How to Whiten Teeth Naturally

activated charcoal teeth whitening

The market is full of promises for bright white smiles. But unfortunately, the majority of whitening products use harsh chemicals to bleach teeth, which is bad for your mouth and our environment—not to mention expensive. Fortunately, if you’re wondering how to whiten teeth naturally, this can be accomplished in ways that are safer for you and our planet. 

3 Best Practices for Naturally White Teeth

Between exploring the benefits of flossing, curbing drinks that may stain teeth, and ditching a smoking habit, there are ways to support a whiter mouth—without harsh chemicals. Below are 3 ways you can whiten teeth naturally (no dentist, hydrogen peroxide, or expensive treatment required). 

1. Make Changes to Your Diet

One of the most important factors of naturally white teeth? Your diet. 

Your teeth get stained because of the foods and liquids you consume. Acidic foods like citrus can wear down tooth enamel, making teeth look yellow. Contributing to stains, dark-colored drinks and those that contain sugar or tannins—like tea, wine, coffee, juices, and sodas—can also work against white teeth. 

To counteract staining and enamel degradation, try to avoid acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus, and high-sodium condiments) and keep tooth-staining drinks at a minimum. When you simply can’t avoid your morning caffeine fix, brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming it so that you can prevent stains while keeping enamel strong.  

2. Focus on Oral Hygiene

Does flossing make your teeth whiter? You betcha. Maintaining good oral hygiene is the best thing you can do to whiten your teeth naturally. Plus, regular brushing and flossing prevents stains and plaque—which hardens on the teeth within 24-36 hours and can lead to tooth decay, gum disease (gingivitis), and tooth loss.   

Brush your teeth at least twice per day, and incorporate flossing into your daily routine. Be sure to floss before brushing your teeth. Eco-friendly bamboo dental floss that’s free of chemicals like perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs)—forever chemicals—is better for your mouth and our planet, too. 

3. Don’t Smoke

Smoking causes unsightly yellow and brown stains to form on teeth. In fact, smokers are nearly twice as likely as non-smokers to have moderate and severe levels of tooth discoloration.

Not only does quitting smoking and use of tobacco products prevent the formation of stains, but it will also help to reduce risk of gum disease and tooth decay—in addition to all of the other benefits of a smoke-free life! 

How to Whiten Sensitive Teeth: 2 Top Methods

Many people crave a brilliantly white smile, yet teeth bleaching is a harsh treatment that often results in sensitivity. If you experience sensitivity or pain after bleaching your teeth, there are still effective—yet gentle—options you can use to achieve naturally white teeth.

When it comes to teeth whitening for sensitive teeth, gentle products that contain natural tooth whiteners are a good place to turn. These include ingredients like activated charcoal and coconut oil, which won’t cause sensitivity like more common whitening agents do. 

1. Try Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

People who have trouble using whitening agents that contain hydrogen peroxide may have better luck with activated charcoal. This natural ingredient is a finely ground powder made from oxidized coconut shells, wood, and similar materials. Activated charcoal can gently scrub away and even absorb surface stains. These days, this ingredient is found in many products—including toothpaste.

Often considered the best whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth, activated charcoal toothpaste can be very effective at whitening teeth naturally at home. Activated charcoal has negative ionic charges that bind with bacteria, plaque, and tartar in the mouth. This allows the magical oral care ingredient to lift away stains while fighting cavities and bad breath. 

In other words, it bonds with and removes the microscopic tidbits of food and drink that cause staining, leaving you with a brighter, whiter smile.

2. Practice Oil Pulling

You've probably seen whitening mouth rinses on supermarket shelves. Since these typically contain harsh ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, they may not be beneficial for sensitive teeth. 

Instead, consider adding oil pulling to your tooth care routine. Oil pulling may sound complicated, but it's really quite simple, and it's been used for thousands of years to gently cleanse the mouth. It involves swishing some oil around in your mouth and then spitting it out. Follow this by brushing as you normally would. 

When shopping around for an oil pulling product, look for one that will both support oral hygiene while also helping to whiten your teeth. It’s recommended that you choose an oil pulling product with activated charcoal. Not only will this whiten your teeth, but it will also help trap bacteria and toxins, eliminating them from your mouth.

The product you choose should ideally contain coconut oil as well. Like activated charcoal, coconut oil both whitens and protects the teeth. Oil pullers also turn to coconut oil because it has a pleasant taste and is full of lauric acid to help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. The natural antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties will support a squeaky clean you can trust.

Combine charcoal oil pulling with a tongue cleaner and you’ll rid your mouth of even more bacteria. Paired with oil pulling, a tongue cleaner can help restore a healthy pH. In doing so, this dynamic dental duo can remove stains from berries, tea, and coffee and improve overall oral hygiene. 

When to Seek Help for Sensitive Teeth

If whitening your teeth has brought about teeth sensitivity, you might be wondering if it’s a serious problem that requires professional help. Dentin hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is when the teeth hurt after they come into contact with irritating stimuli, like hot beverages or cold foods. 

The level of discomfort, frequency of symptoms, and even how many teeth are affected can vary from person to person. Sensitive teeth can get better over time with proper treatment. However, if the underlying cause is not dealt with, it will never completely disappear.

Triggers of Sensitive Teeth

The most common symptoms of sensitive teeth are discomfort and pain. The pain can pop up on the tooth surface or its root. It can also occur in just a few teeth, or the whole mouth. You may notice consistent discomfort, or irritation that comes and goes. 

There are specific triggers of sensitive teeth, which may include:

  • Hot or cold foods and beverages
  • Sweets
  • Cold air or wind
  • Acidic foods or beverages
  • Cold water
  • Mouthwashes, especially those made with alcohol
  • Brushing and flossing

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

There are many reasons why people get sensitive teeth. In some cases, it’s the result of  issues like plaque buildup. In other cases, it’s because of habits or procedures that have worn down the enamel, such as:

  • Brushing too hard or with a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Using mouthwash too frequently or for long periods
  • Eating acidic foods
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Root planing, cleaning, or crown replacement

Tooth sensitivity can also result from dental problems like gum recession, cracked teeth, or gingivitis.

Treating Your Sensitive Teeth

If you have mild sensitivity, the best treatments are those you can use at home. Use natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth that is free from irritating ingredients, or it is made with desensitizing ingredients that help protect the tooth nerve from triggers.  

You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush and alcohol-free mouthwash to further soothe sensitivity and avoid irritation. Keep in mind that it generally takes several uses and at least one week for these at-home treatments to work.

If you have more severe sensitivity or don’t see improvement with at-home interventions, ask your dentist about prescription-strength mouthwash and toothpaste for sensitive teeth that can help strengthen your enamel.

Choose Natural Oral Care Products to Whiten Teeth Naturally

Terra & Co. makes it even easier for you to whiten your teeth at home with products that are natural and safe—even for those with sensitive teeth. We specialize in producing sustainably sourced, vegan oral care products that are gentle on your mouth and our planet. 

Our Brilliant Black Toothpaste is infused with activated charcoal for safe and effective tooth whitening, as well as coconut oil, peppermint, and tea tree essential oils to help keep teeth clean and healthy. Pair our toothpaste with our Charcoal-Enhanced Bamboo Toothbrush for double the charcoal power. Finish your oral hygiene routine with one of our oil pulling blends to help reduce inflammation, fight off bad breath-causing bacteria, and brighten your smile.

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