Every picture in every magazine seems to show people with beautifully aligned, white teeth. While Photoshop likely has a hand in this, there exist many options to whiten your teeth.
For instance, you can opt for a professional whitening through your dentist, but this can be quite costly.
There are also numerous whitening kits that are available at your local pharmacy or grocery store. While many of these will lighten your teeth to some degree, many people experience painful side effects because of the corrosive peroxide and other chemicals used to bleach your teeth.
Fortunately, there is a quick, painless and all-natural alternative that is probably already in your kitchen cupboard right now.
That’s right, a simple mixture of coconut oil and baking soda will become your new best friend. And it can take as little as 2 minutes for you to finally have that “million dollar smile.”
What Causes Your Teeth to Turn Yellow?
- Tobacco: This should come as no shock but smoking or chewing tobacco can stain your teeth.
- Poor dental hygiene: Failing to regularly brush, floss, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to help remove plaque and stain-producing substances like coffee and tobacco can cause tooth discoloration.
- Certain Foods/drinks:While some of these foods and drinks may be your favorites, they can damage your tooth enamel (the hard surface of your teeth). Things like coffee, tea, cola, red wine, citrus fruits and some vegetables such as apples and potatoes, can all stain your
- Dental materials: Some dental materials, like amalgam restorations, especially silver sulfide-containing one, can actually cause your teeth to look a gray-black color.
- Disease: While no one expects to become sick, some diseases can affect the enamel and dentin (the underlying material under enamel) on your teeth and cause discoloration. Even the treatments for some medical issues can change tooth color. Radiation and chemotherapy on your head and neck for example, can not only cause tooth discoloration, but in some cases, can even kill the roots of your teeth. (1) As well, pregnancy increases hormones, which can affect your body’s response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth). This can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum disease and even tooth decay. (2)
- Medications: Antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline have been shown to discolor teeth when given to children under 8, whose teeth are still developing. (3) Surprisingly, mouth washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride have also been shown in studies to discolor teeth.(4) Antihistamines like Benadryl, antipsychotic drugs, and medication for high blood pressure have also been shown to stain your teeth. (5,6)
- Aging: Simply aging can cause your teeth to discolor. Years of wear and tear can erode the outer layer of enamel on your teeth, revealing the naturally yellow dentin. (7)
- Genetics: Beautiful white teeth it seems can also be the luck of the draw. Some people just naturally have brighter or thicker enamel than others. (8)
- Environment: Ironically, too much fluoride from environmental sources (in water) or from fluoride applications, mouth washes, toothpaste, and even oral fluoride supplements, can also discolor your teeth. (9)
- Accidents/Trauma: Childhood accidents such as falls can disrupt enamel still developing in teeth. In adults, certain trauma can also cause discoloration. (10)
Why Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is a highly effective healing agent for numerous health issues ranging from regulating hormones, improving digestion and blood sugar levels to burning fat, improving Alzheimer’s disease and even preventing cancer.
In fact, there are at least 1,500 studies supporting the health benefits of coconut oil. When it comes to dental hygiene coconut oil offers biocidal properties against bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
Studies found that coconut oil is highly effective against the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, which is an acid-producing bacterium and is a major cause of tooth decay. (11)
Coconut oil is also the perfect alternative to conventional toothpastes that contain triclosan, an antibacterial chemical linked to the issue of antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption, which is further linked to breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, as well as preterm and low birth weight babies, early puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys. (13) Other studies show that triclosan can cause bone malformations, also linked to hormonal effects.
About 95 percent of traditional toothpastes contain fluoride, which is actually a toxic industrial waste product shown to be poisonous in even trace amounts. Today, there are over 23,000 reports a year from fluoride poisoning from toothpaste, resulting in hundreds of emergency room treatments. (14)
Why Baking Soda?
The myth that baking soda is too abrasive to use for cleaning teeth is untrue. The truth is baking soda is one of the least abrasive things you can use.
Baking soda boosts the pH of your saliva-hurting, cavity-causing bacteria and activating the good bacteria that can take their place. It also does an excellent job of removing stains for whiter and brighter teeth.
How to Whiten Your Teeth
The best thing about using coconut oil to brush and whiten your teeth is that it works quickly. In fact, coconut oil can help you whiten your teeth in just 2 minutes! And who doesn’t have 2 minutes to spare?
To make this natural whitening paste, you need only 2 ingredients:
- 8 tsp baking soda
- 8 tsp extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil
Simply mix both together (as you mix the coconut oil it will soften to allow a smooth mix). Put some on your toothbrush and brush your teeth slowly for about 2 minutes. Rinse and smile! You can even use this mixture as your regular toothpaste if you are looking for a natural alternative. You can add just a drop of peppermint oil to give it a fresh minty taste.