Consumers use the terms natural, vegan, and cruelty-free when searching for safe, environmentally friendly products. In the area of oral care, you can find several all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free products and brands. Here we’ll take a look at ways you can whiten your teeth naturally using natural store-bought or homemade products.
What is Natural and Vegan Teeth Whitening
What does it mean to call a product natural?
What are natural teeth whitening and oral care? Currently, there is no federal ruling on what manufacturers can and cannot deem “natural,” so we use the standard definition of natural as “free of artificial or synthetic ingredients.” For our purposes here, teeth whitening methods will be free from hydrogen peroxide, a manufactured chemical.
What does it mean to call a product vegan?
In order for a product to be called vegan, it must not contain any animal products or byproducts. That means a vegan product can not contain any meat, animal parts — nothing from animals, including honey, bone products, insect silk, or animal byproducts.
What does it mean to call a product cruelty-free?
A cruelty-free product is one that has not been tested on animals.
How to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth
The most natural method of teeth whitening is to avoid foods, beverages, and other products, like tobacco, that stain your teeth. The rule to remember is if it stains a tablecloth it will change your teeth color. Some little unsuspecting culprits like apples and potatoes can also discolor your teeth. The catch-22 is, many healthy foods like berries and fruits, are notorious for teeth-staining. One way to minimize the damage is to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out with 20 to 30 after eating or drinking foods or beverages that stain.
Baking soda has long played a role in teeth-whitening. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a form of salt. Although it is often found in baked goods due to its leavening powers, it is also used in many beauty products including toothpaste.
Growing up, your parents may have mixed together baking soda with some water for you to brush your teeth with when your family ran out of traditional toothpaste. Baking soda on its own is not very palatable; however, the natural abrasiveness of baking soda makes it a very effective tool at leaving your teeth feeling clean. In fact, the Journal of the American Dental Association notes that toothpaste containing baking soda is more effective at stain removal than those free of baking soda.
To make an at-home natural baking soda teeth whitening paste, stir 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 3 teaspoons of water to form a paste. Brush like it is a typical toothpaste, rinse and spit; don’t swallow.
While baking soda cannot whiten your teeth as well as in-office or commercial teeth whitening products and procedures, it will reduce surface stains and brighten your teeth at least one shade.
Natural whitening toothpaste
You can make your own tooth whitening toothpaste with a few ingredients from a number of websites like SimpleGreenSmoothies.com. Their recipe calls for one part coconut oil to one part baking soda. Add a drop or two of peppermint essential oil (or any flavor you like) to your preference. After mixing into a paste, store in an airtight container. If you prefer a sweeter flavor add some stevia.
Again, all-natural, homemade toothpaste is less effective at whitening teeth than commercial teeth whiteners; however, it can remove fresh stains and brighten your smile.
Commercial natural teeth whiteners
Today, you can find natural brands in grocery stores, drug stores, retailers like Walmart and Target, and also through online retailers. What was once dominated by the health food market has become much more mainstream as consumers demand natural, cruelty-free, sustainable products.
vVARDIS is an online oral care brand that caters to people who want a brighter smile without harming the environment. Developed by a pair of Swiss dentists who are also sisters, vVARDIS whitens teeth and protects them. The vVARDIS line of toothpaste, mouth rinses, and whiteners are all vegan and cruelty-free.
Commercially available natural teeth whiteners can lighten your teeth several shades — refer to packaging details and always follow their directions.
While the following methods lack scientific proof that they work, plenty of sources suggest they do. At a minimum, they can help remove recent stains and prevent plaque buildup. As always, exercise caution when using home remedies and consult with your dentist before you begin brushing with any teeth whitening product. Teeth whiteners, even natural ones, can exacerbate mouth sores, gum disease, and pain from cavities and dental work.
Apple cider vinegar: A homemade apple cider vinegar mouthwash might make you pucker; however, it could also help whiten your teeth. Be careful not to overuse apple cider vinegar, because it can weaken the enamel on your teeth. For best use, limit apple cider mouthwashes to two or three times a week.
Oil pulling: This ancient mouth washing technique from India, is making somewhat of a comeback. While you can use a spoonful of any oil, many suggest coconut oil for a better-tasting mouthwash and swish it around your mouth. Push and pull it through your teeth. Once done, spit and rinse with water. Do not swallow the oil.
Raw fruits and vegetables: Although raw fruits and vegetables won’t necessarily brighten your smile, they can remove plaque on your teeth when you chew.