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Natural Ways to Whiten Your Teeth


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

Anyone else here have super sensitive teeth? If you've ever used a teeth whitening product, you probably know it just makes it worse! I'm to the point that I truly have to avoid biting into ice cream or drinking from a cup with ice in it. So, if you're like me, or you are trying to be preventative with your teeth sensitivity, here are some all-natural ways to whiten your teeth plus some foods and beverages to cut down on.

Brushing + Flossing Regularly

First things first! Any dentist will tell you that in order to have whiter teeth, you have to prioritize your oral health and be regular with the basics. Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth, so don't skip it. And if you're really concerned about stains on your teeth, consider carrying a mini tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush in your bag when you go out so you can brush your teeth after every meal.

Oil Pulling

This information was written by Written by Becky Bell, MS, RD.

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy meant to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. The practice involves swishing oil around in your mouth to remove bacteria, which can turn into plaque and cause your teeth to look yellow.

Traditionally, Indians used sunflower or sesame oil for oil pulling, but any oil will work. Coconut oil is a popular choice because it has a pleasant taste and offers many health benefits. Coconut oil is also high in lauric acid, which is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.

A few studies have shown that daily oil pulling reduces bacteria in the mouth, along with plaque and gingivitis. Streptococcus mutans is one of the primary types of bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque and gingivitis. One study found that daily swishing with sesame oil significantly reduced Streptococcus mutans in saliva in as little as 1 week.

Unfortunately, no scientific studies have proven that oil pulling whitens your teeth. However, it's a safe practice and worth a try. Many people claim their teeth are whiter and brighter after regular oil pulling.

To oil pull, put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and push and pull the oil through your teeth. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you may need to wait a few seconds for it to melt. Continue the oil pulling for 15–20 minutes. Be sure to spit the coconut oil into a toilet or trash can, as it could return to solid form once in your drain pipes and cause a clog.

Unlike many other tooth whitening methods, coconut oil pulling does not expose your teeth to acid or other ingredients that erode the enamel. This means it’s safe to do daily.

READ MORE: 6 Simple Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth at Home

Eating Raw Fruits + Vegetables Daily

"Certain fruits may have properties that help whiten teeth. Regularly consume raw fruits and vegetables to help rub off plaque and keep your teeth looking bright."
—Becky Bell, MS, RD, Healthline
"Papain and bromelain, which are enzymes that occur in papayas and pineapples respectively, may both help to whiten teeth."
—Zawn Villines, Medical News Today

What Not to Try

This information was written by Zawn Villines and medically reviewed by Christina Chun, MPH.

Natural teeth-whitening strategies that may harm the teeth include using:

  • lemons
  • oranges
  • apple cider vinegar
  • activated charcoal

READ MORE: Six Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth

10 Foods + Drinks That Stain

Prevention is always easier than trying to undo something! If you want to keep your teeth super white, avoid or at least reduce your intake of these foods and beverages.

This information was written by Victoria Evans, Nutritionist and Centre Manager at Bupa UK.

  1. Tea and coffee
  2. Red wine
  3. Cola
  4. Fruit juices
  5. Tomato-based sauces
  6. Curry
  7. Balsamic vinegar
  8. Soy sauce
  9. Berries
  10. Beetroot

READ MORE: Top 10 Teeth-Staining Foods