How to Whiten Your Teeth Without an At-Home Whitening Kit, According to a Dentist

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It’s normal to want a whiter, brighter smile, but for those of us who have a coffee- and wine-drinking habit, that can be difficult to accomplish without some extra help. While professional whitening services are the most effective, they’re also more expensive, and if you’d rather not go that route, there are some ways that you can make sure you’re keeping your teeth nice and bright with items you already have in your kitchen.

To get some tips, we asked Brian Harris, a Phoenix-based cosmetic dentist, how you can whiten your teeth at home.

Tip #1: Brush Your Teeth With Baking Soda

There are several kitchen ingredients that can help you achieve a brighter smile, and depending on whether or not you’re one of the droves of people baking banana bread at home for the last month, you probably already have at least one of them in your pantry. Baking soda has been a key ingredient in plenty of toothpastes for ages now, though Harris recommends creating a mixture that equal amounts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to get a better whitening effect.

“Baking soda removes surface stains, leaving teeth brighter and whiter,” he told POPSUGAR.

Tip #2: Do An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

According to Dr. Harris, apple cider vinegar promotes a healthy pH in the mouth and can also help to remove stains by acting as a bleaching agent. Just be aware that because ACV is very acidic, it can break down tooth enamel over time, so if you choose to use this method you’ll want to sure you dilute half of the mixture with water. Like using apple cider vinegar on your hair, use this step sparingly.

Tip #3: Eat Some Fruit

We already know about the foods that can stain your teeth, but did you know there are foods that can help whiten them? Items like pineapples, strawberries, and citrus fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that all help to reduce the appearance of stains on teeth. Pineapples and strawberries both contain teeth-whitening enzymes, while foods like oranges and lemons cause you to produce more saliva when you eat them, acting as sort of a acting as a natural mouthwash that can remove bacteria and other debris in the mouth.

Tip #4: Try Oil Pulling

If you’re unfamiliar, oil pulling is the practice of rinsing your mouth with an oil like coconut to get rid of bacteria, plaque, and other debris. “This is not a substitute for brushing or flossing, rather oil pulling removes plaque and leaves teeth whiter and breath more pleasant,” Harris said. You can try doing this for about 15 minutes and repeat as necessary, daily or weekly.

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