For a lot of people, their beauty routine includes teeth whitening. But instead of going to a dentist for an expensive procedure or using whitening strips that take away tooth enamel, there are cheaper and healthier solutions for a pearly white smile.
From snacking on raw nuts and seeds to eating malic acid-rich strawberries and watermelon, there's more than one home remedy to help whiten your teeth.
Swap Soda For Hard Cheese (Yes, You Read That Right)
While sodas tend to weaken tooth enamel, cheese has the opposite effect! According to Listerine, "[cheeses] contain lactic acid and the enamel-fortifying mineral calcium, which strengthen teeth while also whitening them."
"Chewing on cheese also prompts production of saliva, which washes away staining food particles." You heard the company! If you want some help whitening your smile, it's time to up your charcuterie board game by adding even more hard cheeses to the platter.
Shiitake Mushrooms Contain Bacteria-Killing Sugar
Sugar isn't great for oral health or teeth whitening, as it allows bacteria to grow like a fungus. Shiitake mushrooms are a certain type of fungus containing a particular type of anti-bacteria sugar, lentinan.
While most sugar promotes bacterial growth, lentinan has the opposite effect. It's actually quite difficult for bacteria to grow anywhere lentinan touches. As a result, shiitake mushrooms promote oral health and a whiter smile by preventing plaque-building bacteria!
Water, Water, And Some More Water
In this case, the phrase "too good to be true" is the wholehearted truth. Drinking water greatly helps improve oral hygiene, including whitening teeth. According to The University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry, "Water is a great mouth cleaner because it washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat."
"It also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth." And less oral bacteria means a whiter smile!
Oil Pulling With Coconut Oil
Oil pulling is a simple, safe, and effective way to help whiten teeth. To start, grab some coconut oil or oil of your choosing, and pour about a tablespoon in your mouth. Then, swish the oil around for 15-20 minutes.
This "procedure" has many benefits, including a reduction in cavities, healthier gums, better breath, a reduction in gum sensitivity, and a reduction in plaque and bacteria that will help bring teeth back to their natural color, aka white.
Strawberries Have Malic Acid That Aids In Bleaching
It's always nice when tasty foods aid in a beauty routine. In this case, juicy strawberries help whiten teeth! The delicious fruit contains malic acid, a compound found in various commercial products, and is said to aid in bleaching teeth.
Of course, eating a bushel of strawberries might not be the most effective or even the quickest way to brighten a smile, but it might be one of the yummier options!
Apple Cider Vinegar And Some Baking Soda
While apples are said to have properties that will help whiten teeth, a better strategy is ditching the fruit and reaching for a bottle of apple cider vinegar. A natural bleach and world-class cleanser, apple cider vinegar helps remove bacteria from the mouth, bringing teeth back to their more natural white coloring.
For an even better clean, though, think about adding a bit of baking soda into the mix. The coarse agent will aid in scrubbing away any stains, whether from coffee or wine!
Orange Peels Are Natural Teeth Whiteners
After eating an orange, don't be so quick to throw away the peel. Orange peels actually contain a few various properties that help aid in oral health and teeth whitening.
According to Tieken Smiles Dentistry, "In the case of orange peels to help whiten teeth, it is the vitamin C, pectin, limonene, gluconate, and soluble fiber found in the white part of the orange peel that helps whiten the teeth. These compounds can act as natural teeth whiteners."
Milk Reduces The Chance Of Staining
High in calcium and lactic acid, milk has been proven to be a great natural teeth whitening agent. Not only that, but a protein in milk called casein helps reduce the chance of staining.
According to a tea vs. milk staining experiment conducted by Dr. Craig Cardon from Northfield Family Dentistry, "milk significantly reduced tea's ability to darken teeth and was even more effective at protecting the color of teeth than whitening toothpaste."
Cauliflower Helps Produce Extra Saliva
The good news for those health enthusiasts out there: cauliflower is healthy, nutritious, and a natural way to buff away stubborn tooth stains. The vegetable's "crunch factor" helps remove surface stains from the teeth while producing extra saliva to help combat bad bacteria and wash away plaque.
According to medical nutritionist Lisa Cohn, "[cauliflower] makes your mouth produce more saliva, which washes away debris and keeps bacteria and plaque down."
Papayas Contain A Helpful Enzyme
Papaya is another fruit that can help promote oral health and teeth whitening. This particular fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme called papain, a compound that is able to breakdown the bad proteins staining the surface of teeth.
