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

11 comments:

  1. My god!! Your teeth look so pretty in those pics!! It's the first time u started talking about supporting something of your body and as for me, I asked the dentist that cleaned my teeth, if there was a toothpaste that can help whiten my teeth, and he said Colgate. So I tried that, I still didn't recieve any results. It'll probably get even whiter after my next dentist visit. Best of all, my teeth r fine and healthy!!

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  2. Sage is a natural teeth whitener. Just a rub a leaf or two on your teeth regularly. I in fact make my own tooth powder out of bicarbonate of soda, salt, sage, mint, fennel seeds and spilanthe. It's much better and cheaper than conventional toothpaste as fluoride, which is added to most toothpaste and in some countries to drinking water is not only poison, there is also no evidence it helps teeth. I have not been to a dentist in 20 years!

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  3. @heiko Are you serious!? U mean u haven't been to dentist for this long!? U must've saved tons of money with your own teeth cleaning supplies or better yet, Why don't u open up your own homemade teeth cleaning supply along with Claudia!! LOL!!

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  4. Matthew: Thank you. I try to take care of them.

    I'm not sure about Colgate, if it has fluoride in it. I know dentists will says it's safe, but I don't use anything with fluoride. I recommend that you watch "The Fluoride Deception" (There are 3 parts on the channel): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3y8uwtxrHo

    Also, Colgate-Palmolive tests on animals.
    It's good to hear that you have healthy teeth. :)


    Heiko: It's good to hear from you. Yeah, fluoride is not good at all. I don't use it. I'm sad that my city puts it in our water. I wanted to get a filter for my sink years ago, but I can't quite afford it yet. When I was a little girl we had well water with was awesome! So it's only recently that I've been exposed to fluoride in the water.

    Thank you so much for the sage and homemade tooth powder tips. I have been wanting to make my own for years now, and your recipe sound wonderful! Do you have a blog post or YouTube video on it? I would love to check it out.

    You must eat very well then to keep your teeth in good shape. I hear ya about that. I try to stretch out my dentist appointments as well, but 20 years without going is amazing. Well done!


    Matt: Yup! Heiko sure knows what he's talking about. Don't use fluoride Matthew. Well, I believe it's probably best to make your own. That way the ingredients are fresh. I'll have to see if I can pick up some sage at the farmer's market. It's in season right now.

    Currently I use this from Trader Joes: http://i2.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/590/draft_lens18995265module155867228photo_1324954447trader-joes-fennel-toothp

    But I don't like it anymore because I just discovered that there's an ingredient in it that's a carcinogen. It would be a middle step though. :) Cheers.

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  5. I will try my best to choose the right stuff for my teeth. So would they not fall out if I use the stuff u recommended?

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  6. http://pathtoselfsufficiency.blogspot.com/2010/09/homemade-toothpaste.html. Sage is in season all year. I always have a plant on my windowsill and even now with our snow it's doing fine. Oh and since I've done this recipe I have added spilanthe, which I grow myself. Google it, it's known as toothache herb.

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  7. Matt: No, of course not. :) I'm going to try my hand at making some of Heiko's toothpaste though.


    Heiko: Thank you! This is wonderful. I purchased some sage yesterday.

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  8. Cool. Good luck with that. Be sure to show us the results once your done with it!!

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  9. I really enjoyed that article. Looks like you really did some great research on the topic. Maybe I should switch my toothpaste... I do remember you mentioning that around Christmas. And I totally know what you mean about the teeth sensitivity with the whitening kits. That is actually why I just do the 5 min strips and I don't do them all the time, just when I know I am going out or just keeping up with basic maintenance. And then I don't have to go through all the pain. Because, yes I know it can be terrible, especially with cold foods. But yeah, I really enjoyed your article. Liked the pics too. :)

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  10. Thank you. Yup. I hear ya about that. <3

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