By Sophia Hussain
We all want a ‘Hollywood smile’, and to get one, of course you should avoid stain-causing foods and drinks, including red wine, blueberries, coffee, and black liquorice. Smoking is also notorious for turning teeth a sickening yellow, and age does yellow teeth, too.
Indulged in a few too many espressos or glasses of vino but still want a whiter grin without using toxic hydrogen peroxide or questionable lasers to get it?
Luckily, there are myriad natural teeth whitening remedies to supplement your daily tooth-brushing routine, all of which will give you gleaming pearly whites in 14 days. However, be warned: these remedies will not demonstrate brilliant results on: tooth crowns, veneers, teeth stained by smoking or certain medications such as antibiotics, and they do take some time to work.
For an extra teeth-whitening boost for the ladies, finish off with wearing a blue-based organic lipstick or lipgloss on your lips in either pink or red hues. Never skip this important step either: remember to floss in-between your teeth to prevent stains from accumulating, and visit your dentist for regular cleanings of your pearly whites.
Ready? Here are our Top 7 Natural Teeth Whiteners.
1. Baking Soda
This classic formula has stood the test of time because it works, but it does taste terrible. Put about 1t of baking soda in your palm and mix with water or even better, lemon juice, to form a paste, then apply on a toothbrush. Use alone or on top of a layer of toothpaste for an extra whitening boost, and brush your teeth with this paste for at least two minutes. Rinse off with plenty of water. Note: This WILL remove surface stains like wine and coffee, but it WON’T change the natural hue of your teeth. Also, this is abrasive, so brush very gently.
2. Strawberry Mash
Apparently, smoker Catherine Zeta Jones whitens her tobacco stained teeth with strawberries. Tyra Banks also tried this trick on her show – she got a handful of fresh strawberries, mashed them up and applied the paste on her teeth, leaving the paste there for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Her teeth looked white as snow, but they did before anyway. It’s worth trying this because a) it’s gentle b) it tastes great! c) you’re meant to see results right away.
Miswhat? you may ask…well, this original organic toothbrush is a teeth cleaning stick which is comprised of a twig from the Arak tree grown in the Arabian Peninsula. Arabs have long chewed on miswak to clean their teeth, and thanks to globalization, miswak can now be purchased locally too. Unlike a synthetic toothbrush, one end of the twig has exposed stiff fibres, that is softened by gently chewing between the teeth. Use the softened end to brush the stains away with, which also ingeniously acts as an organic toothpaste too.
4. Orange or Banana Peel
The enzymes in orange and banana peels remove stains from teeth. Here’s how: rub only the white side of the inside of the orange or banana peel (ensuring there is no fruit sticking to the peel either) against your teeth for about two minutes, then brush your teeth as usual. Do this once a day for two weeks to see results.
5. Chewing Apples and Celery
The sweetest tasting remedy is apples, which contains malic acid – an enzyme to help remove stains (and an ingredient found in cosmetic home teeth whitening products too). All you have to do is eat the fruit, as this allows the malic acid to naturally brush away the stains from the teeth. Definitely follow-up with brushing your teeth afterwards as the naturally-occurring sugar in the fruit may cause tooth decay if left to accumulate. Alternatively, chew on some celery: the cellulose fibres brush away teeth stains with every chew. A perfect palette cleanser after a café break! Of course this won’t transform your teeth into Britney Spears’ overnight, but it will keep stains at bay.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
It makes sense that apple cider vinegar works as a mouth cleaner stain on the teeth remover, especially from coffee and nicotine. It has been proven that it does work as a natural teeth whitener too but you have to be consistent – it takes a least a month of continuous use to see results. Some say that using apple cider vinegar gives the same effect as having your teeth professionally cleaned, but be careful – as with all acids, it can remove the enamel on your teeth if you do this too often. After brushing with ACV, you will need to brush gently with regular toothpaste, preferably a non fluoride one, or rinse your mouth out really well.
7. Coconut Oil ‘Pulling’
I’ve never tried this myself, but there are people who swear by this method, and it also has a detoxing effect on the body. No wonder it’s seriously enjoying a huge surge of popularity! There are even ‘pulling kits’ on the market now, but you don’t need those. Just take a tablespoon of pure coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for twenty minutes, twice a week. It seems like a lot of time, but apparently the properties of the oil not only eradicate stains, but ‘suck out’ toxins from the tongue, leaving your teeth whiter and your overall health stronger.
Images: Wikicommons and food-hacks.com