Your teeth can say a lot about you. When you smile, they’re your first impression; if you’re confident with the appearance of your teeth, you’ll smile big and show them off. But if you’re insecure, it shows. That’s why the teeth whitening market is such a significant, multi-billion dollar industry. Harsh, corrosive tooth bleach procedures can go for hundreds of dollars at the dentist, and we can even buy home bleach kits for our pearly whites.
But what if we want to whiten naturally, without harmful chemicals? Today I’ll cover a few do’s and don’ts of safe and effective natural teeth whitening — a nice follow up to our hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening article.
DO start with baking soda.
Sodium bicarbonate is a very effective long-term tooth whitener – it’s not harsh, but it will gradually polish your teeth to their best natural shade, breaking up stains from coffee, tea, and wine. It’s good to do once every couple of weeks, and it’s a great way to maintain the upkeep of your natural teeth whitening procedure.
To begin whitening with baking soda, simply do this: combine a teaspoon of baking soda with just a drop of water to make a paste, then brush with it. You shouldn’t do this if you have braces or anything else with orthodontic glue, as baking soda can work to dissolve it.
DON’T use lemon.
This is a tricky one, because many sites recommend it as a quick solution. Yes, it’s a fruit, which does seem “natural,” but lemon is a powerful acid and will destroy the enamel of your teeth. If someone has told you about this, correct them and recommend one of our other tips instead! The same goes for other fruit solutions, like strawberry paste. Brushing with fruit is a disaster for your teeth.
DO, however, snack on lots of…
crunchy vegetables and fruits, like celery, apples, carrots, and such. These foods will help to dislodge plaque and keep food particles from sticking to your teeth and staining them that way. This is more of a preventative measure.
DO buy hydrogen peroxide and…
keep it around in the bathroom. David has a very informative article about rinsing with this stuff and naturally whitening your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is great for keeping your mouth free of infection and controlling bacteria, and it’ll whiten your teeth in the process. Follow his directions and swish with a hydrogen peroxide and water rinse at least a couple of times a week to gradually whiten teeth (you can even do it daily). It’s also good for healing canker sores.
DO use salt.
This works like the baking soda; rubbing coarse table salt on your teeth actually removes discoloration. Try not to swallow the mixture, though, because it can contribute to a high sodium intake.
DON’T neglect your teeth brushing routine…
for even a day! Brushing twice a day is the best way to keep your teeth looking their best and keep you from getting unsightly cavities. This is the most important step of all, and will save you some expensive dentist visits!
For some additional information on using hydrogen peroxide for natural teeth whitening, we’ll try to bring you more resources in future.
Maria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.