According to the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, "the enzyme [papain] helps to remove surface stains on people's teeth when compared to people who did not come into contact with the enzymes."
Carrots Act Like A Mini Toothbrush
Carrots are very beneficial when it comes to oral hygiene. Not only are they rich in Vitamin A, but the vegetable also increases the strength of tooth enamel. This is a great thing, considering weak enamel can make teeth cavity-prone and sensitive.
But, the "whitening" property of carrots comes from nothing more than its "crunch factor" that makes the vegetable act like a pseudo toothbrush, scraping away bacteria and other stains and leaving a person's mouth full of pearly whites.
Watermelon Is Full Of Malic Acid
Juicy, refreshing, and one of the coolest summer fruits around, watermelon also helps whiten teeth! Full of malic acid, eating crunchy watermelon not only releases the whitening agent but also helps promote the production of saliva, something that aids in washing away plaque and bacteria.
Not to mention, the fruit is practically flavored water, another natural cleanser that helps teeth stay healthy, strong, and white by washing away food particles that would otherwise cause cavities and decay.
Salmon Is A Superfood That Aids In Oral Health
Salmon is a superfood that aids in more than one health benefit, including oral health! Rich in calcium and Vitamin D, salmon helps maintain gums and teeth, keeping them strong and nutrient-rich.
The particular vitamin found in salmon, D, aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, two nutrients that aid in maintaining a beautiful, strong, and whiter smile. See, it's a total superfood that should be on the dinner menu at least once a week.
Celery's "Crunch Factor" Is A Natural Cleanser
Celery as a teeth whitener might sound a bit strange, but it is, in its own quirky way. Due to the vegetable's "crunch factor," celery has a way of increasing the amount of saliva produced in the mouth, a natural self-cleaning agent.
On top of that, the crunchy quality of celery has a way of brushing off pesky bacteria on teeth, almost like an edible toothbrush. Not to mention, celery helps combat bad breath. All around, celery is a win-win for oral hygiene!
Eat Raw Broccoli
Abrasive foods such as nutritious, crisp, raw broccoli have many benefits to oral health, including scrubbing away pesky bacteria and brightening teeth to their natural white color. Aside from broccoli's "crunch and scrub" that aids oral hygiene, the vegetable is also very iron-rich.
Iron helps protect tooth enamel, strengthening it and making teeth less prone to complications such as cavities. Pretty much, the next time you find yourself at the grocery store, buy a bunch of broccoli!
Pineapple Contains A Natural Stain Remover
The next time you bite into a pineapple, remember that your teeth are thanking you! This is because pineapple contains a natural stain remover, the enzyme bromelain. This particular enzyme is actually present in more than one commercial toothpaste brand, as it helps remove plaque and proteins from the surface of teeth.
As a result, pineapple helps prevent both cavities and tooth erosion while helping a person maintain a healthy and white smile.
Basil Can Be Used In Homemade Toothpaste
Interestingly, basil can be used for more than making a delicious and fragrant pasta sauce. The herb can be used to help whiten teeth! Known to have many antibiotic properties, basil is great in fighting against harmful bacteria that could cause cavities and stains.
The best part is, basil can be dried, ground up, and added to toothpaste for easy application. Just brush your teeth with the toothpaste and basil mixture two to three times a day, and watch as your smile shines!
Baking Soda Is Abrasive And Good For Scrubbing Away Bacteria
There's a reason why more than one commercial toothpaste company utilizes baking soda in its ingredients. This is because baking soda is naturally very abrasive, acting as a natural scrubbing tool to dislodge pesky bacteria from the surface of teeth.
A study conducted by the National Institute of Health even proved that baking soda could lighten the "yellow hue" on teeth over time! Due to the product's alkaline and salty nature, it helps lighten acid-based stains, such as coffee, tea, and red wine.
Yogurt Fights Off Bad Bacteria
High in calcium and lactic acid, yogurt is said to aid teeth in fighting off bad bacteria that can ultimately result in tooth decay. And if there is one thing that is the opposite of a white smile, it's decay.
According to a study published in the academic research journal Dentistry, "kids who ate yogurt four times per week had less tooth decay than kids who didn't eat yogurt." Science has spoken; eat yogurt for a whiter and healthier smile.
Onions Contain Sulfur-Based Compounds That Kill Bacteria
Unfortunately, the key to unlocking an onion's teeth whitening powers is all in eating it raw. While biting into an onion might not sound appetizing for a lot of people, it does have some grade-A oral health benefits.
