According to statistics, in 2015, Americans spent more than 11 billion dollars on teeth whitening as well as additional 1.4 billion dollars on at-home whitening products. When it comes to teeth whitening, there is a vast variety of products that we can choose from. Unfortunately, over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain harmful chemicals.
Yellow teeth can be caused by numerous reasons. For example, specific foods can stain the enamel, i.e. the outer layer of the teeth. Also, build up of plaque increases the risk of the teeth going yellow. Often, the teeth can become yellow if the hard enamel has eroded away and the dentin underneath is revealed. Dentin is a naturally yellow and bony tissue which is located underneath the enamel.
How to Whiten the Teeth without Being Exposed to Chemicals
This traditional Indian folk remedy has been used to better oral hygiene and to remove toxins from the body. Oil pulling is swishing oil in the mouth cavity with the aim to get rid of bacteria which increases the risk of plaque and yellow teeth. Traditionally, Indians used sunflower or sesame oil; however, any other oil will work. For example, coconut oil which has a pleasant taste and it’s rich in different health benefits. It has lauric acid which can lower inflammation and destroy bacteria. According to a recent study, daily swishing with sesame oil lowered one of the primary types of bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque and gingivitis within a week.
Lack of Studies
Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies that can prove the whitening effect of oil pulling on the teeth. Nevertheless, this method is harmless and worth the try.
How to Do It
Put a tbsp of coconut oil in the mouth and swish it throughout the mouth cavity for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, spit it into the toilet or a trashcan since it could go back to solid form in the drain pipes and cause a clog. This method doesn’t expose the teeth to acid or other eroding ingredients.
Fruits and veggies
With certainty, they’re not a substitute for regular teeth brushing; raw fruits and veggies can help you rub away plaque as you chew them. Pineapple and strawberries are considered to be the most effective fruits for teeth whitening.
A mixture of baking soda and strawberries will remove teeth discoloration and any remaining stains. Make sure to limit the use of this remedy to several times per week. Just smash a fresh strawberry and mix it with half a tsp of baking soda and brush the teeth with the mixture.
According to a study, toothpaste with bromelain, an enzyme in pineapples, was more beneficial in eliminating stains on the teeth than regular toothpaste.
Brushing and flossing
Even though some tooth discoloration comes with age, often times, it’s a consequence of plaque buildup. Hence, to lower bacteria in the mouth and prevent build-up of plaque, you need to brush and floss the teeth daily.
Apple cider vinegar
The active ingredient in ACV, acetic acid, has the power to destroy bacteria and the antibacterial properties will cleanse the mouth cavity and whiten the teeth. A study has shown that this vinegar has a bleaching effect on the teeth. However, the acetic acid can also erode the enamel therefore, it shouldn’t be used daily. Prior to use, dilute it with water and swish in the mouth for couple of minutes and then spit it off and rinse the mouth.
Prevention Is Vital
Limit the intake of staining foods and drinks
Specific foods and drinks like coffee, red wine, dark berries, and sodas are known to stain the teeth. Therefore, their intake needs to be limited. An effective way to avoid staining from drinks is to drink from a straw when possible. Chewing tobacco and smoking significantly contribute to yellowish teeth.
Limit the intake of sugar
Excessive amounts of sugar encourage the growth of bacteria that cause plaque and gingivitis. Therefore, brush the teeth after consumption of sweet food.
Foods rich in calcium like milk, cheese, and broccoli may protect the teeth from enamel erosion and maintain the whiteness of the teeth.
Other Unproven Methods
- Activated charcoal- it supposedly removes toxins from the mouth and eliminates teeth stains
- Kaolin clay-brushing with this clay is believed to remove teeth stains
- Fruit peels– rubbing the teeth with orange, banana, and lemon peels is believed to make the teeth whiter
For severe teeth discoloration, consult your dentist.