type of bacteria that causes plaque and gingivitis. When you do consume a sugary food, brush your teeth soon after you eat.

Get Plenty of Calcium in Your Diet

Some tooth discoloration is caused by enamel eroding away and exposing the dentin underneath, which is yellow in color. Therefore, anything you do to strengthen the enamel of your teeth will help keep your teeth pearly white. Calcium-rich foods, such as milk, cheese and broccoli, may help protect your teeth from enamel erosion.

BOTTOM LINE:A healthy diet with enough calcium can help prevent your teeth from becoming yellow. Brushing your teeth soon after you eat can also help prevent stains.

7. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Brushing and Flossing

While some tooth discoloration comes naturally with age, it is largely a result of plaque build-up. Regular brushing and flossing can help your teeth stay white by reducing bacteria in your mouth and preventing plaque build-up. Toothpaste gently rubs out stains on your teeth, and flossing removes bacteria that lead to plaque. Regular dental cleanings can also help your teeth stay clean and white.

BOTTOM LINE:Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular cleanings at the dentist’s office, prevent the build-up of yellowing plaque on your teeth.

Other Methods That Are Not Proven

There are a few other natural teeth whitening methods, but there is no scientific evidence to prove that they are effective or safe. Here are some of the unproven methods:

  • Activated charcoal: Brushing with powdered charcoal supposedly pulls toxins from the mouth and removes stains from teeth.
  • Kaolin clay: Proponents of this method claim that brushing with clay helps remove stains from teeth.
  • Fruit peels: Rubbing orange, lemon or banana peels on your teeth is claimed to make them whiter.

Advocates of these methods claim they make teeth significantly whiter, but no studies have evaluated their effectiveness. This also means that they have not been tested for side effects when used on teeth.

BOTTOM LINE:Activated charcoal, kaolin clay and fruit peels may help whiten your teeth, but no studies have evaluated the safety or effectiveness of these methods.

Take Home Message

There are several natural methods to help whiten your teeth. Most of these remedies work by gently removing surface stains on your teeth. However, most dentists offer whitening treatments that are much stronger than these natural remedies. They involve bleaching the teeth, which may be more effective for severe tooth discoloration.

6 Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth

About 18 percent of people report “usually concealing their teeth in photos,” many due to being embarrassed over the yellow appearance of their teeth. Having great teeth is very important in our culture today — hence the growing number of people using white strips and whitening paste as part of their oral care at home or turning to professional in-office whitening treatments. Your teeth are one of the first things people notice; they’re a sign of health as well as confidence. When making a first impression, most worry about having aged, crooked or discolored teeth, which can send a signal that you don’t really care about yourself. Who doesn’t want to have a beautiful smile with white, sparkling teeth? But what’s the best way to whiten your teeth?

Want Whiter Teeth? Try These 6 Natural Solutions.

Some people — no matter how many times they brush their teeth — have teeth stains from habits like drinking coffee or tea and/or smoking. Oftentimes yellow- or brown-tinted teeth can also point to a larger problem: unhealthy gums, thinning enamel and overall poor dental hygiene. Whitening the teeth alone won’t help protect the teeth or gums from cavities or diseases, such as gingivitis — so while white teeth are certainly a nice thing to have, it helps to keep things in perspective.

As one dentist reporting for the Dentistry IQ website puts it, “It is a misnomer that whiter teeth are the same as healthy teeth, since tooth color has very little to do with the health of the tooth. The consumer perception, though, is that white teeth equal a healthy mouth, and perception is reality.” Here’s the good news: Below I explain several home remedies that help naturally whiten your teeth, while also improving overall oral hygiene. The kind of toothpaste you use plus regular brushing and flossing, using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, coconut oil pulling, and applying products like apple cider vinegar can all whiten your teeth naturally — in addition to offering benefits like antibacterial and antiseptic protection.

Teeth become discolored, turning yellow or even a beige or brown color, due to stains that develop on both the hard, white surface of teeth (the enamel) as well as deeper within the teeth’s structure.

Underneath the enamel is a pale brown substance called dentin, which can become more visible when enamel gets thinner — a very common occurrence for many adults. Dental erosion (erosive tooth wear) results from chronic loss of dental hard tissue that is chemically etched away from the tooth surface by acid and/or chelation (without bacterial involvement). What are some of the reasons enamel thins? Risk factors include aging, genetics and intake of foods that promote erosion and/or staining. Many of these same unhealthy habits also increase your risk for gum disease.

