Many of us are very concerned about chemicals in our cleaning and personal care products. A lot of holistic options have been made available, and while this post is specifically about the holistic whitening options, I’m sure I’ll go into more depth on holistic home care in the future as well.
The top methods I see online are usually activated charcoal, coconut oil pulling, crushed strawberries and baking soda, and lemon juice.
Activated Charcoal- this method can be done in one of two ways, online some companies sell already mixed toothpastes that you can use to brush your teeth, or more often it’s recommended on pinterest, facebook, youtube etc. that you get activated charcoal capsules, open them and use a TINY bit of water on your toothbrush to apply the charcoal to your teeth so that you can whiten them.
Does it work?
I’m reservedly saying, yes… but here is the catch. When you use these pastes or this powder, you are using an abrasive substance to scrub stains out of your teeth, and because of the detoxifying properties, the activated charcoal will assist in reducing the appearance of stain. It is not bleaching the natural color of your teeth. If you use this method, you really need to make sure to FLOSS, and RINSE, to get the powder or paste out from under the gum line, and do not use this method often as it can damage the enamel just like brushing too aggressively.
Another alternative to this is the BURST electric toothbrush- the bristles are infused with Binchotan Charcoal to reduce and prevent staining, without the abrasive factor.
Coconut Oil Pulling- this method is done by swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes a day, they say that this will result in a whiter smile.
Does it work?
Kind of. Similar to the activated charcoal, the coconut oil will make it harder for stain to adhere to the tooth. Instead of using abrasion as a stain lifter/preventer, this method is using oil to slowly “dissolve” existing stain and provide a slick surface to prevent stain from attaching to the tooth matrix. This method is also widely preached as an alternative to tooth-brushing.
I’m not so quick to poo-poo natural methods, but here is my two cents. Nothing is going to prevent gingivitis or cavities like mechanical (meaning brushing or using a washcloth and flossing) removal of plaque. Coconut oil makes it harder for the plaque and soft deposits to adhere to the tooth in the first place but can not do all the work. If you want to go fluoride free and this is an option you like- go for it. But if you do, I’d recommend oil pulling, then flossing, then gently brushing with water.
Crushed Strawberries and Baking Soda??- the idea is to mush up strawberries and mix them with baking soda into a heterogeneous mixture and brush your teeth with it, let it set a bit and then rinse it out. Not only is this gross, and abrasive, but also its acidic. I’m not even going to really go into if it works or not, because I just think this method is an all around bad idea and not going to be a good addition to anyone’s routine.
Lemon Juice- there are plenty of methods available on pinterest using lemon juice….highly discourage this method as lemon juice is extremely acidic and erodes the enamel away. Whitening strips out there do not erode the enamel like this, SO even those that are conscious about commercial products I would recommend strips over lemon juice any day of the week.
My mind is always open to holistic methods so if you have any to suggest, I’d be happy to try them!