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’ve struggled with staining/yellowish teeth for quite some time due to my “rough” enamel (which my hygienist diagnosed, explaining that it tends to grab onto stains). A good cleaning at the dentist’s would always restore my teeth to their normal whiteness but the yellowing would return quickly and no amount of activated charcoal, oil pulling or baking soda would help. I decided to try baking soda brushing followed by coconut oil pulling twice daily after my most recent cleaning, which was just before this past Christmas. And I’m thrilled to report that my regimen is working! My teeth still feel very clean and look shiny and white (in a normal way, not blindingly white of course). I used whitening strips in my 20s to achieve this but they made my teeth horribly sensitive. I’m so happy to have found a solution to this frustrating and embarrassing issue! I simply brush with a pinch of baking soda, concentrating on my front teeth, and then rinse and swish with coconut oil for 10-15 min, morning and night. It really works. 🙂
The baking soda works on the enamel of the teeth to lift away the staining while the citric acid in the lemon juice provides a natural bleaching action. You can make a baking soda paste by adding some water to it, and use on your toothbrush, or you can blend the baking soda with your toothpaste. Step1 Mix baking soda and the juice from a fresh squeezed lime, you want to use enough lime juice to bring the baking soda to the consistency of a paste. You can use baking soda, instead of salt, to make it more effective. Different theories exist on the benefits of adding lemon juice or strawberries to baking soda for teeth whitening. All you have to do is take a little of baking soda and make a paste by mixing it with some water and a dash of salt.
The only thing I don’t particularly care for with Tom’s is that they add XYLITOL to it, which is deadly to dogs if they somehow get hold of it. I just have to make sure our new cat doesn’t get stupid, steal the toothpaste off the bathroom counter and leave it where my dachshunds can find it! She hasn’t shown any homicidal tendencies yet, but with a cat, one never knows………. 😉
Activated charcoal, even though it is black, can actually help whiten teeth naturally. It seems counterintuitive, but charcoal is known for its ability to pull toxins out of things. Stains on your teeth are no different. Dip your toothbrush into activated charcoal powder, brush on your teeth, and leave for a few minutes. Rinse well and follow with your regular toothpaste. (Find activated charcoal powder here.)
Although there are many options to whiten teeth, all of the kits you can purchase over the counter are loaded with harmful chemicals. The chemical tooth whiteners typically contain coal tars, aspartame, aluminum, floride and benzene. The over the counter bleaches also have a very high acidity and are very abrasive which can cause damage to teeth, tooth pain and/or sensitivity, and damage the enamel. Not only are these chemicals harmful to your teeth and gums, the toxic chemicals often leak from the trays or strips and are swallowed or absorbed. As a result of the dangerous side effects and hazards with over the counter whitening, many are now opting to choose methods to naturally whiten teeth.
Not only is it bad for your health, smoking is one of the worst offenders when it comes to staining teeth. Tobacco causes brown stains that penetrate the grooves and pits of tooth enamel. Tobacco stains can be hard to remove by brushing alone. The longer you smoke, the more entrenched the stains become. Smoking also causes bad breath and gingivitis (gum disease), and increases the risk of most types of cancer.
H2O2 shouldn’t be used orally if you have amalgam fillings as it reacts and releases the mercury vapors!! I also have heard that the inside of a banana peel works to whiten (also GREAT for itchy insect bites) and activated charcoal…apply from capsule with a designated brush, leave on for a few minutes then rinse. It is said to stain sink, clothing, brush, but whitens teeth really well…just wear a black top!
Lori Ryman, BS, MS, has been dedicated to researching natural alternatives for the past 15 years. Lori has a background in research methods, health, and nutrition. She started with an Interest in natural alternatives to improve her own health and she continues to share natural DIY projects, recipes and natural alternatives with millions of viewers on healthextremist.com.
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).
If I were in the shoes of a person with this situation, I would exhaust natural methods first before shifting to bleaching. For example, I’d do a ’30 day oil pulling’ commitment for myself. Everyday for a month, I’d oil pull and take ‘before and after’ photos so I could see the changes. That way, if I still wasn’t satisfied with the whiteness, I would know that I had tried less invasive strategies prior to choosing a method that may challenge my teeth.
The antibiotic tetracycline causes gray teeth in children whose teeth are still developing. Antibacterial mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain teeth. Some antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and blood pressure medications cause tooth stains, as can iron and excess fluoride. If bleaching doesn't help, ask your dentist about dental bonding, in which a tooth-colored material is applied to teeth.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is the most common natural teeth whitener. It is an alkaline substance that’s why it helps balance the oral ph level, which in turn promotes healthy teeth and gums. However, there are also disadvantages to using baking soda as teeth whitener. We should be aware of that if we do it repeatedly, it can weaken our teeth’s enamel over time.
Similarly to apple cider vinegar, some swear that using citrus fruits — including lemon and/or orange peels, or lemon essential oil, which contain beneficial acids — also does the trick for whitening teeth. These foods overall are very healthy, such as benefiting digestion due to regulating levels of stomach acid, but the high acid content can also eventually wear away the enamel on the teeth if used too aggressively. Like with ACV, if you use lemon or orange peel on your teeth, always rinse your mouth afterward to be on the safe side. Use the hydrogen peroxide oral rinse formula described above for best results.