How to whiten your teeth naturally at home

Dr. Mauro Nunes is a restorative dentist who teaches full-time at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Commissions we earn from partner liên kết on this page vì not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial nội dung is based on thorough research & guidance from the Health Advisory Board.

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Thanks khổng lồ tremendous advancements in dental health, many Americans can expect to have their own teeth their entire lives và not have lớn resort to dentures. However, the longer we keep our teeth, the more likely they are lớn become stained or discolored. Understandably, more and more people yearn lớn recapture the glistening whiteness of their youthful smile.

Professional teeth whitening and over-the-counter whitening products are two approaches khổng lồ lightening your tooth shade. Their cost và chemistry pose a barrier for many would-be teeth whiteners, though. Some prefer cheaper DIY teeth-whitening methods with natural ingredients.

From swishing around táo cider vinegar to oil pulling, here’s a look at the most common natural teeth whitening methods.

What Is Natural Teeth Whitening?

Natural teeth-whitening methods forgo the chemical bleaching solutions that in-office, take-home & over-the-counter whitening products rely on. Instead, users of natural teeth whitening methods opt to lớn either employ the acids in fruits or use scrubbing agents such as charcoal or baking soda lớn polish teeth.

Regardless of whether you go the natural route or choose the priciest in-office procedure, you should start your teeth-whitening process with a cleaning và thorough exam from your dentist. Certain conditions—such as periodontal disease or damaged teeth—can cause unpleasant side effects from whitening. If you have previous dental work lượt thích bridges, crowns or veneers, you need khổng lồ talk lớn your dentist about those, too, since they can’t be lightened the same way as real teeth.

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Do Natural Teeth Whitening Methods Work?

To understand whether natural teeth whitening is right for you, it helps lớn know exactly what your shiny trắng enamel is & the role it plays in tooth structure.

“Tooth enamel is a crystal,” says Matthew Messina, D.D.S., assistant professor for dentistry at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “Under magnification, it looks lượt thích chain liên kết fencing. Over time, stains get embedded in that.”

That layer of enamel matrix (that is, the “chain link fencing”) protects the darker colored dentin underneath it và the living pulp inside the tooth. The enamel layer is extremely thin, says Messina, sometimes less than half a millimeter.

“Enamel is pretty precious,” says Messina. “It doesn’t grow back, whether we wear it away or dissolve it away.” There are also a lot of different causes of tooth discoloration, Messina notes: “If you have gum disease, whitening won’t make your teeth whiter.”

Likewise, natural compounds can’t polish away darkening of teeth caused by issues such as physical trauma or use of tetracycline antibiotics, known as “intrinsic staining.” If you have “extrinsic staining,” or surface discoloration caused by coffee, tea, red wine, prescription mouthwash or tobacco use, however, you may be able to improve or maintain your smile between regular visits lớn the dentist for professional cleaning and polishing.

If you’re considering using a natural teeth-whitening method, though, you should know that there are a lot of claims, but not a lot of documented scientific proof that they are either safe or effective. And, worse yet, some of them may actually have the exact opposite effect of what you’re seeking: They may make your teeth less white over time & even cause painful sensitivity.

Let’s take a look at the claims and sort out the facts from the fiction—and maybe save you some pain và tooth damage along the way.

Apple Cider Vinegar

People in natural health circles often tout táo khuyết cider vinegar as a kind of cure-all. It’s a fermented product, meaning it has probiotic properties, which are responsible for many of its alleged health benefits. But that’s a unique that may help your gut, not your teeth.

In fact, its sharp taste & strong odor make clear táo bị cắn dở cider vinegar is very acidic. Và acidic compounds, whether produced by the breakdown of sugars in the mouth or by acids you consume, dissolve tooth enamel, leading to lớn tooth decay.

Contact with food acids like vinegar is safe for the short amount of time they stay in your mouth as you eat, but using them khổng lồ brush or rinse with isn’t a good idea because prolonged liên hệ erodes enamel.

