Whitening your teeth can make a huge impact on your smile, making you feel more confident and giving you a brighter, healthier appearance. Unfortunately, the most effective teeth whiteners often contain peroxide which can lead to sensitivity, pain, and gum irritation.
Unlike peroxide, natural teeth whiteners do not penetrate the enamel. Instead, they work on surface stains, potentially whitening them by several shades over a period of time. If you are one of the thousands who experience pain from peroxide whiteners (like myself), consider one of the following alternatives to get your teeth sparkling again.
1) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a wonderful ingredient with both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. When it comes into contact with plaque it breaks it up, removing the yellow coloring it causes and making your teeth appear whiter.
Coconut oil can be found in many natural dental products including toothpaste, mouthwashes, and whitening strips. Overall, coconut oil is an affordable and low-risk option for anyone looking for a natural teeth whitening alternative.
2) Baking Soda
Baking soda whitens teeth in two mains ways. The mechanical action of the grains rubbing against the teeth helps remove plaque and its high alkalinity treats acid-based stains. Since many surface stains are caused by acidic foods and drinks, raising the alkalinity helps remove any stains caused by wine, coffee, and soda.
Although it is low on the abrasiveness scale (which is the scale used to rate the abrasiveness of dental products), dental experts disagree on whether or not it’s too rough for our teeth’s enamel. Nonetheless, it is very popular in both natural and commercial products and is well-liked by those who use it.
3) Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is a black powder that absorbs toxins. In the last few years, it has gained popularity as an ingredient in face masks and as a medicinal treatment for detoxification. Similar to baking soda, activated charcoal whitens teeth through mechanical means. It also binds with and absorbs tannins, biomolecules found in wine, coffee, and tea that stain teeth.
Due to its abrasiveness, products containing charcoal do not have the American Dental Association’s seal of acceptance. There are also warnings about breathing it in when used in pure powder form. To help prevent this, look for products where the charcoal is mixed with other ingredients like a toothpaste.
Miswak is actually a twig that comes from the Arak tree (also known as the toothbrush tree). In some countries, it has been used for thousands of years as a way to clean and whiten teeth. It requires no toothpaste and even has fluoride naturally built-in which is great for repairing tooth enamel.
To prepare a miswak twig, you trim the end and then chew on it to form bristles. You then move it against your teeth in an up and down motion to help loosen plaque and clean the teeth. Generally speaking, it should not replace your toothbrush, but instead, be used as an additional oral hygiene aid.
5) Bentonite Clay
Similar to miswak, bentonite clay has been used in dental care for thousands of years and is a popular ingredient in both natural toothpastes and tooth powders. Bentonite clay has the ability to act like a sponge, pulling toxins and heavy metals from its environment including the inside of your mouth. It also contains minerals like magnesium and calcium which are said to remineralize teeth. And the fact that it is mildly abrasive, helps remove plaque.
Please note when using this clay, do not let it come into contact with metal (such as a storage container or spoon) as it can decrease its effectiveness.
Turmeric is a popular spice used for cooking and medicinal purposes. It has both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which can break up plaque and soothe inflamed gums. Turmeric is also mildly abrasive further enhancing its plaque removal properties. Some people don’t like the taste and it can stain your toothbrush yellow, but it is quickly gaining popularity as a teeth whitening ingredient.
The Pros & Cons Of Natural Teeth Whiteners
In case you’re still undecided, take a look at the pros and cons of natural teeth whiteners to help you determine whether or not they are right for you. If you decide you would prefer to use something stronger, like a peroxide-based whitener, check out my other post: How To Whiten Super Sensitive Teeth At Home. It will show you how to avoid sensitivity when whitening your teeth with stronger whitening agents.
Are you using any of the above ingredients? Have they whitened your teeth? Please let me know in the comments!