7 Surprising Ways To Whiten Your Teeth Naturally
Sure, you want your smile to look good, but professional or OTC teeth whiteners can come with some pretty unappealing side effects: The harsh bleaches in those products can cause gum irritation, bluish enamel, and uneven whiteness. Luckily, there are plenty of safe and effective DIY methods. Click through the slideshow to see our recommendations.
The article7 Ways To Whiten Your Teeth Naturally originally ran on RodalesOrganicLife.com.
Activated charcoal is a reheated, oxidized version of the stuff you're using in your backyard grill, and it's perfectly safe to ingest. When you apply it to your teeth, it binds to stain-causers, such as coffee, wine, and plaque, and lifts them off your choppers. However, dentists warn that you shouldn't brush with activated charcoal every day since its abrasiveness could wear away enamel (keep it to once or twice a week). Instead, mix it into a paste with water, dab on teeth, and let it sit for 3 minutes before rinsing.
It may sound weird, but you can use banana peels in place of your whitening strips. Banana peels contain a lot of potassium, magnesium, and manganese, all of which help to remove stains from teeth. To try this method, choose a perfectly ripe banana (not green and no brown spots), and cut a small rectangle out of the peel. Once a week, rub the inside of the peel over your teeth for about 2 minutes and then brush like usual.
Baking soda is one of the most powerful natural stain fighters around, so it's no surprise that you'll find it as a main ingredient in lots of toothpastes. (We like .) You can whip up your own homemade toothpaste—just don't use it each time you brush. Baking soda is an abrasive that can irritate gums and wear away tooth enamel, so only use it a couple of times a week as an extra polish.
This simple cleanser is a natural bleaching agent, making it a popular ingredient in commercial whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Many DIY whitening methods only remove surface stains, but hydrogen peroxide will actually bleach the color of your natural tooth for a longer-lasting effect. Although hydrogen peroxide can be potentially harmful to your mouth in high levels, it's perfectly safe in low concentrations of about 2 to 3% (which is what you'll get in those brown bottles from the drugstore). To brighten up your teeth, rinse with a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water—just make sure not to swallow it. It's safe enough to use daily, unless, of course, you experience any kind of sensitivity; in that case, scale back to just a couple times a week.
Video: 7 Surprising Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide
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