There are several all-natural and very effective home reme-dies for removing stains and whitening teeth. However, let’s begin with the reminder that teeth are not actually pure white to begin with. So “clean and bright” is a more realistic goal than immaculate whiteness ever could be.
When hot food is followed by cold food it can cause the pores in your enamel to open and then close, leaving food particles trapped under the surface. You may be surprised to learn that some antibacterial mouthwashes can actually be responsible for some teeth staining. The only mouthwash I use is 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you do use mouthwash, steer clear of mouthwash brands containing the ingredients
‘chlorhexidine’ or ‘cetylpyridinium chloride’, as products containing these chemicals have been shown to stain teeth.
Overbrushing or using a harsh toothbrush can con-tribute to staining because it not only wears the enamel on the surface of the teeth, but can also actually rub into the fine cracks and lines of enamel the very substances you are seeking to eliminate. You, in effect, are brushing it in instead of brushing it off, much the same way you would rub a stain into the fine grain of wooden furniture.
Teeth may begin to show signs of discoloration or staining as we age, and believe it or not, some of it can be hereditary. Over time, the erosion of the enamel exposes the dentin underneath, which is more porous, and consequently it more easily absorbs the pigmentation of food and drinks we consume. Also, if there is plaque or tartar buildup, stains can adhere to it, making them even more obvious.
Regular brushing after meals with bar soap and sea salt, along with chewing dark leafy greens, is a foundational prac-tice for keeping enamel strong and teeth white and healthy.
If that isn’t enough, and you need more help brightening those not-quite-pearly whites, there are other safe, natural and inexpensive options to choose from.
Hydrogen peroxide is one solution. A good one. Recently I met a lady in her late sixties with remarkably white teeth. I struck up a conversation and found out she swishes a 3 per-cent hydrogen peroxide solution in her mouth for a good 3 to 5 minutes. (Warning: Don’t do this if you have any amalgam fillings.) All those bubbles you’ll feel in your mouth will in fact be oxygen attacking all the dead microorganisms in your mouth. Hydrogen peroxide does double duty as an antiseptic and as a whitening agent. It is usually one of the main ingredients found in expensive teeth whitening kits and procedures, yet you can realize very good results for just pennies!
Look to the ROOT at the end of this chapter for more helpful natural teeth brightening solutions. But if these solu-tions are not giving you the whiteness you desire, or if for whatever reason you still feel you must bleach your teeth, use a mild solution, like White Strips. If your teeth are a yel-lowish color, it will be much easier to turn them whiter. This is my situation. But if the color of your teeth is more grayish, they are much harder to turn white.
If you do a “smile makeover” when you are over 50 or 60, that’s one thing. But I see so many young girls get
veneers on their teeth. It’s a common progression: veneers to crowns to root canals to extractions and implants. If you can avoid it, it’s better not to start on this route at all. Once you start, the slope is very slippery.
If you have decent teeth, keep them the way they are.
Veneers and crowns, and even continuous bleaching com-promise your teeth, weaken them, and send them in the direction of root canal city! Your best bet: Stay close to nature!
ROOT: Tips for Stain Prevention…Aside from daily brushing after meals and chewing leafy greens, your teeth may also benefit if you’ll remember these few tips for stain prevention:
• Drink through a straw to help minimize contact of col-ored beverages with your teeth.
• Avoid consuming the worst offenders when it comes to staining—coffee, wine, soy sauce, curry, and turmeric.
(If you are a raw foodist, the first four are already out of the question.) Either avoid these altogether or (at least) don’t consume them hot, as the heat will open pores in the enamel, allowing stains to penetrate deeper.
• Don’t overbrush, and don’t use a hard toothbrush, as this only wears down the enamel even further.
You can brush your teeth twice a day with a home-made paste home-made with baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Another way is to use baking soda for whitening…Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a pinch of salt and a few drops of white vinegar. You can rub this around on your teeth either with your fingertips or with your toothbrush.
Then wait 30 minutes and rinse.
Mix dried and powdered bay leaves with dried orange peels. Make them into a paste and brush your teeth with it.
D e a l i n g Wi t h S t a i n e d Te e t h t h e N a t u ra l Wa y
Mix fresh lettuce with sea salt and chew it well. Keep it in your mouth for as long as you can before either swal-lowing or spitting it out. Your teeth will whiten if you do this daily. You can also grind well-dried lettuce mixed with salt to form a paste you can brush with. This will have similar results and will give you the added benefit of helping to reduce tartar and whitening yellowed or dark-ened teeth.