These are my teeth — the photo taken with my iPhone, in natural light, during my commute to work this morning. May I let you in on a little secret, for the record? I really want whiter teeth. REALLY, REALLY WHITE TEETH.
There, I said it! Despite feeling very successful for over 30 years about my oral hygiene and my smile, I am still tempted every time I visit the dentist to try a professional treatment to get my teeth their very whitest.
What stops me, you wonder? Well a couple of things. First, my dentist asks me, “How satisfied are you with the whiteness of your teeth”? And I’ll admit that I’m 90%+ where I would like to be. He then asks how would I feel if I had some long-term tooth sensitivity following the whitening procedure? There’s a small risk of this happening, but he knows me — so he asks.
Hmmmmm … given that I’m really adverse to nuisance problems that I could have avoided … and that I really object to paying cash for nuisance problems that I could have avoided … the answer is that I have zero tolerance for taking that risk. So no laser whitening treatments for me, thus far!
In the meantime, I am researching natural whitening procedures and have run across three that appear low-risk:
1) Coconut oil.
- Swish 1 tablespoon of organic extra virgin coconut oil (solid at room temperature) in your mouth for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- It’s reported that after a few days, your teeth will be noticeably whiter and your gums and tongue will look pink and healthy.
2) Baking soda (bicarbonate) and hydrogen peroxide.
- Once a week, pour 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of hydrogen peroxide into 3 teaspoons (15 milliliters) of baking soda. Mix these together until a paste forms. Play with these measurements until you find a consistency that you like. The paste should be similar in thickness to toothpaste.
- Add a tiny bit of mint toothpaste to your homemade paste to give it a fresh flavor. You can also add a drop of peppermint extract.
- Mix in a dash of salt. The salt will exfoliate your teeth as you brush.
- Dollop the paste mixture onto your toothbrush.
- Brush the paste onto your teeth in small, circular motions. Once all teeth are covered, let the mixture sit on your teeth for 2 minutes.
- Rinse the solution off of your teeth by swishing with water from the bathroom sink.
- Brush your teeth with toothpaste to rid your mouth of any remnants of the hydrogen peroxide mixture.
3) Brushing your teeth with strawberry juice.
- Yes, it is true that strawberries can make your teeth white because of their acid content.
- Once a week to brighten your teeth, you can mash up a ripe strawberry and dip your toothbrush in it.
- Be sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards, using warm water to which a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) has been added, to reduce acidity in the mouth.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried one or more of the above or other home remedy approaches to teeth whitening. I am seriously considering a “before” and “after” experiment with at least one, while tracking my progress over time.
I imagine that it will take me a few months to make that decision, but in the meantime, remember to treat any teeth-whitening procedure, professional or at home, as an investment. You don’t want to lose it by neglecting to take the necessary care towards maintaining your teeth afterward.
Here are a few tips to making the most of your teeth-whitening investment:
Simply rinsing your mouth after consuming meals or dark-colored beverages is a help — brushing afterwards is even better.
Refrain from smoking. Smoking is a major cause of discoloration and continuing the habit quickly stains your whitened teeth.
Use a straw. Following a whitening procedure, you should avoid dark colored beverages and other staining foods for 3-5 days. Using a straw regularly will help protect your teeth from stains and discoloration — consider using them especially with coffee, tea or colas because the caffeine will bypass your teeth.
The Smile Routine’s Simple-6 steps are super easy and a perfect solution to help you to maintain your teeth-whitening investment. And because you use your own everyday oral hygiene products, there’s very little added costs over time — just success that you can see, feel and be proud of!
Thanks for sharing a smile.