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Your smile is often the first thing that others notice about you.
While a set of sparkling white teeth can make anyone appear more attractive and healthier, discolored teeth can seriously hamper a person’s self-confidence. People with stained or yellow teeth may even feel too conscious or embarrassed to smile in public.
Teeth tend to lose their color and shine as a person grows older. In addition to this, there are several other factors that can cause yellow or stained teeth.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Yellow teeth can be a result of:
- Thinning tooth enamel due to aging
- Hereditary factors
- Dry mouth
- Breathing through the mouth (due to blocked nasal passages)
- Excessive fluoride intake
- Poor dental hygiene
- Excessive consumption of beverages like wine, tea, soda, and coffee
- Certain food items
- Certain diseases
- Tobacco and cigarettes (1)
- Trauma or accidents that impact the teeth
Discoloration of the teeth may also occur due to additional factors such as:
- High doses of antibiotics
- Climatic conditions
- Improper metabolism
Natural Treatment Options for Yellow Teeth
Thankfully, there are several other effective and safe methods to get rid of stained and discolored teeth. These easy-to-follow home remedies can help restore your “million-dollar smile.”
Here are some ways to whiten your teeth naturally.
1. Brush your teeth with baking soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, boasts natural whitening properties and is a popular ingredient in commercial toothpaste.
Being mildly abrasive in nature, it helps scrub away surface stains and plaque accumulated on the teeth. Plaque buildup can contribute to several oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.
A review published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that toothpaste containing baking soda removed plaque from teeth more effectively than toothpaste without baking soda. (2)
Baking soda also facilitates plaque removal by neutralizing acids produced by plaque-causing bacteria.
How to use:
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a little toothpaste. Brush your teeth with this gritty mixture, and then rinse with warm water. Use this remedy once or twice a week.
- Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water. Brush your teeth with the paste. Do this a few times a week.
Caution: Excess use of baking soda can strip your teeth of its natural protective enamel. Do not use it for more than a few weeks.
2. Mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide solution
When it comes to whitening your teeth the natural way, the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide cannot be ignored. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent. It also helps in eliminating the bacteria in your mouth, thus preventing bad breath.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that brushing with commercial toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide twice a day led to 62% whiter teeth in 6 weeks. (3)
Another study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology highlights the efficacy of a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash in removing stains and plaque. (4)
How to use:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of water. Use this solution as a mouthwash twice daily.
- Alternatively, combine 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Gently brush your teeth with this mixture a few times a week for 2 or 3 weeks.
Note: Overuse of hydrogen peroxide may erode your tooth enamel. Do not use these remedies more often than recommended.
3. Try oil pulling with coconut oil
Coconut oil is an excellent ingredient for the maintenance of oral health. Using it for oil pulling will help whiten and brighten your teeth.
Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria present in the mouth. These bacteria can lead to plaque formation and other oral issues that may cause a yellow tinge on your teeth.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene found that edible oil pulling therapy is natural and safe and has no side effects, and it can be considered as a preventive home care practice to maintain oral hygiene. (6)
- Put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not gargle.
- Spit out the milky solution.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
- Brush your teeth.
- Do this once daily in the morning before you eat.
4. Reap the benefits of holy basil
The leaves of holy basil have whitening properties and can also help in protecting your teeth from problems such as periodontitis (pyorrhea), an advanced form of periodontal disease.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that holy basil mouthwash has an antiplaque effect and is effective against plaque-forming bacterial strains. It can potentially be used as an antiplaque mouthwash with prophylactic benefits. (7)
How to use:
- Place a few holy basil leaves in the sun for a few hours. Grind the dried leaves into a powder. Mix the powder with your regular toothpaste and use this mixture to brush your teeth.
- Another option is to make a paste of holy basil leaves and mustard oil and use it to clean your teeth.
5. Orange peel can be beneficial
This is one of the most popular natural remedies to whiten yellow teeth. The acidic property of orange peel makes it a powerful bleaching agent. This helps reduce the yellow tinge on your teeth.
Moreover, orange peel contains limonene, which makes it highly effective in removing teeth staining, especially stains caused by smoking.
A study that can be found in the American Journal of Dentistry states that toothpaste containing d-limonene was significantly effective in reducing smoking stains on teeth and d-limonene alone inhibited the development of further smoking stains. (8)
How to use:
- Rub a long strip of orange peel over your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Repeat this remedy twice daily, until you are satisfied with the results.
6. Partake apples
Eating a crunchy apple can help make your teeth whiter by scrubbing them like a toothbrush.
