Everyone wants a glamorous movie-star smile, and by today's standards, the whiter your teeth, the better. Of course, we all can't afford multiple visits to the dentist and stains do come back, making it a recurring problem.
Even with proper care, your teeth can be stained by coffee, soda, tea, medicines, and smoking. The residue of food seeps into the fine cracks of your teeth, making it nearly impossible to brush out. Whitening toothpastes only bleach out minor discolorations. The older the stain, the more difficult it is to get rid of.
In most cases, cheap toothpaste doesn't cut it. An expensive toothpaste is often needed for a brighter smile. Unfortunately, getting your teeth whitened professionally is not an option for everyone. If you want to forego the creams, bleaches, trays, and gels found in drugstores, you can take the natural approach and use any of the following home remedies for whiter teeth that are both cheap and effective.
Baking Soda: An old-time favorite, baking soda has many purposes, including tooth whitening. Most dentists agree that it's safe to use and works fairly quickly. You can use it alone on a damp toothbrush or mix it with toothpaste to help neutralize the salty taste.
Hydrogen Peroxide: One of the most popular home remedies, peroxide, is cheap and most people have it on hand. Chances are, you will feel some burning in your gums, but you'll be left with clean, whiter teeth. Typically, most people will see results within a couple of weeks but it can happen much sooner. It's also safe to gargle, but don't swallow.
Brush your teeth as you normally do, and then swish for about a minute. Follow up by spitting it out and rinsing thoroughly with water. Another way to use it is by dipping a cotton swap in the solution and gently rubbing it into your teeth, front and back.
Strawberries: Not many people are aware that strawberries contain natural teeth whitening agents and the seeds work great for cleaning. Since they also contain sugar and acids, it's important to brush immediately afterwards with a fluoride toothpaste. For easy and quick application, you can either rub the strawberry against your teeth, or mash it up and use it like toothpaste.
Wood Ash: Strange as it may sound, hard wood ash helps whiten teeth. It contains potassium hydroxide, a compound that will bleach your teeth. The tiny crystals scrape off plague in hard to reach places and will scrub them clean. However, using wood ash often or scrubbing too hard can wear down your tooth enamel, so it's best to avoid using it for long periods of time. To apply it to your teeth, you can put it directly on your toothbrush or mix it with a small amount of toothpaste.
Homemade tooth paste: One of the better home recipes for whiter teeth is a paste consisting of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, table salt and a dab of toothpaste. Mix it all together and brush away stains.
You can combine any of the above ingredients with wood ash, strawberries, hydrogen peroxide or baking soda for some extra whitening power. Always clean the ingredients off of your teeth when you're finished by rinsing and brushing with commercial toothpaste.
Remember that teeth naturally have a yellowish tint because of calcium, an essential mineral for strong tooth enamel. Brushing too hard and using lemon juice, an acid, or any form of vitamin C will eat away the surface. Once your tooth enamel is ruined, it's permanent. Your teeth will be considerably weaker and much more prone to cavities and sensitivity. All home remedies should be used in moderation and monitored closely.
*This page is provided as an information resource and is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice.