5 Ways To Naturally Whiten Teeth (Without Harsh Chemicals!)

5 Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth without those yuck chemicals!

Image via Flickr CC

Post by Contributor, Jamie Larrison of How to Just About Anything

Years ago I decided to take the fast track to a whiter, more vibrant smile. Enticed by the Hollywood dazzle, I tried out the popular whitening strips and gelled trays. Not only were there little to no results after one application, but it burned my gums and made my teeth incredibly sensitive to hot and cold foods.

These products work by bleaching your enamel with harsh concentrations of chemicals. Not only do they remove the stains (most of the time), but they also strip the enamel, making teeth more sensitive and brittle.

This Dental Hygienest recommends using a sensitivity toothpaste while whitening teeth. She goes on to add, “One time, I made the mistake of ordering a different brand that was stronger than 20% (carbamide peroxide) and literally burned away part of my gums within minutes!”

Ironically she still recommends the product as a professional in her field.

Not something you want to use? Me either! Fortunately for you there are much safer ways to whiten your teeth at home, without the expense or hassle of gooey trays and strips.

There’s plenty of bad advice out there. Like this article that warns against using baking soda in favor of ADA approved, abrasive, fluoride laden, whitening toothpaste. This same article also recommends using chocolate and sugar free gum to enhance those pearly whites (insert palm to face here).

There is much advice on how to whiten your teeth in the natural health world. Some of it is legitimate, while others I’m not so sure about. Like rubbing banana peels on your teeth. Really not sure about that one! So what does work?

Whiten Teeth Naturally

1. Hydrogen peroxide

This was a staple in my teeth whitening regimen the summer before my wedding. I would swish 1 part peroxide with 1 part water in my mouth for 1 minute. Since then I’ve come up with a super simple whitening mouthwash using peroxide. Conventional mouthwash, like Listerine’s Whitening plus Restoring Fluoride rinse, boasts it’s use of peroxide to whiten the teeth. But what’s really in it?

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor extract (tainted with cancer causing dioxanes), fluoride, phosphoric ACID, poloxamer 407, and several types of sugars, sucralose and sorbitol.

     No thanks! Here’s my recipe instead. Clove is wonderful for any pain and sensitivity in the mouth, while lemon adds extra whitening power.

diy mouthwash

Image via RGBstock

DIY Whitening Mouth Wash


  • 1.5 tsp Food grade 35% hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 cups Filtered water
  • 3-5 drops Essential oil of choice (cinnamon and clove, peppermint or spearmint are all excellent)
  • 3 drops Tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops Lemon essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake gently before each use. Mason jars are perfect for this! Store in a cool place.

2. Charcoal

Although it sounds backwards, brushing your teeth with this black powder works wonders! Its especially good for removing stains caused by the tannins in tea, coffee and wine. This can also be combined with coconut oil and used for an extra whitening oil pull.

3. Turmeric

Yes, the same bright orange powder that stains everything it touches actually whitens your teeth. I haven’t found brushing with it to be as effective as charcoal. It does however work well when applied as a paste to the teeth and allowed to sit for 15 minutes or so before brushing off with toothpaste.

white powder

Image via Flickr CC

4. Baking Soda

Many people automatically think of baking soda when they think of teeth whitening. This classic staple will shine your pearly whites, but be careful. Baking soda can irritate gums in high amounts, so don’t use every day or brush for long periods.

5. You are What you Eat

Our diets effect our mouth health more than anything else. Fat soluble vitamins found in pastured eggs, meat, organ meats and raw milk are vital for strong, healthy teeth. Minimizing harmful foods like excess sweets and grains rich in the anti-nutrient phytic acid are also important. The Weston A Price Foundation and Ramiel Nagel’s book, Cure Tooth Decay are both excellent resources on diets ideal for mouth health.

Don’t forget the fruits and veggies! These contain a vast array of vitamins and minerals that are just as important to mouth health and strong enamel. Katie from Wellness Mama has a great article summarizing the ideal diet for building healthy, strong, white enamel.

How does your family take care of their oral health?

I'm Beth. I created Red & Honey because I'm obsessed with the wild art of wellness.

