Tuesday, January 31

Do Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies Work?

 "From error to error, one discovers the entire truth." - Fortune Cookie

About a year ago I started to become interested in natural ways to whiten teeth. I figured I'm into holistic methods, so why no try it for my teeth instead of buying Crest Whitestrips. I try to prevent staining, but I find that I still like to whiten them every five years or so. Just because I'm a tea and wine drinker. Also it's best to whiten after going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning. Cleaning in itself can make your teeth appear whiter and shinier, just because you get six months of buildup off your teeth. Of course the better you take care of your teeth, the less work your dentist has to do to clean them.

So after my cleaning I did a lot of research on the topic and here's what I found:

For instance, did you know that there's a big difference between whitening and bleaching? Yes, indeed. Think of a porcelain white sink, when the sink gets stained you have two options for cleaning it. One, is that you can take Ajax and scrub the surface stains off using abrasive means. This is what whitening is like on your teeth. You psychically scrub the surface stains off using products like whitening toothpaste. These are terrible for your teeth and are not enamel safe. Just like the sink, you would eventually diminish the protective polish, leaving it dull and more susceptible to deeper stains.

Secondly, you have the more preferred enamel-safe method of bleaching. Unlike whitening, bleaching is enamel safe because it lifts the deep stains out without being abrasive to the surface of the teeth. Just like if you were to bleach a dirty sink. The bleach would affect the stains without disrupting the polish. So just say "no" to whitening and "yes" to bleaching.

That being said, I started to become curious if natural remedies would work for my teeth. The first one I tried was baking soda mixed with water. This is a whitening technique, so be super careful not to over do it. Just take a tablespoon of baking soda in a small container, wet your toothbrush under running water, and use the water from the brush to wet the baking soda; forming it into a paste. Then take that paste and brush your teeth with it for two minutes. After that, rinse with water, spit, and you're done. Do that and it will supposedly help whiten teeth.

But did it work? Here are my results after 10 days:


Day 1: Can feel some sensitivity minutes after brushing. Teeth look about the same.
Day 2: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 3: Can feel some sensitivity on the top left teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 4: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 5: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 6: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 7: Feel some sensitivity on front of the front top teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 8: Feel some sensitivity on the front bottom teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 9: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 10: Feel some sensitivity on the top left canine. Teeth look about the same.

So because baking soda did not help and I didn't want to continue with any sort of whitening after I learn that bleaching was better, I turned to hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is a safer, natural way to brighten teeth without being abrasive. All I had to do was gargle it like mouthwash for a minute and spit. 

I did this twice a day, for 10 days, and here are my results:


 Day 1: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 2: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 3: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 4: Some sensitivity on the bottom left gum line. Teeth look about the same.
Day 5: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 6: Some sensitivity in the bottom left canine. Teeth look about the same.
Day 7: Some sensitivity on the top right gum line. Teeth look about the same.
Day 8: Some sensitivity on the bottom left gum line. Teeth look about the same.
Day 9: No sensitivity. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 10: Feel some sensitivity on the top left canine. Can see a slight improvement.

My conclusion is that unfortunately natural teeth whitening remedies don't give you extreme results. I tried them and they didn't do much for my teeth, except for making them unnecessarily sensitive. The only thing I can think of is that my teeth are already pretty white, so perhaps these methods would work for yellow teeth. If you would like to give it a try, be my guest, but I would recommend the peroxide over the baking soda knowing what I know now about whitening vs bleaching. That, and it seemed like there was less sensitivity.

Because of the failure of these experiments, I purchased a pack of Crest 3D White Whitestrips With Advanced Seal Professional Effects of Amazon. I figure buy the most expensive one because it must work, right? And it has the spiffy word "professional" in it, so it must be the best. These kits work by using peroxide as well, but the strips adhere to the surface of the teeth for 30 minutes at a time instead of loosely sloshing around for a minute. Which is probably enough to make a difference.

Here's what happened during the 10 days:


Day 1: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 2: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 3: Some slight sensitivity on the back of the bottom front teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 4: Some sensitivity on the back of the bottom front teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 5: Sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 6: Some sensitivity on the back of the bottom front teeth. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 7: Some sensitivity on top left canine. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 8: Sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 9: A lot of sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see an improvement.
Day 10: A lot of sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see an improvement.

Finally! Some results. Not a huge difference, but at least something. There were 20 strips in a pack and I used two a day as instructed, just to see the results faster. Mind you that the word "sensitive" doesn't even cut it. There were times when it was downright painful. I found out that the pain would come about 3-4 hours after I put the strips on. So if the timing was off I would be in bed trying to sleep with throbbing tooth pain. I learned to do it closer to bedtime that way I could fall asleep before the pain started and then hoped that by morning it would be gone. That was the case, it never woke me, and it was the best way to do it with the least amount of sensitivity. I'm glad I did this little whitening experiment because now I know that the Crest White Strips are still the best option and that sadly the natural methods won't work too well.

In closing, I did want to mention a little bit about prevention.
Here are some foods that stain teeth and some foods that help whiten teeth:

Foods That Stain Teeth
Coffee, Tea, Wine (both red and white), Soda, Heavily Dyed Processed Foods, Curry,
Balsamic Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Beets, Blueberries, and Cranberries.

Natural Stain Removers
Strawberries, Apples, Carrots, and Celery.

Stain Barriers (Creates a protective film over the teeth)
Spinach, Broccoli, and Lettuce.

There you have it! It took me over a year finish all of the work necessary to post this.
I hope it was helpful, and that I could shed some light on the subject.

♡ Claudia