This is an original post I wrote for MindBodyGreen, and I thought in case you missed it, I’d also share it here.
I love the idea of a bright and white smile, but not just for cosmetic reasons: Healthy teeth and gums are indicative of our wellbeing. Our mouths are often referred to as the window into our overall health. Many diseases can be prevented through proper oral care (namely by brushing and flossing daily).
Until recently, I’d always believed that the only way to a sparkling smile was with toxic chemicals and laser beams. After some research and a bit of trial and error, I’ve uncovered the best, natural ways to achieve a brighter, whiter and healthier smile.
Using these ingredients, tips and tools, your teeth will sparkle in no time. (I got results within a few days, but if you’re a coffee or red wine drinker, it may take a week or so to see a noticeable difference.)
1. Baking Soda
This is a staple in any nontoxic aficionado’s cupboard. Adding baking soda into your normal oral care routine for one week can bring about a noticeable change in colour. While it removes stains on everything from the counter to clothing, it’s also just as great on teeth.
It’s a simple: for one week, I put my natural toothpaste on the brush and then dip the brush in baking soda. (I keep a little dish of baking soda in the bathroom to make this easier.) Start with the front teeth to ensure that the most visible ones are targeted with the baking soda. Be sure that you give your teeth a break from baking soda after a week of using this technique. (While gentle, baking soda can break down tooth enamel over time.)
2. Oil Pulling
This ancient Ayurvedic treatment
is used for a variety of health reasons, and also benefits your oral health. Oil pulling both whitens your teeth and helps you to maintain pink and healthy gums. It’s an easy addition to any morning routine.
Beyond the benefits of whiter teeth, oil pulling is also great for overall detoxing and body cleansing. I oil pull every morning by swishing 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in my mouth for 15 minutes. After spitting (never swallow the oil) I rinse out my mouth and follow with brushing my teeth. Unlike the baking soda, oil pulling can be done daily, in fact, I highly recommend it!
Despite their red colour, these berries have a whitening effect on the teeth. The natural malic acid found in strawberries actually helps to remove stains naturally and easily, while the Vitamin C found in strawberries is a great plaque remover. Munching on berries is a tasty way to help your teeth sparkle.
4. Rinse after Eating
This is an important tip for those who drink dark beverages or eat brightly colored foods. Blueberry smoothies can stain your teeth just as much as coffee and red wine, so be sure that after enjoying these, you rinse your mouth out with water. If that isn’t possible, drink some water and lightly swish it around your mouth to prevent any stains which might begin to set.
5. Electric Toothbrush
One of my all time favourite “natural beauty investments” is my electric toothbrush. Because it gently removes stains and plaque in a way that no manual brush can, I find my whitening efforts stay longer. In fact using an electric toothbrush can gently remove old stains without damaging your tooth enamel – it’s like a mini daily dentist cleaning. While it may seem like an investment initially, the electric toothbrush can save you many dollars in the future as it removes plaque better than manual brushing and is gentler on the gums.
After a week you’ll be smiling, and not only because you want to show of your beautiful pearly whites.