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  1. Molly Roets says

    Please explain using charcoal. Is there a certain type to buy, and do you just crush it? Is this safe? I thought charcoal was a known carcinogen. I’m not familiar with this.

    • says

      This isn’t the regular charcoal you use on the grill. This is activated charcoal that’s safe for internal use. I buy from the Bulk Herb Store and this is the description they have on their website.

      “Activated Charcoal Powder has anti-poison, astringent, and absorbent properties. It has been used as an anti-poison remedy for centuries. It works as an absorbent of toxins in the digestive system.
      Activated Charcoal Powder can adsorb a variety of particles and gases, which makes it ideal for removing potentially toxic substances from the digestive tract. Your stomach acid does not break down the Activated Charcoal Powder, so it is not absorbed by the body, but carries toxins out of the body in the feces.”

    • Ingrid says

      I’ve read a few articles about lemon being good for whitening and oral health among other things but it was also recommended rinsing your teeth well with water after, as lemon is bad for enamel. I’ve also read it takes about twenty minutes before food starts to cause cavities. I’m unsure as to how long before lemon damages enamel.

    • says

      I’m not sure if it will whiten them or not since they’re composite or porcelain, not enamel.

      A friend of mine has a composite cap on her front tooth and has to get it replaced every 5 years because of the staining.

  2. Abby says

    Thanks for the post on natural whitening! I’m wondering about fluoride use too. Do you have any info on it? My two year old’s pediatrician highly recommends it (along with our dentist) but I’ve read such mixed information on fluoride. The internet has a wealth of knowledge but it’s overwhelming and not always reliable!

    • says

      Sodium Fluoride and fluorosilicic acid are some of the most poisonous substances in our everyday lives.

      I’m sure your dentist and pediatrician are wonderful people, but they are only passing along what they’ve been taught. I HIGHLY recommend looking at this website http://fluoridealert.org/new-visitors/ for the credible science behind the toxicity of fluoride. There are hundreds of studies available to review here as well as a petition signed by thousands of healthcare professionals, Dr’s and dentists alike calling for an end to fluoride use in people.

      My husband has severe fluoride poisoning from growing up with city water. This is just one of the many issues that studies have shown fluoride to cause.

      If you have the time and want to know the history of fluoride you can read “The Fluoride Deception.” It’s a highly cited non-fiction written by research journalist Christopher Bryson.

      A very good video to watch is “The Great Culling.” It’s presented in a sensational manner, but the info is sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7BqFtyCRJc

      I’ve been contracted to develop a toothpaste for a new cosmetic company and have consulted with some of the top formulation chemists on this. This has included heavy research on fluoride.

      I can understand your confusion as there is so much info out there on both sides. But after several hundred hours of research on my part I firmly believe fluoride should be avoided.

  3. says

    I love this post! I’m a teeth fanatic (have been since I was young) but hate the thought of all the chemicals. My husband and I have tried the peroxide and baking soda, and both work wonders!

  4. says

    Thanks so much for this great post! Who knew turmeric would actually whiten teeth? You would think that it would stain them. We use whitening Listerine (store brand) and Tom’s of Maine (whitening), but I’m all for doing it more naturally (and cost effectively) at home. Thanks so much for the info!

  5. says

    LOVE these tips! Thank you so much for sharing how we can whiten our teeth naturally. I had a super bad experience with a commercial whitening gel and have been curious since then about other ways to naturally whiten teeth. Then, this article popped into my inbox. Yay! Will definitely share this via social media! Appreciate your insight! Blessings, Kelly

    • says

      Because the peroxide and antibacterial essential oils are in it I’ve found this to last several months at room temperature. It will start to mold though if it’s kept in a very warm spot.

    • says

      We use the mouthwash everyday since it’s so diluted. Be sure to use it BEFORE you brush though! If you experience any sensitivity for some reason (which you shouldn’t ) then use less often.

      If you’re using charcoal as part of your oil pulling regimen then it’s safe to use everyday. If you mix a little in with your toothpaste then it’s also fine everyday. If using straight charcoal though I wouldn’t do it more than 3 times a week as there’s some speculation it can be slightly abrasive.

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