What is Natural Teeth Whitening?
Natural teeth whitening involves using natural products and substances that can often be found around the house. The term ‘natural’ can sometimes be ambiguous but for this article, consider natural teeth whitening as synonymous with home whitening remedies. In other words, teeth whitening treatments you can make yourself with conventional household items.
There are so many different natural teeth whitening remedies that this article cannot even begin to scratch the surface. However, we will give you a few tried and tested remedies and some safety guidelines to be sure you don’t damage your teeth. First, for anyone considering natural teeth whitening, there are several essential points to be aware of:
Natural is Not Always Safer
Despite the common preconceptions, a home or natural teeth whitener is not always safer for your teeth or more healthy than a commercial product. Remember that commercial products face strict safety regulations that any home treatment obviously bypasses. In fact, many natural teeth whitening ‘treatments’ may work in the short-term but can actually damage your tooth enamel in the process, which can expose you teeth to decay. Keep in mind that white teeth does not necessarily mean healthy teeth. If you are at all in doubt of a natural whitening treatment, make sure you get the opinion of a trusted authority before proceeding. We will consider a few of these harmful ‘treatments’ shortly.
Good Oral Hygiene
Teeth whitening, whether natural or commercial, cannot be a substitute for good oral hygiene. A natural whitening treatment will whiten your teeth but the effect won’t last long unless you also maintain good tooth and gum health by brushing and flossing regularly as instructed by your dentist. This is obviously important both for the appearance and the health of your teeth. Remember that, even if you want to look great tomorrow for that big date, business meeting, or social event, healthy teeth are what really matter in the long-term.
Natural Teeth Whitening is Effective
In fact, natural teeth whitening treatments can be nearly as effective as commercial products, just as safe, and definitely less expensive! As long as you avoid potentially unsafe treatments, natural teeth whitening is a good option for anyone who wants to avoid commercial whitening products for whatever reason. With a little research, everyone should be able to find a safe natural teeth whitener that works for them.
Natural Teeth Whitening Treatments – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Baking Soda: By itself, baking soda is safe on your teeth and it also reduces harmful acids and kills plaque-causing bacteria. You can brush your teeth normally with baking soda and it is also safe and effective when mixed with salt.
Peroxide: Gargling with peroxide after brushing your teeth (like you would a mouthwash/rinse) is a decent home teeth whitening treatment. However, over-the-counter peroxide, often at 3% concentration, is just too weak to have a significant whitening effect when compared to commercial teeth whitening products.
Baking Soda and Peroxide: A combination of the previous treatments makes for an excellent natural teeth whitening solution. This involves combining a couple teaspoons of backing soda with an equal amount of peroxide into a cup or bowl. Mix until it achieves a paste-like consistency and then brush your teeth with the paste, leaving it on your teeth for several minutes. After that, spit it out, rinse and if you wish, brush with normal toothpaste.
Lemon Juice and Other Acidic Treatments: Lemon or other citrus juice or peels are one of the most commonly offered as natural teeth whitening agents. They are not! Stay away from this whitening ‘treatment’. The acid in lemon juice and citrus fruits will bleach your teeth a little but it will also deplete calcium from your tooth enamel, leaving it vulnerable to decay. The same is true of potassium hydroxide (also known as Lye or wood ash) and most other highly acidic ‘treatments’. Do not use these as natural teeth whiteners!
The above are just a few of countless dozens of natural teeth whitening treatments. Remember that natural teeth whiteners in general are a wild card. Some treatments are good, some bad, and others are just plain dangerous. Before considering a natural teeth whitener, try to do some background research to be sure it is safe on your teeth.