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Natural Alternatives for Teeth Whitening : Oil Pulling, Charcoal, Turmeric, and More

  1. Introduction to Natural Alternatives to Teeth Whitening

    Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that aims to improve the appearance of stained and discolored teeth. While there are pharmacologic treatments and herbal remedies available, teeth whitening is considered to be one of the most effective methods for achieving a brighter smile.[1] Dental clinics offer professional teeth whitening services, but there are also in-home kits that can be used for the same purpose. Additionally, some people opt for alternative methods for teeth whitening, such as natural sources that are known to remove stains from teeth and promote good oral health.[2]

    Some of the most effective alternative methods for teeth whitening include oil pulling, charcoal, turmeric, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, strawberries, pineapple, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil. This article provides a detailed overview of each method, its effectiveness, and what the research says about it.[2]

  2. Oil Pulling for Teeth Whitening

    2.1 Oil Pulling Explained

    Oil pulling has been used since ancient times to ensure good dental hygiene and teeth whitening. Oil pulling is done by using coconut or sesame oil. It involves swishing oil in the mouth for a few minutes and then spitting it out.[2, 3, 4]

    It is believed that doing this regularly helps in elimination of any bacteria or other toxins that is present in the mouth which result in teeth staining and discoloration.[2, 3, 4]

    2.2 Working Mechanism of Oil Pulling

    Natural oils like coconut and sesame oil have antioxidant properties. These antioxidants damage the cell wall of the microorganisms that are harmful for the teeth and kills them. The oil attracts the lipid layer of bacterial cell membranes which causes them to get attracted to the oil and stick to it.[4]

    As soon as the oil enters the mouth the process of emulsification begins that increases the surface area of the oil. This process begins after about 4-5 minutes of oil pulling. The oil then coats the teeth and prevents spread of bacteria thereby promoting good oral hygiene and also help with teeth whitening.[4]

    2.3 The Benefits and Drawbacks of Oil Pulling

    The primary benefit of oil pulling is improved oral hygiene, whitened teeth, and a fresher breath. Additionally, oil pulling is also extremely effective in preventing many dental conditions like gingivitis, plaque formation, and dry mouth.[3]

    There are however some demerits associated with oil pulling. These include gag reflex and additionally for oil pulling to be effective it should be done on a consistent basis for best results.[3]

    2.4 What Does the Research Say

    There is not much data on the effectiveness of oil pulling in providing real improvement to oral hygiene. However, research has shown that sesame oil when used consistently for oil pulling has the ability to reduce plaque formation and prevent gingivitis, and overall improvement in oral health.[4]

  3. Charcoal for Teeth Whitening

    3.1 Use of Charcoal for Teeth Whitening Explained

    Charcoal is a residue of carbon which is obtained from burning wood, coconut shells, and peat. It is a very fine black colored powder which has potential to absorb toxins and other impurities which cause damage to oral hygiene and also cause staining of teeth.[5]

    3.2 Mechanism of Working

    The best property of charcoal is its ability to absorb toxins and even poison. This is the reason why it is widely used in cases of poisoning as well. Charcoal also absorbs toxins present in the mouth and teeth and absorbs them thereby promoting good oral hygiene and whitening of teeth. Additionally, the surface stains are scrubbed away from the teeth due to the abrasive nature of charcoal.[5]

    3.3 Merits and Demerits of Charcoal

    Charcoal is extremely effective in improving oral health and also aids in teeth whitening. It is also an extremely effective detoxifying agent and helps in removing toxins from the mouth. However, the abrasive nature of charcoal at times can cause damage to the enamel which is perhaps the only demerit of using charcoal as an alternative method for teeth whitening.[5]

    3.4 What Does the Research Say

    There is limited data available in research studies of using charcoal as teeth whitening source. However, it has been established in some studies that the abrasive nature of charcoal tends to remove any surface stains present in the teeth. Research regarding this is still ongoing regarding the benefits of charcoal as teeth whitening agent.[5]

  4. Turmeric for Teeth Whitening

    4.1 Use of Turmeric for Teeth Whitening Explained

    Turmeric is a spice widely used not only for altering the taste of the food but also is has plenty of medicinal value. yellow spice commonly used in cooking and traditional medicine. Turmeric has abundance of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which is quite effective in treatment of many ailments and oral health is no exception.[6]

    4.2 Mechanism of Working

    Using Turmeric is beneficial in removing surface stains on the teeth and promoting good oral health. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties present in turmeric protects the teeth from bacteria and other toxins that cause staining and discoloration of teeth.[6]

    4.3 Merits and Demerits of Turmeric

    Turmeric is extremely beneficial in removing surface stains in the teeth and the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects protects the teeth from infections and inflammation. The only demerit of using turmeric however that this needs to be used consistently to get the best benefits of its medicinal properties.[6]

    4.4 What does the Research Say

    A small study done to study the effectiveness for teeth whitening found that a mouthwash with turmeric content was found to be effective in reducing plaque formation and also led to overall improvement in oral health. However, with regard to teeth whitening the data is fairly limited and more research is being done to analyze the results of it.[6]

  5. Other Natural Alternatives for Teeth Whitening, Benefits and Demerits

    Aside from the alternatives mentioned above there are also certain other alternatives which are easily available and are quite effective in teeth whitening.

    5.1 Baking Soda: This is very commonly used in probably every household. If gently rubbed directly on the stains it can be quite effective in removing surface stains on the teeth. Baking soda works by neutralizing the acids present in the mouth that tend to cause staining.[7]

    Demerits: The primary demerit of using baking soda is that if it is used excessively, it tends may have detrimental effects to the tooth enamel and amy also cause tooth sensitivity.[7]

    5.2 Hydrogen Peroxide: This is quite commonly used as teeth whitening agent. When used in small amounts it can an effective alternative to remove stains from the teeth.[8]

    Demerits: Again, if used excessively it tends to irritate the gums and also cause tooth sensitivity.[8]

    5.3 Strawberries: This fruit contains malic acid which is quite effective in removing surface stains from the teeth. It is also believed that strawberries have high vitamin C which is good for healthy and strong teeth.[9]

    Demerits: Excessive use of Strawberries can at times cause damage to the tooth enamel.[9]

    5.4 Pineapple: Pineapple has bromelain which is an enzyme that breaks down the surface stains on the teeth. Additionally, pineapple is also high on vitamin C which promotes stronger teeth and promotes good oral health.[10]

    Demerits: Tooth enamel can get affected due to excessive use pineapple and may also cause tooth sensitivity.[10]

    5.5 Coconut Oil: This is an extremely potent antiinflammatory and antimicrobial which is quite effective in teeth whitening. It is one of the oils used for oil pulling to promote oral health and help in teeth whitening.[11]

    Demerits: While coconut oil has been used since ancient times for oral health there is limited data available at present with regard to the effectiveness of it in teeth whitening.[11]

  6. Conclusion

    In conclusion, achieving a healthy and dazzling smile is a priority for many people, and various methods are employed to achieve this goal. While traditional pharmacological treatments remain a popular option, they can be costly and involve harsh chemicals that may have adverse effects on teeth. As a result, natural alternatives have gained popularity as a safe and effective way to whiten teeth.[1][2] Among these natural alternatives, oil pulling, charcoal, turmeric, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and certain fruits like pineapple and strawberries have been identified as the most preferred options, as they not only promote good oral health but also help in teeth whitening.[2] However, it is important to note that these products may have certain limitations, and it is always advisable to consult a dentist before starting on any natural method for teeth whitening.[2] By following a comprehensive dental care routine and seeking professional advice when necessary, individuals can maintain healthy and sparkling teeth for years to come.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 26, 2023

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