Nothing beats having a world-class smile. Pretty much everyone wants to have big, beautiful, pearly whites that they feel confident in showing off every time they smile and laugh. Getting white teeth without expensive dental procedures or chemical-filled products, however, can be tricky. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to clean yellow teeth naturally at home.
How To Clean Yellow Teeth Naturally
Let’s be honest here: Who doesn’t want a bright, white smile? Having a smile, you feel confident in is very important for our overall self-image. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with our teeth, particularly with teeth whiteness. Thankfully, there are many ways to clean yellow teeth naturally without using chemical-filled products that bleach your teeth.
What Makes Teeth Yellow?
First, you need to understand what makes your teeth yellow in the first place, and to do that; you need to know the (very basic) make-up of a tooth. Your tooth is largely made of dentin. Dentin is the bony tissue that makes up most of your teeth and is naturally more yellow in color. Dentin is pretty sensitive, so there is an outer layer called enamel that protects it. Your enamel is white, more or less. (1)
Teeth can start to look yellow on the outside for three reasons (1):
- Certain foods and drinks have stained your enamel
- Plaque has built up on your teeth
- Hard enamel has eroded, exposing the softer, yellow dentin underneath.
Things that can cause teeth to yellow or become stained are:
- Certain foods and drinks, such as coffee, red wine, tea, blueberries
- A diet high in simple carbohydrates and sugar (both refined and naturally occurring)
- Smoking and tobacco products
- Excessive fluoride use
- Certain medications and mouthwashes
- Age and genetics
- Chronic dry mouth
- Mouth trauma
- Poor dental care and oral hygiene (2)
If you are concerned about your teeth, the first thing you should do is visit your dentist. They can help you, particularly if the issue is due to eroded enamel. There are also plenty of at-home teeth whitening options. Be careful when using them, however, to ensure you don’t damage your enamel or gums. Remedies that are too abrasive can make your teeth and gums vulnerable to cavities and other infections. Without further adieu, here are our top ways to clean yellow teeth naturally at home.
6 At-Home Teeth Whitening Remedies
1. Proper Dental Care and Oral Hygiene
Now I know what you’re thinking: What? I thought these were supposed to be things I didn’t know! The thing is, proper oral care (brushing thoroughly, flossing, and using mouthwash) are the fundamentals of having white teeth. If you skip steps or don’t do them properly, there’s not much point in doing anything else. Brushing properly means twice a day for two minutes each time, avoiding brushing immediately after eating acidic foods. Brush gently in a circular motion to protect your gums from receding. You should brush the back, front, and tops of your teeth, as well as your tongue. Use whitening toothpaste for the best effect. Flossing and mouthwash, using an alcohol-free mouthwash, preferably, should be done at least once a day as well. If you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums will likely bleed a little bit. If you think the bleeding is excessive or doesn’t lessen or go away over time, see your dentist.
2. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a technique used in India for thousands of years. It involves using oils, such as coconut oil, like a mouthwash. You swish the oil around your mouth to get rid of bacteria that may cause your teeth to yellow and cause bad breath. Removing this bacteria may also help to prevent tooth decay and loss. (3, 4) Traditionally people used sunflower or sesame oil. However, coconut oil is trendy today, and really any oil will work. Coconut oil is popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. (3)
To use, put two teaspoons or a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish for 15 to 20 minutes. If your coconut oil is solid, you may have to wait a few seconds for it to melt. (3) Be sure not to spit the oil down the drain, as it can harden in the pipes and cause drainage problems. (3)
3. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that is an effective teeth whitener, and even some toothpaste brands use it. (5) Combining it with some hydrogen peroxide gives it even more oomph. (2) Hydrogen peroxide, when properly diluted, is a natural bleaching agent that also kills bacteria in your mouth. It is also often found in commercial toothpaste. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide to 1.5% to 3% maximum before using. (6) If you’re nervous about the peroxide, you can also just create a baking soda paste using baking soda and water. As always, brush gently.
4. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal really took the natural health world by storm. It is highly absorbent, which is what supposedly makes it an effective teeth whitener. (8) While there are activated charcoal toothpastes out there, you can also DIY yourself one.
Empty one capsule of activated charcoal onto your toothbrush. You can also empty it onto a dish and dab a wet toothbrush into it, or you can add a tiny amount of water to make it a paste before putting it in your mouth. (2)
Brush very gently on your teeth for two minutes, being mindful of the gum area. Rinse your mouth thoroughly, making sure you rinse away all of the charcoal. It can be abrasive, which is why you need to brush with care, particularly around the gum area. (2) If you have sensitive teeth or exposed dentin, activated charcoal is not recommended.
5. Eat A Healthy Diet
I know – another non-hack, hack. But this one is arguably more important than any of the above-listed tricks. If you want healthy gums and white teeth, you need to eat a healthy diet. Diets full of simple carbohydrates and sugars support the growth of bacteria that eat away at your tooth enamel and make your teeth appear yellow. They also make you more prone to cavities. (9)
Limit or avoid things like coffee, tea, red wine, sodas, and dark berries, all of which can stain your teeth. Instead, eat fruits and veggies with a high water content to help keep your teeth clean. (1) Crunchy fruits and veggies also help to increase saliva production, which can help wash away food particles and unwanted bacteria. (2)
Fruits such as pineapple and papaya have properties that may actually support stain removal. (10) Fruits high in citric acid, however, if consumed in access, may wear away at your tooth enamel. (2) All in all, a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and some fruits will help you achieve a bright, white smile.
The Final Word On A Whiter Smile & How To Clean Yellow Teeth
As often is the case with natural remedies, they are not all scientifically proven. (1) When trying something new, start small and monitor your teeth and gums closely. If you notice any negative changes, stop immediately. If you have worn tooth enamel, you are better off getting help from your dentist rather than trying anything by yourself at home.
Finally, the last not-so-secret secret to white teeth is regular check-ups and cleanings by your dentist. Not only can they remove plaque and stains more effectively than you can, but they can also monitor your oral health that can give clues to your health overall.
- “6 Simple Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth at Home.” Healthline. Becky Bell, MS, RD. December 10, 2019.
- “What causes yellow teeth?” Healthline. Erica Cirino. December 2, 2019.
- “Oil Pulling With Coconut Oil Can Transform Your Dental Health.” Healthline. Kris Gunnars, BS. May 2, 2018.
- “Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health.” NCBI. Abhinav Singh, Bharathi Purohit. April- June 2011.
- “Bactericidal action of bicarbonate ion on selected periodontal pathogenic microorganisms.” NCBI. E Newbrun, et al. November 1984.
- “Tooth whitening: facts and fallacies.” NCBI. H O Heymann. April 2005.
- “[Effects of vinegar on tooth bleaching and dental hard tissues in vitro].” NCBI. Li-wei Zheng, et al. November 2014.
- “Whitening toothpaste containing activated charcoal, blue covarine, hydrogen peroxide or microbeads: which one is the most effective?” Scielo. Vanessa Torraca Peraro Vaz, et al. January 14, 2019.
- “Sugars and dental caries.” NCBI. Riva Touger-Decker, Cor van Loveren. October 2003.
- “Efficacy of Extrinsic Stain Removal by Novel Dentifrice Containing Papain and Bromelain Extracts.” NCBI. PK Chakravarthy, S Acharya. December 2012.