Have you been looking to whiten your teeth but haven’t had time to get into the dentist? At Salvatore Dental, serving Ballston Spa and Malta, NY, we want our patients to achieve optimal oral health and a beautiful smile. 

That’s why in today’s blog, we’ll be discussing some natural teeth whitening tips to keep your smile pristine when you can’t make it into the dentist, and you’d rather avoid at-home whitening products.

The Classics

When you’re looking to naturally whiten your teeth, it’s vital to remember that brushing and flossing are the tried and true methods that create the foundation of clean, healthy, and white teeth.

In general, brushing and flossing remove bacteria from your teeth while the toothpaste works to pull up and remove stains from your teeth that build up over time.

By brushing and flossing routinely, you’re working to keep your mouth and teeth clean, which will ultimately keep your teeth whiter in the long run. 

Brush with Baking Soda

To further the effects of teeth whitening provided through regular tooth brushing, use baking soda. You can either utilize a toothpaste that contains baking soda, or you can mix a teaspoon of baking soda with about two teaspoons of water, and use the paste as you would a commercial toothpaste.

There are two major tooth-whitening factors that make baking soda a great natural teeth whitener. Firstly, baking soda has abrasive qualities, which means that as you use it to brush, it’s extremely effective at scrubbing away both plaque build ups as well as surface stains on your teeth. 

Additionally, baking soda fosters an alkaline environment, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. 

Again, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, even if you’re using baking soda is not an overnight fix for discolored teeth. Proper, routine brushing is simply all the maintenance your mouth requires to stay clean, healthy, and beautiful.

Utilize Hydrogen Peroxide

Before we get into the details of using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth, we need to state that overuse can lead to enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and gum irritation. Additionally, there have not been studies looking into the effects of hydrogen peroxide exclusively, however, there is research that shows toothpastes that contain hydrogen peroxide whitens teeth significantly more than  toothpastes without hydrogen peroxide.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss how hydrogen peroxide helps whiten teeth as well as how you can use it to whiten your teeth. 

Hydrogen peroxide is extremely effective at killing bacteria, so like baking soda, it assists in removing bacteria from your mouth and thus, creates a cleaner, healthier environment for your teeth. Additionally, the hydrogen peroxide can pass into the tooth where it breaks down the complex molecules that are the cause of tooth discoloration. 

To use hydrogen peroxide at home for a natural tooth whitener, there are a few methods you can utilize. As with baking soda, there are plenty of tooth cleaning products you can buy commercially that contain hydrogen peroxide. 

However, you can also use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash prior to brushing and flossing, or you can use it in place of water when making a baking soda toothpaste. Just remember, if you’re using hydrogen peroxide, make sure its either 3% or 1.5% strength, and use occasionally throughout the week. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Similarly to hydrogen peroxide, you can use apple cider vinegar to whiten and clean teeth. This is because apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which kills bacteria in the mouth. There are also studies that have shown whitening effects resulting from applying apple cider vinegar to teeth.

That being said, because of apple cider vinegar’s acid composition, it has the potential to soften or erode tooth enamel if used excessively. 

In order to use apple cider vinegar to whiten teeth, use it as a mouthwash for about a minute, and then rinse your mouth with water. Do this sparingly, one to two times a week, and discontinue use if you find your teeth are feeling sensitive. 

Oil Pulling 

Oil pulling is essentially just swishing about a tablespoon of any type of oil in your mouth. Although the evidence for its tooth whitening properties are largely anecdotal, there is no denying that the practice is effective at reducing the presence of bacteria in one’s mouth. 

Studies show the benefits of oil pulling on oral health. As we’ve stated numerous times above, removing plaque and bacteria from the mouth not only improves the health of your teeth but also enables you to have whiter teeth as the bacteria and plaque do not get the chance to cause discoloration. 

In order to utilize oil pulling, simply take a tablespoon of oil, place it in your mouth, and swish it around your mouth and through your teeth for fifteen to twenty minutes. After the time is up, spit the oil into the trash and rinse your mouth! 

What’s great about this method is it does not pose any risk of eroding enamel or causing gum irritation, so it can be done daily.

Not sure what to use? Coconut oil is popular for oil pulling due to its flavor and health properties. Additionally, sesame oil has been used for oil pulling since its beginnings.

Consider Your Diet 

What you eat contributes to the whiteness of your teeth. There are foods that can assist in whitening teeth, and there are foods and drinks that cause tooth discoloration. 

Foods that Help

First and foremost, by eating fruits and vegetables, not only are you doing your body a favor, but you’re helping your teeth. The physical composition of fruits and vegetables actually help to rub plaque off your teeth as you eat them. 

There is also a trend of using strawberries and baking soda paste to brush your teeth, with the belief that it whitens teeth. This has not been definitively proven, but there are plenty of people who swear by the method. Additionally, it’s thought that pineapple has tooth whitening properties as it contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is found in some toothpastes. Again, this has not been proven, but there is a body of anecdotal evidence that suggests it’s, at the very least, worth a try!

Beyond fruits and veggies, you can eat foods that contain calcium in an attempt to strengthen enamel and prevent erosion, thus maintaining healthier, whiter teeth. 

Foods the Don’t Help

There are foods that will stain your teeth, so if you’re concerned with whitening your teeth or keeping them white, it may be best to avoid them. That being said, for beverages that are known to stain teeth, you can use a straw to consume them in an attempt to avoid them coming in contact with and potentially staining your teeth. You can also brush your teeth promptly after consuming these foods to prevent potential stains from setting. 

Tooth staining substances include:

  • Coffee
  • Red Wine
  • Dark berries
  • Ketchup/Tomato Sauce
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Black Walnuts
  • Soda
  • Tea
  • Tobacco Products (chewing/smoking)

Along with substances that have a tendency to stain teeth, foods with high sugar contents negatively affect tooth health by promoting the growth of plaque and bacteria. 

Whiten Your Teeth, One Way Or Another

While these methods are not sure-fire ways to get white teeth overnight, they can move mountains in terms of maintaining a clean mouth and gradually whitening teeth. However, if you’re planning on using any of these whitening methods, remember that it’s important you use them sparingly if there is a potential for enamel erosion or gum irritation. 

And if you’re looking to whiten your teeth without the trial and error required to perfect these methods, or if you’re looking for an immediate tooth whitening solution, come into Salvatore Dental, Malta’s best dental practice.

We offer a variety of tooth whitening services and would be happy to help you on your journey to a perfect smile! 

Call us today to schedule your appointment.