I wrote an article here awhile ago about natural methods of whitening teeth. I do believe that natural methods are far more desirable than chemical commercial products that are known to be toxic and are even banned in other countries. In many of these countries, they have government funded health care and they do not want to pay for all the teeth at break, crack or shatter after the enamel has been stripped by these commercial “whiteners”. But beside this fact and whether or not you base judgements on the actions of other countries or whether or not you approve of government funded health care, the down skinny is that these products don’t work. I have friends that have used just about every one of them, from the high dollar bleaches to the Wal-Mart brand whitening toothpastes. And everyone is saying that none of them work and the results are even more disappointing if you drink tea, red wine, coffee, chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes or cigars. I, myself, have tried a few of these in passing over time but was always hesitant because I am one of those who cares about toxins and when my Dentist told me, himself, that these products were toxic I feel the choice was the right one.
However, I want white teeth. Like everyone else, I have yellowing teeth as the result of years of coffee and tea and cigarette addictions. I remember a night of drinking red wine with neighbors at a block party to wake up in the morning with purple teeth! So I have done my share of staining! Now that I have quit all of these habits I look in the mirror and hate the legacy I see in my smile. Yellow teeth are ugly. So I wanted to experiment with various natural methods to see which ones really work, which ones don’t and which ones only sort of do the job. But before I venture on telling you what I discovered, I need to add a disclaimer. Nothing I tried made my teeth bright white. Nothing I tried came even close to looking like the white teeth you see in commercials. However, it must be noted that these ads with bright white teeth are mostly photoshopped and edited. I do not believe you can acheive anything like the bright white teeth they show on TV with anything short of bleach. And bleach is toxic and dangerous over the long term. If Brooke Shields ends up with cracked and broken teeth over time, she has the money to get implants. I don’t. But let me add that I also do not believe that the results you see are achieved by bleach alone. I think it takes bleach and a good photo editing program. In fact, some of the photos I’ve seen advertised on the web, I can actually see the white paint line that photo editing programs leave. Most of the teeth is photo painted white.
I am sure you are not surprised to discover that Colgate and Proctor and Gamble are misleading you. I am also sure that most of you are desiring white teeth because this has become the hot new thing. White teeth = hot babe. That’s the new math. Because of all the intensive advertising surrounding white teeth, every last one of us has become aware of our teeth and, admit it, you are noticing other people’s teeth, too. Aren’t you filled with envy when you see a pretty girl with a bright, white smile? Even if you aren’t a model or a beauty queen or an actor or actress. And even men are having bleaching done. This right after they have their body hair removed and the hour is up in the tanning bed.
Alright, I am being funny. But I am dead serious about my experiment. I am going to show you what I discovered for myself and how you can use it to help yourself.
The first thing I tried was baking soda and peroxide. I did this because peroxide is a sort of low level bleach and baking soda is a natural abrasive. I thought it was safer than Comet (which I considered trying more than once in the various stages of my madness)! This, I am sorry to report, did nothing to whiten my teeth. It created a neat fizzing and bubbling that was fun to scrub on my teeth but after weeks of trying, my teeth were still just as yellow as ever. So the next thing I tried was fresh strawberries and baking soda. The idea is to brush your teeth with the soda and then rub them down with fresh strawberries. This made my teeth red and made my mouth taste great but, over time, nothing changed. My teeth were the same shade of yellow. So, I do not recommend either of these methods. Although I talked about them in my original post and they come recommended by naturalists and herbalists, I did not find them to be useful. But, I began to make some progress at the next stage.
I read somewhere to rub your teeth with an orange peel. This is the outside of the rind, the dimpled orange side, and I started doing it every night. This had some effect. It wasn’t drastic but I could see it, my teeth were getting a lighter yellow! However, I lost patience, I did this for weeks and this did not have a drastic enough effect to please me at all. Next, I moved on to lemons, which I had heard were more acidic and therefor more effective. I have also heard that lemons or anything citrus, including oranges, will soften the enamel on your teeth and you will lose the enamel when you brush. So I brushed my teeth FIRST. I brushed my teeth with whitening toothpaste (desperation setting in!) and then rubbed them with lemons or lemon juice. I noticed some more lightening of the yellow. But was it the toothpaste or the lemons? I thought to try both separately to be sure of what I had discovered and found that the toothpaste alone did nothing. It was back to brushing several times a day, rinsing and staring at my smile in the mirror, only to find no progress at all. But the lemons alone DID make progress. Again, I always brushed FIRST and never after using the fruit. I rubbed my teeth with the lemon RIND and then even put the lemon slice in between my teeth and my lips and held it there… sometimes for a half an hour. And it was then that I began to see that my teeth were getting a lighter yellow. And, OMG, was I surprised. Of course, I was worried about what the citrus would do to my teeth and not everybody is as big a risktaker as I am… but this is why I write this blog. To experiment and pass the results along to my readers.
In my excitement, I bought a bottle of pure lemon juice. Not soda or sweetened stuff, though, just straight lemon juice. It is very bitter and tart and it makes your lips shrink up they get so dry, but it works. I started brushing my teeth with the baking soda FIRST and then brushing with the juice. This made my mouth pucker up really bad and it was almost impossible to get my lips back. So I switched things around. I BRUSHED with the lemon juice FIRST and rubbed my teeth with the baking soda, which was a little better. But this worried me because I knew the lemon might soften the enamel and the soda was an abrasive and could remove the softened enamel. But then I hit on it. I started dipping the brush in the lemon juice and then sprinkling baking soda on the brush. This fizzes and bubbles and feels really good in the mouth. It also keeps the lemon juice from drying out the mouth too badly. And if you rinse it all off, the lemon juice is not exposed to your teeth for long periods. I thought this was great because it appeared to be lightening my teeth. It did literally made my teeth whiter and very less yellow, so much so, in fact, that it was hard to find the yellow at all for a few days. Now, my teeth were NEVER bright white. They did not glow like the girls in the toothpaste commercials. They were a quiet type of white for perhaps a week. Since then, my tea drinking habit has restained my teeth and the gains I made have disappeared. My teeth are back to yellow BUT I must add that my enamel is fine, there is no loss of gloss on the surface of my teeth. They are yellow but they are shiny and firm.
For those of you who smoke, drink wine or coffee or tea or chew tobacco, there may be NO HOPE. As I said, when I returned to drinking tea, the yellow returned. I would not suggest using lemons repeatedly for this and since nothing else seems to do the trick, I have to admit that the only people capable of having truly white teeth do not drink tea or wine, do not smoke, do not eat red or purple fruits, et al and that the best idea is to photoshop your photos the way the commercial toothpaste makers do and post them on facebook. Perhaps if people see the picture often enough, they will just come to think and beleive you have white teeth.