5 Natural Ways to Whiten Your Teeth
According to the American Dental Association, tooth whitening can be achieved by either bleaching the color of your teeth, or by physically abrading surface stains to make them lighten or disappear. There are hundreds of teeth whitening products you can buy that use these techniques, but combining natural products can save you the expense. Try a home formula concocted from ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
1. Baking soda, a common ingredient in at-home and dentist-office whitening products, can easily be used right out of the package for a homemade formula. Mix it with a little water to make a paste, and then apply it to your teeth for a few minutes. Or, simply sprinkle it over your toothpaste to add a whitening formula to your regular brushing routine.
2. Lemon juice, like most citruses, has natural bleaching properties. You can create a scrubbing paste by combing lemon juice with salt, leaving it on the teeth for a minute, and then rinsing. Be sure not to leave the paste on your teeth for more than 3 minutes, since citrus can also damage tooth enamel. If the salt mixture is too strong for you, dissolve the lemon juice in water and simply gargle.
3. Orange peel can also help lighten stains. Rub the inside of the peel over teeth. You can also create an abrasive scrub by mixing orange peel pieces and crushed bay leaves to brush over your teeth.
4. Strawberries have astringent properties that can help scrub away stains. The best way to maximize its benefit is to simply chew them well, leave the pulp on your teeth for a minute, then either rinse or swallow.
5. Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in chemical whitening products. While it's not exactly "natural," it's extremely effective and safe to use when diluted with water. Mix it with equal parts water, swish it around your mouth for a minute, then spit it out and rinse your mouth.
Whatever mixture you reach for, just remember that nothing helps whiten teeth better than good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly, and get professional cleanings twice a year. Try to brush soon after drinking stain-creating substances like soda, coffee, tea, or red wine. Not near a tooth brush? Try chomping on an apple. It contains the natural whitening substance malic acid, to help flush bacteria and staining elements.
Ada.org: "Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products" American Dental Association. Web. 2008.
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