Natural Teeth Whitening: What Works And What Doesn’t

Natural Teeth Whitening: What Works And What Doesn’t

A bright, white smile is a universal symbol of health and beauty, prompting many people to explore various teeth whitening methods. While professional treatments are highly effective, they can also be expensive and involve chemicals that some people prefer to avoid. Natural teeth whitening methods present a seemingly safer and more affordable alternative. However, it’s essential to know which methods are truly effective and which ones may be more myth than reality.

Below, we delve into natural teeth whitening techniques, highlighting what works and what doesn’t.

What works

1. Baking soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a staple in many toothpaste formulas due to its mild abrasive properties. It can help scrub away surface stains on teeth while its alkaline nature neutralises acids in the mouth, contributing to a whiter smile. For a DIY whitening solution, mix a small amount of baking soda with water to form a paste and brush your teeth with it a few times a week.

2. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in commercial whitening products because of its renowned bleaching properties. When used in low concentrations, it can safely and effectively whiten teeth. One method involves mixing hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to create a paste, while another uses a diluted hydrogen peroxide mouthwash. It’s important to use hydrogen peroxide sparingly to avoid tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Ask an expert if you are unsure.

3. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is touted for its natural cleansing properties, pointing to its effectiveness in removing stains from teeth. To use it safely, dilute apple cider vinegar with water and rinse your mouth with the mixture. Be cautious with its use, as the acetic acid in the vinegar can erode tooth enamel if used excessively.

Controversial areas

1. Coconut oil pulling

Swishing oil about your mouth to get rid of microorganisms and improve dental health is known as “oil pulling.” Coconut oil has become popular because of its flavour and antibacterial qualities. To try oil pulling, take a spoonful of coconut oil and swirl it about in your mouth for five to ten minutes, then spit it out and rinse with water. Some claim that the oil can help remove stains from the teeth, but this has yet to be proven in scientific research.

2. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent substance that can help remove toxins and stains from teeth. To use it for teeth whitening, you can either use toothpaste containing activated charcoal or make a paste by mixing charcoal powder with water. Brush your teeth gently with this paste, as the charcoal’s abrasiveness can wear down enamel if used too vigorously. There is currently no scientific consensus on this method.

What doesn’t work

1. Lemon or orange peels

Some people have recommended lemon and orange peels for their natural bleaching properties. However, the high acidity of citrus fruits can erode tooth enamel, leading to increased sensitivity and susceptibility to staining; it is a common mistake of teeth whitening.

2. Strawberries

Rubbing strawberries on teeth is a popular natural whitening method due to the malic acid they contain. However, the acid and sugar in strawberries can harm enamel, and the abrasive seeds can damage teeth.

3. Turmeric

Known for its health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is sometimes touted as a teeth whitener. In reality, its strong pigmentation can leave a yellow stain on teeth and gums, making it ineffective for whitening.

4. Bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is recommended by some for its ability to bind to toxins and impurities. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness in whitening teeth, and its abrasive nature can cause significant enamel erosion over time.

5. Salt

Using salt as a scrub for teeth might seem logical, but it is far too abrasive for regular use. Salt can cause enamel damage, leading to tooth erosion and sensitivity.


Natural teeth whitening methods can be a viable option for achieving a brighter smile without resorting to chemicals or expensive treatments. Effective methods such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and apple cider vinegar can provide noticeable results when used correctly. Conversely, techniques involving citrus peels, strawberries, turmeric, bentonite clay, and salt are either ineffective or potentially harmful.

BigSmile Dental Clinic offers services in teeth whitening or dental whitening in Singapore. Advanced technology and safe methods are available to ensure you achieve the best possible results without compromising your dental health. Visit BigSmile Dental Clinic for a radiant smile that lasts.