It’s normal to want a gleaming, healthy smile, and if coffee, soda, or tea has your smile looking a bit yellowed and dingy, you’re probably considering ways to remove those stains. As more people turn to natural solutions for beauty and health care, including dental care, our dentists in Cary wanted to take an opportunity to examine natural teeth whitening solutions to see what works, what’s safe, and what you should do if you want to restore your bright smile.


What Causes Teeth to Stain?

Most teeth stains are extrinsic, meaning they are on the outside of the teeth, and are caused by things like food and drink, smoking, and even age. Coffee, red wine, colas, and tea, as well as tobacco products are the common causes, so if you consume these things regularly, you may find your teeth looking yellow.

Also, plaque build-up on the teeth can take on a yellow tone and make your teeth look discolored. Regular brushing and flossing can remove this, though, if not removed, it can harden into tartar and has to be removed by a dental professional.

Oil Pulling for Whiter Teeth

First, we want to look at “oil pulling.” This method is thought to attract bacteria from your mouth, leaving your teeth cleaner, your breath fresher, and your teeth whiter. It involves taking a tablespoon of oil, usually coconut oil or sunflower seed oil, and swishing it around in the mouth. This isn’t a short task, either – you have to swish it and hold it in your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out and brushing with your usual toothbrush and toothpaste.

Does it work?

There’s no real scientific evidence saying yes, oil pulling whitens teeth or no, it doesn’t. Coconut oil does have lauric acid which is anti-inflammatory, so it can reduce bacteria in the mouth, and swishing oil in your mouth can loosen bacteria. While it may not remove stains, oil pulling may leave your teeth looking a bit brighter and cleaner.

Is oil pulling safe?

As long as you are doing this in conjunction with twice daily brushing, flossing, and getting your dental checkups, oil pulling is completely harmless, if inconvenient. Also, it can be exhausting to swish coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes, and if you swallow it, it may upset your stomach.

Whitening Teeth with Baking Soda

You may have seen, or even use, a toothpaste with baking soda in order to freshen your breath and get your teeth whiter. They’re often approved by the American Dental Association, and baking soda is generally a good additive to remove odors and whiten teeth. This has led some people to try whitening their teeth by making a paste of baking soda and water.

Does it work?

Baking soda is highly abrasive, so using it to brush can remove surface stains, especially when mixed with hydrogen peroxide, rather than water. Plus, it cleans and removes plaque.

Is it safe?

Using baking soda once a week to brighten your teeth is generally harmless, though it has an unpleasant taste and texture. However, it’s so abrasive, using it regularly can wear down enamel, and because it doesn’t have any fluoride, teeth may be more prone to decay.

Teeth Whitening with Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has recently become a hot item, showing up in everything from body wash and toothpaste to detox teas. This isn’t the charcoal used in grills, it’s made by superheating natural sources of carbon, like hardwood or coconut shells, and it’s highly absorbent. In fact, charcoal tablets were often used to stop toxins like poisons or alcohol from being absorbed and preventing overdoses.

Because toxins bind to the charcoal, some people believe that stains in your teeth will bind to the charcoal, too, and it has recently become widely used in DIY home teeth whitening. You can purchase it as a powder or a capsule you can open, mix it with water into a paste or sprinkle the black powder onto your wet toothbrush.

Does it work?

While activated charcoal products claim to remove stains from coffee and wine, there’s no evidence backing these claims up.

Is it safe?

Activated charcoal is so abrasive, it can actually do more harm than good by damaging tooth enamel.

Safe, Effective Home Tooth Whitening from Your Dentist

Fortunately, if you want to whiten your teeth at home, you don’t have to try different home remedies! Today, you can talk to your dentist about at-home professional teeth whitening in which you’ll be fitted for custom trays at your dentist’s office to ensure a perfect fit, then you’ll receive a bottle of whitening solution made from a safe hydrogen peroxide solution. You can safely whiten your teeth in the comfort of home, knowing your using a trusted method to get the bright, gleaming smile you want.

Talk to Us About Teeth Whitening in Cary

If you’d like to learn more about how to safely remove teeth stains and restore a healthy, white smile, schedule an appointment with us today! Give our dentist office in Cary a call at (919) 467-2203 or reach out to our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and you can also use a contact form to request an appointment.