Your teeth are not only an important part of your health and well being, but they are also one of the first things people see about you. So, how can you help keep them white and healthy between dental hygiene visits? Here are five ways the foods in your pantry can help.
1. Lemon and Baking Soda
Baking soda is an abrasive, and so it can help to remove stains left by things like coffee and smoking. Why add lemon juice, though? The citric acid in the lemon serves as a natural bleach to help whiten your teeth. Mix the baking soda with just enough lemon juice to form a paste, then use it with your toothbrush and rinse thoroughly.
Some people love the health benefits of coconut oil for purposes all around the home. And your teeth are no different. More and more Americans are turning to the ancient practice of oil pulling for oral health. It may help with diverse oral problems including staining, halitosis, and gingivitis. It is believed that the primary benefit comes from coconut oil's antibacterial properties.
Generally, oil pulling involves swishing around a mouthful of coconut oil and 'pulling' (hence the name) and pushing it between your teeth. You should do this for a while — often about 20 minutes — until the oil becomes milky in appearance (this is thought to be evidence of the bacteria being removed). Spit it out and do not swallow it.
Another common fruit can serve as a home whitening agent. The acidic flesh of the fruit isn't good for your enamel, but the peel doesn't have the same problem.
What is in an orange peel that could help? Limonene is a natural solvent cleaner and is used in professional tooth whitening agents. If you prefer the taste, you can use a lemon peel. Be sure to brush well afterward to remove acids, possibly by using a diluted hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another common kitchen item that's been gaining popularity for a variety of benefits. Since it is naturally acidic, it can help remove stains from the enamel surface. And, as with coconut oil, it has natural antibacterial properties that can help get rid of much of the source of tooth problems: the bacteria in your mouth.
You may want to brush with diluted apple cider vinegar on a toothbrush, or you could use your finger to swirl some all around the surface of the teeth. Whichever method you prefer, follow up with a regular toothpaste to remove the extra acidic vinegar from the enamel.
Sea Salt and Baking Soda
Baking soda has long been used for at-home whitening purposes, so it's no surprise that it shows up on this list more than once when mixed with other items. This time, that addition is sea salt. Adding the sea salt to the mild abrasive of baking soda creates a more powerful 'tooth scrub' that can help get more stains off.
The sea salt may also help counterbalance your mouth's acidity and get rid of bacteria. If the flavor is too harsh, add drops of peppermint oil to make it tastier.
Of course, you should use all of these home remedies in conjunction with your regular dental care and routine visits. Discuss any changes you plan to make to boost your dental health and appearance with your dentist before trying them.
Here at Dr. Bradley Cohn, D.D.S, we have extensive experience with all types of dental problems and can help you find the right answer to any challenge. Contact us today to schedule a dental cleaning.