Yes, you heard us right. There is such a thing as natural teeth whitening, thank heavens! We all want that glowing pearly white smile but the options are fairly limited to some shady commercial 'whitening' toothpastes and chemical whitening products that can do far more harm than good. Luckily we have found some great natural options to keep that smile beaming and your mouth healthy.
Let's start by taking a look at what's in commercial toothpaste, shall we? Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is the stuff that makes soaps foam. We all seem to be fairly aware of not having this in our skincare products but why are we still putting it in our mouth? According to research studies, SLS has various side effects ranging from skin irritation and mouth ulcers to cancer. That's a solid NO from us. Next we have Triclosan, a chemical that acts as an endocrine disruptor in our bodies and can lead to serious heath problems. There are also Microbeads, which are small plastic pellets and have been linked to gum disease. As always, you will also find artificial sweeteners (like aspartame) and fluoride in toothpaste, which is a toxic chemical that accumulates in the body and can lead to neurological and endocrine issues. Think that's it? We've got more bones to pick with toothpaste ingredients. Propylene Glycol, which is also found in anti-freeze and paint and DEA, which is a hormone disruptor and potential carcinogen. None of that sounds great to us, yet as a society we are popping this directly onto our mucus membranes (some of the most absorbent surfaces of our bodies) multiple times a day. And that's just TOOTHPASTE! We haven't even touched on what's in the commercial teeth bleaching agents but at this stage I think we can all agree, it's not going to be good if all that toxic junk can be found in the tube of Colgate we pulled off the shelf at Coles.
It's not all doom and gloom though, there are some great brands making toxin-free toothpaste with stellar ingredients. Head to your local health food shop to check out your options. A few of our faves are Magic Mud, Dr Bronner, Grants, Red Seal and Jack 'n Jill.
In regards to whitening there are two things that we do to naturally whiten our smiles: oil pulling and charcoal whitening.
Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing your mouth with oil, like a mouthwash (we use coconut oil for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties) for 10-20 mins a day. It detoxifies the oral cavity and draws out toxins and bad bacteria. The process naturally helps to whiten teeth and prevent bad breath and gingivitis and is also thought to have detoxifing effects on the whole body. You can read all about exactly how to do it RIGHT HERE.
Using something very black on your teeth to make them white seems counter intuitive but charcoal whitening actually works! You can find activated charcoal in some toothpastes or in a plain powder form. Charcoal is king at absorbing and binding toxins and stains as it pulls them from the body. It is so powerful, large doses of charcoal are readily used in emergency medical centres to treat drug and alcohol overdoses. It's effectiveness in pulling toxins from the body (hangover cure perhaps?) is now being recognised as a very effective way to naturally whiten teeth. You can read more about how to do it RIGHT HERE. Top tip: Charcoal is abrasive so be sure to brush gently and not too often as you don't want to damage your teeth. Either do it a few days in a row every couple of months or once a week, ongoing.
We are really digging MY FOOD RELIGION'S IDEA of combining the two methods to get the benefits of both! This way, you get the detox benefits of oil pulling whilst ensuring the teeth are not being abraded by rough brushing. So add your activated charcoal to your coconut oil and get swishing!
So there you have our take on standard toothpaste and commercial whitening, as well as some super easy toxin-free alternatives!