One of the most noticeable parts of your smile is the color of your teeth. Most people associate white teeth with attractiveness and health, but there are tangible benefits to having whiter teeth as well. According to a study commissioned by Crest Whitestrips, having white teeth can lead to greater success in love and work. A few of the key findings from the study are highlighted below.
- In a job interview simulation, “more than half of the study participants were more likely to be hired (58%) and received larger salary offers (53%) after their teeth had been whitened.” Candidates with whiter teeth were also viewed as being more professional and confident.
- In a first date simulation, participants showed a greater interest in continuing a date after teeth had been whitened. Study participants who had their teeth whitened were also perceived as being more outgoing.
Chances are that you want to reap the benefits of whiter teeth too, and several ways to whiten your teeth naturally at home are described below. However, not all of these techniques are scientifically proven, and you should follow the suggested guidelines for frequency and use to avoid damaging your teeth.
Yellow or stained teeth can also be an indicator of serious dental issues or be related to factors you can’t control (such as aging, genetics, or childhood trauma to the teeth). Before whitening your teeth, visit a dentist to ensure that your teeth are in good shape and no underlying issues need to be addressed.
Finally, practicing good dental hygiene (such as regular brushing and flossing) is critical as no teeth whitening methods will be effective without it. Now, without further ado, here are some of the best ways to naturally whiten your teeth.
Table of Contents
1. Avoid or Minimize the Impact of Foods and Activities that Stain Your Teeth
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This piece of advice definitely applies when it comes to minimizing teeth stains. Some foods notorious for staining teeth are coffee, tea, soda, dark berries and red wine. Of course, it may be difficult to give these up entirely. (Can you imagine starting your day without a cup of coffee? Me neither!)
However, you can minimize their impact by drinking through a straw, drinking water immediately afterward, and brushing your teeth 30 minutes after eating or drinking these foods. Other teeth staining culprits are smoking and tobacco use, which should give you yet another reason to quit these unhealthy habits.
2. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking soda is useful for so many things—cleaning, cooking, deodorizing—and it also helps whiten teeth. But did you know that hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent? To heighten the efficiency of both ingredients, you can mix them together to create your own natural toothpaste. Experts recommend combining 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and stirring until it forms a paste that isn’t too gritty. After brushing your teeth and leaving it on for a minute, rinse thoroughly with water. Only use this combination two or three times per week to minimize damage to enamel.
In addition, make sure you’re using a 1% to 1.5% concentration of hydrogen peroxide. (A 3% solution can be diluted by mixing it with an equal amount of water.) If the taste turns you off, consider adding a drop or two of peppermint extract or purchasing a manufactured baking soda toothpaste that has added flavoring. Arm & Hammer offers four types of baking soda toothpaste—including one that incorporates hydrogen peroxide.
3. Oil Pulling
The technique of rinsing your mouth with oil was derived from Ayurvedic medicine—an ancient Indian system of medicine. Besides whitening teeth, oil pulling also helps reduce tooth decay and gingivitis. The technique is simple: swish your mouth with oil for 15 to 20 minutes before spitting and rinsing. Although any type of oil can be used (including olive oil and sesame oil), most people prefer coconut oil, which has a sweeter taste. Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature and will “melt” in your mouth, you should avoid spitting it into drains as it might resolidify and clog pipes. To get the full benefit, you have to swish for the full 15 to 20 minutes, which might be too time-consuming for some people.
The three methods discussed above have all been proven to whiten teeth and even enhance dental health when used properly, and most dentists support and advocate their usage. The following methods are a bit more controversial and don’t have scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness. However, some people swear by them, so I’ve included them as well.
If you end up using one or more of these teeth whitening techniques, please share your experiences in the comments.