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Most toothpastes have ingredients with “scientific jargon” names. I have a personal rule: if I can’t pronounce the name, I don’t use the item. Especially when the packaging states: “If more than is used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Centre immediately.”
According to the Super Pediatric Dentist in San Diego, “the best way to keep your teeth healthy is by drinking enough water and eating leafy vegetables, strawberries, milk and sugarless gum.”
Here are a few natural (read: healthy) ways to whiten your teeth at home.
Certain fruits rub plaque away as you chew them. Strawberries help exfoliate your teeth. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain that is found in a lot of commercial toothpastes.
2. Sea Salt
Sea salt is antibacterial and full of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, sodium and iron, all of which strengthen gums. Keep in mind that whitening is not instant and will take time. Fill a cup of warm water with 1/2 tsp. of sea salt. Swish in mouth for 30 seconds. Spit and rinse.
3. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is the “darling” of health and beauty experts the world over. Whether used as a bodywash, air purifier or an exfoliator. It flushes toxins from our bodies. Dip a wet toothbrush into the charcoal. Brush in gentle circles. Let sit for 3 minutes. Spit and rinse (repeatedly).
4. Lemon Juice + Baking Soda
Lemon juice, because it’s acidic, is a natural bleach for stains. Since baking soda is abrasive, your teeth will whiten in no time. However, this method should be rarely used. Both these ingredients, if used too often, will ruin your enamel.
5. Turmeric Paste
Turmeric is a golden spice that has been around for thousands of years. Its anti-inflammatory properties means it’s wonderful for reducing swollen gums. My teeth are always visibly whiter immediately after rinsing. Dip a wet toothbrush into 1/8 tsp. of turmeric. Brush. Let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse. Brush using your regular toothpaste.
6. Banana Peels
I used a banana peel to whiten my teeth. It worked, and the vitamin D and potassium in bananas “covered” my teeth in strength-fortifying vitamins. (Works best when used with another method here.)
7. Baking Soda
My uncle used to be a truck driver in the ‘70s. He drove for 9-hour stretches a time. He packed a bag full of baking soda with him. He told me it worked even better than toothpaste. Because it’s an abrasive that ruins enamel, which ruins teeth, he warned me not to overuse it.
8. Avoid Foods
Avoid foods and drinks that stain teeth. This means coffee, dark soda, balsamic vinegar, barbecue sauce, red wine and blueberries. Feel free to consume these as you please. Just be aware that they’re a cause for discolored teeth.
9. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling makes regular brushing more effective. Coconut oil fights mouth-grown bacteria (and there are a lot), and reaches parts of your mouth toothbrushes cannot, so people with crowded teeth will benefit greatly from oil pulling. Simply swish 1/2 tsp. of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 minutes. Rinse.
When enamel erodes, tooth discoloration happens. Calcium prevents erosion, helping keep your teeth white. Therefore, include milk, cheese and broccoli into your diet. When used in conjunction with fruits mentioned earlier, you are building a double-barrier of protection for your teeth.
There we have it! 10 natural and healthy ways to inexpensively whiten your teeth. If you have any other ideas, please do diligent research to ensure that your idea is a healthy alternative. There is no excuse for buying tube after tube of harmful tooth paste.