While it’s unrealistic to expect that your teeth will remain shiny and very white into older age, many factors that accelerate the rate of teeth discoloration can be avoided.

Some of the reasons teeth turn yellow, beige or brown include:

  • Drinking coffee or tea
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Thinning tooth enamel due to aging
  • Eating a poor diet. This includes consuming lots of processed foods high in acid, including soft drinks/soda, candies or sometimes even certain fruits. Even some supplements can worsen enamel thinning due to their acid content.
  • Suffering from dry mouth (since lack of saliva means less protection for enamel)
  • Breathing through your mouth and having blocked nasal passages. These conditions lower the amount of saliva and prevent the teeth/mouth from remoisturizing
  • Antibiotic use
  • Excessive fluoride intake, especially if this habit starts when you’re a child
  • Genetic factors

6 Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth

1. Brush After Drinking or Eating

The best way to whiten your teeth naturally — though maybe not always the easiest — is to simply brush your teeth with an appropriate toothpaste after eating or drinking something. This takes a lot of persistence and can even be kind of difficult depending on where you are at the time of eating (such as work or school).

Avoiding smoking cigarettes, drinking too much coffee and/or soda, improving your oral hygiene overall, and eating a healthy diet can all also help prevent yellow teeth. If you do regularly drink staining beverages, do so through a straw and try to cut back. Try to drink more plain water after eating or drinking something staining or acidic to help reduce the negative effects.

Most food does not stain teeth, but if you are a coffee drinker or if you smoke, you can pretty much count on having discolored teeth over time due to thinning enamel and/or staining. If this is the case, then having your teeth cleaned every three months may be in order, besides trying some of the natural remedies listed here.

2. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial agent and works great as a total mouth and gum cleaner and keeps the mouth free of germs. A good oral mouth rinse can be made using hydrogen peroxide; use half water and half hydrogen peroxide, swish around in your mouth for about one minute, and then rinse. Research shows hydrogen peroxide keeps breath fresh by eliminating bad bacteria due to acting as a natural antiseptic/antibacterial agent. According to the Dentistry Network, it has many uses in dentistry today, with its most common application to whiten your teeth. It’s also capable of providing natural protection against gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.

For another way to use this product, mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with a small amount of baking soda in order to make a paste that helps remove more plaque from teeth. A review published in the Journal of Dentistry found that in five controlled clinical studies on over 270 subjects those brushing with a baking soda dentifrice (toothpaste or powder) showed greater enhanced plaque removal effectiveness than those who used the non-baking soda tooth cleaning products. Results from measurements of patients’ tooth surfaces (such as facial, lingual, proximal and gingival surfaces) also demonstrated statistically greater reductions in mean plaque scores when using baking soda compared to when using baking soda-free products.

To use these products safely to whiten your teeth, brush your teeth as usual first, making sure to reach the back of the teeth too. Baking soda is a gritty substance like sandpaper, so be careful that you have enough hydrogen peroxide mixed in with the soda — because if you don’t it can very well scrub the enamel right off your teeth. This is a big problem, considering enamel does not grow back. The paste should not be gritty at all; in fact, it should be a runnier paste than a stiff paste. Rub the paste onto your teeth for about 30 seconds, then rinse well. For guidance when using baking soda on your teeth, you can also refer to these directions for making homemade remineralizing toothpaste or homemade probiotic toothpaste.

As an alternative to baking soda, you can use white kaolin clay. Mix the kaolin with a bit of water and apply to your teeth about once a week (don’t overuse to avoid damaging your teeth’s enamel). Rinse well. You may want to try blending in a few drops of clove oil or peppermint oil to improve the flavor. Plus these oils also have antimicrobial properties.

3. Coconut Oil Pulling

Can it be true? Coconut oil to clean your teeth? Just when you thought you heard it all when it comes to coconut oil, along comes the news that coconut oil pulling can serve as a natural teeth whitener. Some people attest to their teeth becoming whiter and overall healthier by applying coconut oil to their teeth after they brush, and most people praise the results of oil pulling.

To oil pull, simply put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it between your teeth for five to 20 minutes, or add a few drops to your toothbrush and brush it on. Another oral care option is to apply coconut oil to a corner of a clean washcloth and rub it on the teeth. A bonus regarding coconut pulling? Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, so it’s great for protecting and cleaning your gums as well.

A study featured in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene found, “Edible oil-pulling therapy is natural, safe and has no side effects. Hence, it can be considered as a preventive therapy at home to maintain oral hygiene.”