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Try it or skip it? Skip swishing around táo cider vinegar.

Fruits và Vegetables

Although the notion that crunchy produce can scrub plaque off your teeth is unfounded, it’s true that some fruits contain natural acids that affect the teeth—lemons và strawberries in particular. And, as with táo khuyết cider vinegar, those fruit acids that remain on your teeth break down the enamel, darken the teeth và encourage decay.

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Papayas & pineapples, on the other hand, contain enzymes that may be effective at whitening teeth by combating staining, according to lớn one clinical study. When combined in toothpaste formulas, these enzymes (papain và bromelain) loosen plaque that make teeth appear discolored. There’s no evidence, however, that eating the fruit, or brushing with a paste made from the pulp, whitens teeth.

Meanwhile, whole fruits and vegetables are helpful in maintaining healthy, trắng teeth when they’re part of a good diet. Research shows that eating an táo khuyết reduces the amount of decay-promoting bacteria in the mouth, which is important in keeping your teeth in good shape, especially if you’re not able lớn brush right away.

Try it or skip it? Toothpaste that contains the fruit enzymes bromelain and papain may help whiten teeth, so perhaps you want to lớn try it. But skip the DIY fruit acid pastes or rinses.


Charcoal is having a moment as a health và beauty star, with claims including toxin-removal & virus elimination. However, it’s the natural method most likely to lớn harm your teeth. That’s because homemade activated charcoal preparations can be very abrasive: Scrubbing your teeth regularly with charcoal can rub the enamel right off, leaving the darker dentin layer exposed.

“I’d put the super-abrasive charcoal toothpastes at the đứng top of the menu of products likely to lớn cause harm,” says Messina. He notes that while some charcoal toothpastes are tested & ADA-approved as safe, many are not.

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Try it or skip it? Skip the DIY charcoal preparations. Try an ADA-approved charcoal toothpaste if you want khổng lồ experiment with a charcoal-based formula.

Oil Pulling

Coconut oil is another natural sản phẩm that’s in vogue, due to its quality fatty acid structure that supposedly boosts metabolism (from the inside) và its hydrating properties (on the outside).

However, “oil pulling” actually has a long history as a practice in ayurvedic medicine. This ancient Indian technique involves vigorously swishing oil, usually coconut oil, around your mouth và between your teeth (just as you would with a mouthwash) for 15 to đôi mươi minutes at least once and up lớn three times a day, followed by brushing your teeth. The idea is that it promotes dental health by discouraging the growth of decay-promoting bacteria & reduces inflammation in the gum tissues.

While there does seem to lớn be some basis for these claims, there’s almost no evidence it brightens teeth, although a single study suggested it might. “There’s no fundamental danger khổng lồ oil pulling, unless people defer other treatment,” says Messina. In fact, the only caveat regarding oil pulling is not lớn spit the oil down the drain, because you may clog your pipes. Use the trash can instead.

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Try it or skip it? Oil pulling might be worth a try. Just don’t inhale or swallow the oil, or spit it into the sink.

Baking Soda

Much less abrasive than charcoal (or kaolin clay, another popular natural abrasive), baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has a long track record as a dental hero. Its combined properties of being a very mild scrub and an alkaline compound means that it can reduce tooth staining while also promoting a mouth environment that’s less friendly lớn harmful bacteria.

You can choose a conventional baking soda toothpaste or make your own paste by mixing the powder with water, but you won’t have the advantage of added fluoride for cavity prevention if you go the homemade route. (Don’t set in mashed strawberries, charcoal or any of the other unproven natural ingredients you may see recommended elsewhere. The baking soda will neutralize the fruit acids, so the strawberries won’t have any effect và other abrasives are too rough). Messina also recommends that if you go the DIY teeth-whitening route, follow brushing with a fluoride rinse lớn further strengthen teeth against decay.

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Try it or skip it? Try it. In this case, DIY và commercial baking soda toothpastes are equally safe, although commercial pastes have the advantage of added fluoride.