Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.
I grew up using Crest with fluoride, brushing within 5 minutes after finishing a meal… (I’ve only ever had three cavities, one of which the dentist gave me when he jabbed his pick into a molar.) After about 30-35 years my teeth began to get really sensitive, so I switched to the various sensitive toothpastes, again with fluoride. About two years ago (I’m almost 59 now), I began reading about fluoride’s effects on teeth and the body, including how FLUORIDE STAINS TEETH YELLOW/BROWN. So I switched to Tom’s no-fluoride toothpaste. I don’t know if it’s just wishful thinking, or an actuality, but I believe my teeth are getting whiter – and I still drink a quart of hot regular black tea (4 teabags’ worth in a Mason jar) every morning! There’s natural fluoride in the tea, but cutting out the fluoride toothpaste has made a world of difference AND my teeth aren’t sensitive anymore, either! I think the sensitivity was also brought on by all that fluoride! Any time I tried to switch off the sensitive pastes to a regular toothpaste, or even between brands of the sensitive types, the inner lining of my mouth would slough off in sheets (as in peeling skin after a bad sunburn), my teeth would just throb, and I’d go back to the sensitive paste. When I went to the Tom’s, my mouth lining was fine, my teeth never hurt, and they seem to be getting whiter! HOORAY!!!
There's another reason to watch what you eat. Some common foods can discolor teeth. Here's an easy way to tell if a food might be at fault: Anything that can stain a white cotton T-shirt can stain teeth, say dentists. Coffee stains teeth, for example. Other top offenders are beverages such as tea, dark sodas, and fruit juices. These teeth stains develop slowly and become more noticeable as we age.
One of the reasons we brush our teeth is to increase the saliva in our mouths to provide our teeth the necessary remineralization that occurs from contact with lots of saliva. However, if we brush with activated charcoal on a daily basis, our concern is the charcoal’s binding ability will tie up the minerals necessary and inhibit this important remineralizing action of saliva.
I’ve appreciated the information in your site. My gums have improved considerably from your help. One thing I’ve come across that helps considerably to remove stains from my teeth ( I drink black tea) is a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. I hesitated to use this at first because of the acid of the lemon but found that when mixed with the baking soda it is very alkaline. Putting the paste on your teeth without brushing helps. There were a few worse stains the went away with a light rub with my finger. I also found a gum surgical technique that is very non invasive for those who want to restore gum tissue quickly and permanently. Better gums right away and minimal pain. It’s called the pinhole surgical technique and the process is shown on YouTube if you do a search.
Further research I’ve done on this showed that activated charcoal can actually be helpful in changing the pH and health of the mouth, and as such is effective in avoiding cavities and killing the bad bacteria present in tooth decay and gingivitis. For this reason, I now suggest and use it as part of my remineralizing protocol for teeth, along with my remineralizing toothpaste.
Do you happen to know the RDA / hardness of activated charcoal? It seems like it would be way too abrasive and hard to brush your teeth with. Perhaps the disparity of reports between users is that some are just swishing it around, while others are brushing it into their teeth, which, at that point, seems like it would not be the actual characteristics of the charcoal doing the whitening, as it would instead be the abrasive quality of it in general. (After all, diamonds are made of carbon too…)
A home tooth-whitening kit contains carbamide peroxide, a bleach that can remove both deep and surface stains and actually changes your natural tooth color. If you have coffee-stained teeth, a tooth-bleaching kit can help. With some kits, you apply a peroxide-based gel (with a small brush) to the surface of your teeth. In other kits, the gel is in a tray that molds to the teeth. The tray must be worn daily (for 30 to 45 minutes) for a week or more.
Whitening strips revolutionized the industry 10 years ago, as researchers figured out how to impregnate hydrogen peroxide on a polyethylene strip that the user places directly on the teeth. This product has existed in several iterations over the years. The various types of strips have differed in terms of the level of hydrogen peroxide in the gel to modifications in the shape and thicknesses of the strip. The efficacy is excellent for an OTC product, but you must be cautious not to burn your fingers or rest the strip on the gums, as this will cause irritation over time. If you are patient and compliant, you’ll see results in a few weeks. This method is best if you have two weeks to whiten.
Ask your dentist about teeth whitening options. Your dentist can help you find the right whitening product or procedure to help you get a brighter smile. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration, especially if you have brown or gray hued teeth. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth, the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding. Some other ways to get a whiter smile are:
Dietary supplements are also available at most pharmacies for people with low vitamin D. Children under 12 months of age need at least 400 IU of vitamin D. Children over 1 year and most adults need at least 600 IU, including pregnant and breastfeeding women. People above the age of 70 may need up to 800 IU of vitamin D. Ask your doctor before giving vitamin D supplements to an infant or child.
I have deep sockets and my dentist told me every 3 months I need to rinse with peroxide to get food out so my gums wouldn’t hurt. I started doing this and at my next visit my dentist asked me what I was using to whiten my teeth and I told her nothing because I didn’t think I was. After my next 6 month visit I told her what I was doing as far as using the peroxide as she told me to and she said thats why your teeth are so white. So Proxide whiten your teeth.
Tooth-whitening strips will help get rid of tooth stains. These strips are very thin, virtually invisible, and are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. You wear them a few minutes daily for a week or more. Results are visible in just a few days, and last at least a year. The results with strips are not as dramatic as with whitening kits, but the strips are easy to use and pretty much foolproof.
Thank you for stopping by to offer your input to this conversation. Thank goodness we all don’t want the same thing, right? I suppose I’m much more cautious and dubious of the dental profession than you express here. Given that the dental profession still sings the praises of fluoride and mercury amalgam fillings despite tremendous research proving their dangers, I’m frankly not sure the reasoning you pose here is sound (from my humble, yet very opinionated opinion).
Fight plaque with coconut oil and mint leaves. Coconut oil is a natural emulsifier which helps clean your teeth, reduce stains and fight off plaque and cavity causing bacteria. Mix a small amount of mashed peppermint or spearmint leaves (approx. 1–2 grams) with two to three tablespoons of coconut oil to use as a whitening paste or mouthwash. The peppermint leaves help keep your breath fresh throughout the day.
Drink fluoride-rich water. Fluoridated drinking water helps wash away food debris and bacteria and increase saliva production, while the fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel thus preventing tooth decay. However you should test yourself before this, as fluoride in high concentrations can be poisonous. People with sensitive teeth especially benefit from drinking cool, fluoridated water, since it also reduces inflammation in the gums.
Teeth bleaching products should only be used under the guidance of your dentist. Remember that whitening treatments may work temporarily but likely not for long. The best way to whiten your teeth is by feeding your body lots of healthy foods (these are also important for strong bones), brushing and rinsing your teeth and gums every day, plus working on omitting coffee, tea and sugary foods in your diet. The very first step you should take: If you smoke, stop smoking! And of course, no matter what your age, show your teeth some love by brushing with a natural, non-irritating toothpaste every day.