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Secrets for a Naturally Whiter Smile

As some of you may know, I'm an avid Starbucks drinker. I also love red wine and iced teas and all kinds of other things that unfortunately aren't so great for my pearly whites.

The unfortunate truth is that as we age, our teeth become more yellow as the enamel wears away with time, and the dentin is more visible underneath. Dentin is the layer of tissue just underneath our enamel.

I've been looking into natural ways to whiten my teeth and I wanted to share some of the interesting ideas I've found. While I haven't had a chance to try them all myself, I can say that trying to whiten your teeth naturally is a bit safer than some of the more harsher chemicals you can buy. They can lead to enamel damage if used too often or for too long, leaving your teeth sensitive and more prone to cavities.

1. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

I actually use peroxide quite often, and try to gargle with it to naturally keep my teeth white. I also use it anytime I have a cold or feel a sore throat coming on. By creating a paste of it with baking soda (mix 1 tbsp of baking soda with 2 tbps of peroxide) and brushing with it for at least 2 minutes, studies have found that it helps to remove plaque buildup and excess bacteria that causes stains on your teeth. It's recommended to continue this once a day for 6 weeks to see noticeable improvements.

2. Coconut Oil Pulling

The best type of oil to use for oil pulling is high-quality, organic coconut oil. Using 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid coconut oil and swishing it around in your mouth for 10-30 minutes also helps remove plaque and excess bacteria from your mouth. Be sure to spit the oil into the toilet or into the garbage, as it could lead to clogging your drains. Rinse your mouth immediately after, drink a glass of water and then brush your teeth.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

I LOVE apple cider vinegar. I could go on and on and on about all of the things you can use it for from brightening and strengthening your hair to using it as a cleaning product to using it for heartburn and indigestion, but another great use — whitening your teeth. Mixing about 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 6 ounces of water creates a whitening rinse for your teeth. Swish the mixture in your mouth for about 30 seconds, then rinse with water and brush your teeth.

4. Lemon, Orange or Banana Peels

This is a new one for me. I've never heard of trying this before, but apparently people claim that rubbing the peels of lemons, oranges or bananas on your teeth will help to whiten them. The citric acid in the peels is believed to be that active agent behind the whitening effect. Gently rub the peels on your teeth for approximately 2 minutes, and make sure to rinse and brush your teeth afterwards. It's important to note here that the acidity of the fruit peels could also make your teeth more sensitive, so if you're prone to teeth sensitivities, I would try one of the alternate methods.

5. Activated Charcoal

It's also believed that charcoal can remove pigments and stains from your teeth because of its absorbent nature. While there are many toothpastes on the market with activated charcoal in it, you can also purchase charcoal capsules. Open one capsule, put the contents on your toothbrush, brush gently for 2 minutes in small circles, then spit it out. Be careful not to brush too aggressively and avoid your gums. Again, if you're prone to sensitivities, I would avoid the charcoal as well. You can also try dabbing it on your teeth rather than brushing to limit how abrasive it is. Another option is to create a mouthwash with the capsule contents and water. Swish the solution in your mouth for 2 minutes, spit out the contents and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

6. Eat more Fruits and Veggies with High Water Content

Eating both fruits and vegetables with higher water content is said to keep your teeth happy and healthy. Chewing on crunchy fruits and vegetables after a meal helps to increase saliva production, which helps to remove excess food particles and wash away any harmful acids still in your mouth. Additionally, eating papayas and pineapples may help to whiten teeth, thanks to papain and bromelain, which are enzymes found in the fruits.



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