Dental | September 26, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Having an impressive set of pearly whites is an important part of today’s culture. Many people turn to the dentist for whitening treatments or buy do-it-yourself products to use at home. Your teeth are one of the first things that people notice about you. Many people conceal their teeth as they are embarrassed if they are stained, crooked or decayed. The sad truth is that even people who take great care of their teeth can still experience discolouration because of the foods and drinks they consume. Coffee, smoking, red wine, dark berries and soft drinks are the worst offenders.
Wouldn’t you want to have a great set of sparkling white teeth? And to get the results at a cheap price, without the nasty chemicals! There are many natural options such as oil pulling, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, activated charcoal and even apple cider vinegar. They are cheap to buy and easy to use at home.
Teeth discolour because of stains that develop on the surface of the tooth (enamel), or into deeper layers of the tooths structure. Tooth enamel is the hard, protective layer of teeth. Underneath enamel is what is called dentin. It is a pale brown substance which becomes more obvious as the enamel gets worn, a very common occurrence in adults. Dental erosion refers to the loss of the surface layer of the teeth due to acid from our stomach or from the food we eat. Stained teeth can be yellow in colour, or even beige or dark-brown.
Fluorosis is another common cosmetic condition that can result in mildly discoloured teeth. It is caused by an overexposure to fluoride, especially as a young child. Teeth affected by excess fluoride typically have a mottled appearance but more severe cases will have yellow to dark brown stains with surface irregularities.
Now this may be hard to do after every meal but it can help stop the acids in foods from staining and dissolving our teeth enamel. At the very least brush and floss your teeth after breakfast and dinner and consider another brush after smoking or consuming acidic foods or drinks. Rinsing your mouth is another option if extra brushing isn’t possible.
Avoid foods and activities that stain teeth. Reduce intake of acidic fruits such as citrus, soft drinks, fruit juice, cordial, alcohol, coffee, tea and smoking. Eating a healthy diet overall will promote good dental hygiene and contribute to healthy teeth.
If you are concerned about your tooth enamel dissolving or want to prevent this is the first place, make sure your getting enough nutrients that are important for the health of our teeth. This includes getting enough magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, fluoride, vitamin A, vitamin D, protein and zinc in the foods we eat. Some of these nutrients are also important for proper production of saliva which has a protective effect on the oral cavity. Eating a range of fresh fruits and veg, dairy, eggs, meat, seafood, nuts, seeds and wholegrains ensures these nutrients are obtained from the diet.
A simple way to whiten teeth and promote good oral health is to use products with activated charcoal.
It binds to the rough parts of our teeth, which are usually surface stains and plaque, and help in their removal. It is advised to use a product which already contains activated charcoal, which can be found in natural toothpastes and polishing powders.
Bentonite clay and dolomite powder may also be found in these formulas to assist in teeth whitening.
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural anti-bacterial—keeping the mouth free from germs. It can be found in many teeth whitening products including toothpastes, strips and mouth rinses. Another common use of hydrogen peroxide is for tooth whitening. For enhanced results, it can be used in combination with baking soda which works as a mild abrasive. You can make your own loose paste by mixing a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda together. Simply rub onto the surface of the teeth for 30 seconds and rinse well. One side-effect of hydrogen peroxide in some people is irritation of the gums. In these instances, baking soda can be used individually, while still providing impressive results. It can be found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and ready-made whitening sticks.Other natural abrasives, commonly found in whitening products include calcium carbonate and silica.
I know it may be hard to believe that coconut oil can whiten teeth but it is a popular technique used in Ayurveda medicine.
The process is referred to as oil pulling and involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes.
Alternatively, coconut oil can be applied to the teeth after brushing or a few drops added to your toothbrush.
The aim of the coconut oil is to “pull out” the bacteria on the teeth, while also providing anti-microbial actions.
Some of the other benefits include whiter teeth, reduced dry mouth, fresher breath and less plaque.
Remove stains and bacteria naturally with apple cider vinegar. How does it work? Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, enzymes and probiotics which help to kill germs and help foster the growth of healthy bacteria. Since it is naturally acidic, apple cider vinegar helps to break down plaque and naturally remove stains from teeth. Swish a small amount in your mouth or rub onto the teeth before brushing. Be careful not to use too much and to rinse afterwards so as not to wear your enamel.
Sheetal A, et al. Malnutrition and its oral outcome – a review. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Jan;7(1):178-180
Ghassemi A, et al. Effectiveness of a new dentifrice with baking soda and peroxide in removing extrinsic stain and whitening teeth. J Clin Dent. 2012;23(3):86-91