According to this study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most important thing people want to change about their smile is the whiteness of their teeth.
There are plenty of ways to achieve beautifully white teeth with over-the-counter kits, whitening products, and whitening procedures at dental offices—all good ways to get white teeth. And that can get expensive.
But here’s the deal: Bright smiles and white teeth were desirable long before there were whitening kits, strips, trays, pens, toothpaste, mouthwash, and professional treatments. Homemade whitening pastes are cheap to make, easy to use, and remarkably effective.
Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda
Baking soda releases free radicals that break down stain-causing molecules on tooth enamel. Combine that with hydrogen peroxide, which has a natural bleaching effect, and you get a great teeth whitening result.
Mix two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide, i.e. 2 tablespoons baking soda, 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide. Stir it into a paste. Use immediately as you would toothpaste, to brush your teeth. Let the paste stand for about one minute, then rinse thoroughly with clear water until none of the paste remains.
It is important to use fresh hydrogen peroxide that has been stored in a dark cupboard because it breaks down quickly, rendering it ineffective when exposed to light. Stored this way, hydrogen peroxide is good for about six months once opened.
Apple cider vinegar and baking soda
Whitening paste is one more thing you can add to the list of amazing uses for apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Mix two parts apple cider vinegar with 1 part baking soda and stir into a paste. Use this to brush your teeth. Allow to stand for a minute or so, then rinse well.
To make an effective whitening mouthwash, mix one teaspoon ACV with one cup of water. Swish this around your mouth and either spit it out or go ahead and swallow. ACV is good for you.
2 to 3 times a week
Because baking soda has a sight abrasiveness, limit the use of these homemade recipes to two or three times a week. More frequent use could potentially damage the surface of your teeth. Once you’ve achieved a level of whiteness you’re happy with, use once a week for maintenance.
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What to expect
Don’t expect overnight results with either of these homemade solutions. It might take a week or two, so be patient.
How to prevent discoloration
According to the folks at Colgate Oral Care Center, these are practical steps you can take to maintain your whiter smile:
- Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages like coffee, tea, wine, sports drinks, tomato sauce, and berries.
- Use a straw when drinking beverages to keep the stain-causing dyes away from teeth.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco causes discoloration and stains on teeth.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is for information only. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified healthcare provider regarding a medical condition or treatment.
Original: 4-24-17; Revised: 10-29-20