- Extrinsic discoloration refers to stains on the enamel (the outer layer of your tooth) that can look like yellow tints, brown spots, or white streaks.
- Intrinsic discoloration refers to darkening of the dentin (inner layer of your tooth) into a yellow or grey tint.
Intrinsic discoloration is much harder to reverse, and may require a cosmetic treatment like veneers. However, extrinsic discoloration can usually be taken care through a variety of whitening techniques.
There are many over-the-counter remedies that can do this, but the effects only last for a certain amount of time. More importantly, they are merely covering up the real issue-the bacteria and other stain-causing molecules that build up on your teeth.
The benefit of using natural remedies is that they take care of the root of the problem to give you the most natural-looking white smile possible. Here are some natural remedies that have proven quite successful at reversing tooth discoloration, and restoring your pearly-white smile.
Oil-pulling is actually a very old remedy, dating back 3, 000 years, to the Indian Ayurvedic medicine system. Oil-pulling involves swishing about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Studies have shown that it helps to remove plaque, fight gingivitis, and kill the microorganisms that cause bad breath.
You can use coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, or other standard cooking oils. However, it is said that sesame seed oil works best, specifically in "whitening" the teeth. While the other oils have the same cleaning and disinfecting effect, they don't have the same whitening ability as sesame oil.
Tips for Oil-Pulling
- If 20 minutes is too difficult, start with 5 and work your way up. The whitening benefits usually don't start until you can swish for 15 minutes or more.
- Only use a tablespoon. As you swish the oil around in your mouth, it oxygenates and grows. You may find that any more than that will be too much will cause you to want to spit it out. Oil is expensive...no need to waste it.
- You don't have to swish very hard. 20 minutes is a long time. If your jaw gets sore, swish more gently.
- Don't swallow or gargle with the oil afterward...it will contain all the bacteria that it pulled from your mouth and you don't want that staying in your body. Spit it out!
- Spit it out in a trash can rather than down the sink-oil clogs drains.
This one may seem strange...because we all know that fruit is acidic and therefore can wear away at the enamel on our teeth, making them more susceptible to stains...
But, the malic acid in strawberries can help remove surface discoloration on your teeth. You just have to make sure that you brush your teeth afterwards to keep it from eating away the enamel.
Mixing strawberries and baking soda, makes for an even more effective solution.
- Mix crush 1 strawberry and mix it with 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda until it is thoroughly blended.
- Brush it onto your teeth using a toothbrush
- Leave on for 3-5 minutes
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly and brush using toothpaste
- Make sure to get any stray seeds out with floss
You should only use this treatment once weekly as the citric acid can damage your enamel if applied too regularly.
Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-bacterial agent, while baking soda works to scrub the teeth because of the grittiness of the substance. The free radicals that this mixture creates works to break down stain-causing molecules that rest on your teeth. You can then brush away the remnants.
- Combine equal amounts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
- Mix them into a paste
- Brush your teeth as you would with regular toothpaste
- Be sure to rinse thoroughly and brush with toothpaste afterwords
You can also use baking soda by itself, or mixed with your toothpaste. Just place some toothpaste on your brush, then dip it in the baking soda, and brush like you normally would, rinsing thoroughly afterwards. Follow-up brushing with just regular toothpaste.
Though Apple Cider Vinegar can take up to a month to do its job, many say that it bears results closest to that of a professional teeth whitening. It works particularly well on coffee and nicotine stains. It also makes a great gum cleaner.