One such benefit is the release of bacteria-reducing compounds that decrease the production of icky plaque. So, by eating raw onions, a person might be risking some bad breath, but their teeth will have a nice white shine.
Nuts Are Natural Buffers
The next time you find yourself at the grocery store, think about grabbing a large container of raw peanuts, almonds, walnuts, or even cashews. In fact, just grab your favorite nut, as long as it's raw! The raw nature of nuts is a great way to naturally whiten teeth.
The abrasive nature of a raw nut acts as a natural buffer, removing surface stains and any weird discoloration on teeth, leaving your mouth full of pearly whites!
Sticky And Sweet Raisins Help Whiten Teeth
It might sound silly to hear that "raisins help whiten teeth," since they're both sticky and sugary. Those are usually two huge no-nos when it comes to oral health. The thing is, it's those two properties that make them great agents in the whitening game!
The natural sugars found in the snack are a healthy alternative to other processed snacks, while the sticky nature of raisins produces a lot of saliva. According to True Dentistry, "saliva can help neutralize acids in your mouth and remove stain-causing particles."
Grapefruit Is Acidic In the Best Way
Delicious, tart, and yet weirdly sweet, grapefruits are a great food for someone looking to whiten their smile and increase their oral hygiene. Not only does the acidic nature of the fruit contribute to an increase in saliva, a natural cleaning agent, but grapefruits are also chock full of water!
Water is one of the best things for teeth, as it washes away bad bacteria sitting in the mouth, between teeth, and in gums.
Lemon Peels Are A Great Natural Whitening Agent
Before tossing that lemon you just squeezed the juice out of, take this concept for a spin. Cut out the lemon "meat" and use the peel as a way to whiten your teeth! The peel actually contains a high level of acid, something that is considered a natural bleaching agent.
All you have to do is rub the peel over your teeth for a few minutes. Keep in mind that because of the peel's acidic level this method should not be done more than twice a week
Garlic Has Bacteria-Killing Properties
While biting into a clove of raw garlic doesn't sound like the best thing in the world, it will help those pearly whites maintain their shine. This is because garlic, like onions, contains the sulfur-based compounds thiosulfinate and thiosulfonate.
These two compounds combat bad bacteria and are released when a person bites into a garlic bulb raw. The good news is that while the process might be unappealing, it will result in a whiter smile.
The Malic Acid In Apples Increases Cleansing Saliva
Crisp apples are more than delicious, they can actually help naturally whiten teeth! The high concentration of malic acid in the fruit promotes more saliva than usual, helping combat bacteria while naturally cleaning stains from the teeth.
According to a study conducted at The University of Grenada in Spain, "Malic acid increases saliva, which cleans your teeth and helps remove stains." So, the next time you're in the grocery store, think about picking up a bushel of apples!
Sunflower Seeds Are A Natural Buffer
Sunflower seeds are more than just a fun road trip snack on the way to a ball game; they're a great cleaning agent that subsequently promotes teeth whitening. The abrasive nature of sunflower seeds, or any seed really, acts as a natural buffer to any surface-level discoloration on teeth.
So, while cracking open and chewing on sunflower seeds is delicious, doing so also will leave your teeth happy, healthier, and a bit whiter after those stains are buffed off!
Pears Can Help Reduce Tooth Decay
Juicy pears aren't only delicious, but they can help whiten teeth. This particular fruit is able to neutralize the acid in a person's mouth, helping reduce the risk of decay, all while removing stains and helping to whiten their smile.
According to cosmetic dentist Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, "Pears whiten teeth because they scrub the top layer of enamel to remove stains." There's nothing like a good old-fashioned natural stain-removing buffer to make a smile shine again!
Banana Peels Have A Few Benefits
After eating a banana, most people tend to toss the peel directly into their compost bin or trash can. Who needs a peel? Answer: anyone who wants to naturally whiten their teeth!
Weirdly enough, it's not just the fruit that contains beneficial compounds. Banana peels contain a high level of manganese, magnesium, as well as potassium, all of which are natural compounds that help remove stains from teeth and naturally whiten them for a beautiful and healthy smile.
Lime Juice Mixed With A Bit Of Coarse Baking Soda
Limes are a great source of citric acid, a lovely bleaching agent for those looking to whiten their teeth in a more natural way. For an even more beneficial whitening tool, think about mixing some lime juice with a bit of baking soda and brush.
The acidic and yet coarse mixture won't only help bleach those pearly whites, but it will also produce a natural buffer, something that will be able to scrape away pesky surface stains.