Get a brighter smile with these chemical-free
By Amanda Greene
When it comes to saying “cheese,” do you suddenly find yourself
tight-lipped? Yellow teeth—whether they’re from too much coffee,
smoking or just bad genetics—can feel like a serious beauty setback. But
you’re not alone: There are tons of whitening products on the market
now, from creams to gels to miniature capsules, all devoted to teeth
bleaching. If applying peroxides and other chemicals seems a bit too
harsh, though, don’t worry. There are plenty of other natural ways
to score a gleaming grin. Check out these 10 ideas to help make your
smile appear brighter, au naturel.
Mix It Up
Combine 1/2 tsp baking soda with 1/2 tsp table salt to make a teeth
cleanser, says Dorie Byers, author of Natural Beauty Basics. Add one
drop of breath-freshening peppermint essential oil to the mixture. Wet
your toothbrush, then dip it into the mixture and brush. The
particles in the baking soda polish the surface of your teeth, while a
chemical reaction with the water lightens stains. To avoid damaging
your enamel, don’t use this method more than once a week.
“Snack on saliva-producing foods like apples, pears, strawberries,
celery and carrots,” says Thomas Connelly, DDS, a New York City
cosmetic dentist. The additional saliva they produce helps remove
bacteria from your mouth and whiten your teeth.
In The Clay Mold
According to Byers, kaolin clay delivers a gentle abrasive action to
teeth and can be used as a natural whitening agent.
For breath freshening, a drop of peppermint or clove essential oil
can be added. Dampen your toothbrush and dip it into the mixture, then
brush. To avoid damaging your enamel, don’t use this method more than
once a week.
“Swish water in your mouth for 30 seconds right after eating,” says
Dr. Connelly. “It will help prevent the food you just ate from
staining your teeth.”
Dr. Connelly also recommends
adding a splash of cream or milk to black coffee or tea — it changes
the chemistry of the beverage, which makes it much more difficult for
stains to adhere to the tooth’s surface.
In the Tube
Try a toothpaste that uses all-natural ingredients. Dental hygienist
and manager of Tom’s of Maine’s Oral Care Division Susanne Kuehl
recommends Tom’s of Maine Simply White Toothpaste, which removes
stains with sodium fluoride. Another smart pick — and a favorite of
Dr. Connelly’s — is Miessence Organic Mint Toothpaste. It uses
spearmint and cinnamon to freshen breath.
Load up on spinach and other dark green veggies, like broccoli and
kale. These leafy greens contain a mineral compound, which produces a film that covers
teeth and protects against stains
Just Say No
Avoid soda, which contains acids — like phosphoric, citric, malic
and tartaric acids — that can strip your teeth’s enamel. If you have
to indulge once in a while, use a straw. It’ll help keep your teeth
Kuehl recommends this quick trick to fake whiter teeth: Wear a
blue-tinted lipstick; the cool undertones will make teeth gleam in
comparison. We like CoverGirl Wetslicks Amazemint glosses: They were
designed for this very purpose, plus they contain breath-freshening