A white smile helps build confidence and therefore makes us feel better about our appearance, and we can’t discount the positive effect that feeling good about ourselves has on our health. Today we’re talking about 4 ways to whiten teeth naturally without all the chemicals, plus foods you can eat that do the trick.

We spend over 2 billion dollars in America on teeth whitening products and services.  Often times the chemicals can leave our teeth feeling sensitive or painful because of the loss of enamel, which is meant to protect us.

There is no need for that when we can whiten teeth easily and naturally without breaking the bank or having sensitive teeth.

1: Activated Charcoal

A recent trend that’s becoming popular is using charcoal to whiten teeth.

We’re talking about activated charcoal (a reheated, oxidized form of the charcoal), not the charcoal you use for your grill.

Activated charcoal has natural adhesive elements that bind to plaque and stains such as coffee, tea, nicotine, and wine and takes them off instantly.

You can buy these activated pills at any health food store.

Break open 1-2 capsules and mix with a splash of water to form a paste.
Apply to teeth and stains and keep on for 3-4 minutes.
Rinse the charcoal out with water and brush normally.

Some people actually apply directly onto the toothbrush and brush with the charcoal paste, but I prefer to apply it with my finger to keep it off my gums.

The charcoal whitening technique is somewhat controversial due to the abrasiveness and concern over the charcoal to also pull off enamel. There are no studies confirming this yet, but this is another reason I recommend starting with the application and rinse technique vs. brushing.

2: Baking Soda/Lemon Juice Paste

Mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and enough water to make a nice paste.

Apply a generous amount of paste onto your toothbrush and then apply to teeth.

If you use lemon juice, leave on for one minute only to protect your tooth enamel. If you just use baking soda and water, you can leave on up to three minutes.  Then spit out and brush your teeth.

3: Coconut Oil Pulling

We have talked about oil pulling before.

You want to get about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, put in your mouth (let it melt if it’s not totally liquid) and pull through your teeth (not swish) for 10-15 minutes. Then spit out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth.

The coconut oil contains lauric acid, which can not only brighten yellow teeth, but also fight against plaque, and promote gum health and fresh breath.

This method may not be as immediate as the others, but you will notice a difference over a few weeks’ time.

4: Strawberries and Baking Soda Paste

This simple, delicious tooth whitening-recipe came from my friend, Katie – The Wellness Mama.

2-3 Strawberries
½ teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt

Mash up strawberries, add a small amount of baking soda and a pinch of salt, mix well and apply to teeth with toothbrush. Let sit for 5-6 minutes or put in mouth trays to keep the mixture against your teeth, then rinse and brush.

Bonus:

Since this is Food as Medicine after all, eating acidic fruit such as oranges and grapefruit can help with tough stains through the natural acids they contain.

Eating crunchy vegetables such as carrots, celery, and organic apples creates saliva, which helps in the prevention of plaque.

Since many of us are not planning to give up coffee anytime soon, adding milk or cream to coffee changes the chemistry of the drink, helping to reduce stains from pure black coffee.