4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

It makes sense that apple cider vinegar (ACV), which effectively works as a natural antibiotic and teeth/gum cleanser, would also be able to remove stubborn stains on the teeth. ACV is especially helpful for removing stains due to common culprits like coffee and nicotine (smoking). Studies suggest that for many with dark stains it even works just as well as commercial products as a natural teeth whitener. No wonder some report that after using ACV it looks like you just got your teeth professionally cleaned!

What’s the secret of ACV? It contains compounds, including acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes, which kill germs (dangerous “bad” bacteria) and at the same time foster the growth of beneficial “good” probiotic bacteria. Since it’s naturally acidic, it helps break down plaque or other substances stuck to the teeth. The pH of apple cider vinegar can remove stains from your teeth, which helps naturally whiten your teeth.

The key to using ACV for teeth whitening is to be consistent, using it for at least a month continuously in order to see the best results. However, be careful, as with all acids it can remove the enamel on your teeth if you brush too hard or use too much. After brushing with ACV, you need to brush again with regular toothpaste, preferably a non-fluoride paste, or rinse your mouth out well.

Take your finger and rub apple cider vinegar on your teeth for about one minute. Then rinse your mouth out with water or a hydrogen peroxide rinse.

5. Lemon or Orange Peels

Similarly to apple cider vinegar, some swear that using citrus fruits — including lemon and/or orange peels, or lemon essential oil, which contain beneficial acids — also does the trick for whitening teeth. These foods overall are very healthy, such as benefiting digestion due to regulating levels of stomach acid, but the high acid content can also eventually wear away the enamel on the teeth if used too aggressively. Like with ACV, if you use lemon or orange peel on your teeth, always rinse your mouth afterward to be on the safe side. Use the hydrogen peroxide oral rinse formula described above for best results.

6. Strawberries and Other Healthy Foods

Rumor has it that some celebrities whiten their teeth with healthy foods like strawberries. Who would have thought? Model Tyra Banks even tried this tooth-whitening trick on her show. She simply mashed up about four or five strawberries and rubbed this yummy mixture all over her teeth, then rinsed well afterward.

Berries contain many beneficial antioxidants and other compounds that can benefit the health of your teeth, but they’re not the only ones that keep your teeth looking great as you age. The quality of your diet overall is highly tied to the health of your teeth. Foods that can help keep your gums and teeth strong, plus free from diseases or signs of aging, include teeth-strengthening foods like:

  • sources of calcium like yogurt or raw milk
  • foods high in magnesium and potassium like leafy green veggies, apples or pears
  • cage-free eggs
  • mushrooms
  • sweet potatoes, carrots or squash
  • celery
  • nuts like walnuts or almonds

To take advantage of these healthy foods and to help whiten your teeth without putting chemicals inside your mouth, try making this homemade teeth whitener recipe. It combines stain-fighting ingredients like baking soda, lemon essential oil and mashed berries.

 

Dangers of Conventional Teeth-Whitening Products

Research has shown that teeth-whitening products can damage the teeth by removing too much enamel. Conventional whitening strips, and other whitening products, contain a gel with the active ingredient carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and a waste product called urea. Constant application of whitening strips has been shown to cause erosion of enamel over time and also promote tooth sensitivity, especially when eating hot and cold liquids or acidic foods.

Dentists from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry have stated, “All of the products used in the dentist office are safe and most of the [over-the-counter] products are safe as well, but there are a few that are acidic, and acidic products increase the likelihood of decay if you overuse them.”

While many people are interested in having whiter teeth, some make this an obsession and turn whitening into a borderline addiction. Here’s what one dentist, New York City dentist Dr. Irwin Smigel, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics, had to say about teeth whitening strips:

There are people who can never get enough. I’ve had situations where people have needed root canals because they’ve overbleached, where tissues were damaged. You can wear away some of the enamel and your teeth will become translucent and unnatural. They’ll become blue or blue gray.

The bottom line? Whitening strips should be used in moderation, ideally after you’ve tried natural approaches to taking better care of your teeth.

Teeth bleaching products should only be used under the guidance of your dentist. Remember that whitening treatments may work temporarily but likely not for long. The best way to whiten your teeth is by feeding your body lots of healthy foods (these are also important for strong bones), brushing and rinsing your teeth and gums every day, plus working on omitting coffee, tea and sugary foods in your diet. The very first step you should take: If you smoke, stop smoking! And of course, no matter what your age, show your teeth some love by brushing with a natural, non-irritating toothpaste every day.