According to a study that can be found in the Insisiva Dental Journal (2012), apple juice possesses the ability to whiten the surface of the tooth enamel that changed color due to immersion in coffee solution so that it may return to its original color prior to discoloration. (9)
How to use:
- Try to eat at least one or two apples daily to get rid of the yellow stains on your teeth.
- Chew thoroughly so that the acidic nature of the apple and its fiber-rich rough flesh get ample time to work on your teeth.
You can also consume other crunchy food items including raw carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli.
7. Use Indian lilac twigs as a toothbrush
Indian lilac, also known as neem, can also be used to get whiter and brighter teeth.
Regular use of neem also helps get rid of bad breath and prevents dental cavities, plaque, gingivitis, and other oral health problems, owing to its astringent and antiseptic properties.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that neem contains isoprenoids such as nimbin, nimbinin, and nimbidin, which have antibacterial effects against oral streptococci and prevent them from adhering to the tooth surface.
Moreover, it showed a reduction in plaque and gingivitis, comparable to standard fluoridated dentifrice. (10)
How to use:
There are a few different ways you can use neem for whiter teeth:
- Use neem twigs as a toothbrush to brush your teeth daily. Simply chew on the broken end of the twig until it becomes soft enough to brush your teeth with it.
- Extract the juice of neem leaves and rub it on your teeth once daily. Leave it on for a few minutes, and then use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. Rinse it off with warm water.
- Mix a few drops of neem oil in your regular toothpaste and then brush your teeth.
8. Trust the potential of strawberries
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and can help make your teeth whiter. (11)
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that strawberry juice had a positive effect on the re-whitening process of coffee-stained teeth. (12)
How to use:
- Grind a few strawberries to make a paste. Rub the paste on your teeth gently. Use this remedy twice daily for a few weeks to get rid of the yellow tinge on your teeth.
- Alternatively, you can mix the pulp of one strawberry with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and spread the mixture onto your teeth. Let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth with toothpaste to get rid of the residue.
Note: The following remedies are neither backed by scientific evidence nor are they reviewed by our health experts. Nonetheless, a number of general users have reported an improvement in their condition using these anecdotal remedies.
9. Brush your teeth with turmeric paste
Believe it or not, this bright yellow spice can also be effective in whitening your teeth! When used for brushing the teeth, turmeric powder acts as a gentle abrasive and helps remove surface stains, thus revealing whiter teeth.
Turmeric comes with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties, mainly due to the presence of a component called curcumin. This spice can also be useful in treating other dental problems such as toothache and gingivitis.
A 2011 study published in the Food Chemistry found that components of turmeric had inhibitory effects on the virulence properties of S. mutans bioﬁlms (which are responsible for tooth decay and plaque formation) and suggested that it can be useful for controlling dental bioﬁlms and subsequent dental caries formation. (13)
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine highlights the role of turmeric in the treatment of periodontal diseases and oral cancers. (14)
How to use:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 teaspoon of water. Use this paste to brush your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeatedly rinse with water and spit it out until the liquid comes out clear. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, put 4 tablespoons of dried, organic turmeric root powder in a bowl. Add in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with a spoon or fork. Use this paste to brush your teeth once or twice daily.
10. Use an apple cider vinegar mouthwash
Apple cider vinegar works as a natural disinfectant and cleaning agent. It can also be used to whiten your teeth naturally.
Acetic acid, the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, helps kill bacteria and reduce the risk of plaque or other oral problems.
In a 2014 animal study published in the Journal of Sichuan University, researchers found that apple cider vinegar has a bleaching effect on teeth. However, it may soften the teeth. (15)
How to use:
- Dilute raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in an equal amount of water.
- Swish the solution in your mouth for 1 minute.
- Rinse your mouth with plain water.
- Do this a few times a week only.
Note: Avoid overuse of apple cider vinegar, as it can erode the enamel on your teeth.
Preventing Yellow Teeth
Here are a few ways to prevent your pearly-white teeth from turning yellow:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. This is the most important step in a proper dental care routine.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day to help remove plaque from areas where your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Rinse your mouth with water after meals or drinking caffeinated beverages to remove any leftover food or residue from your teeth. This will help prevent stains and decay.
- Cut back on coffee, tea, and other food and beverages that may stain your teeth.
- Visit your dentist for a dental cleaning every 6 months.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, as these habits are harmful to your oral health and can cause stained teeth, gum disease, and even oral cancer.
Additional Tips for Management and Prevention of Yellow Teeth
- Choose your toothpaste according to your oral healthcare requirements.
- Along with choosing the right toothpaste, it is also important to pick the right toothbrush. Both manual and electric toothbrushes can be used to clean your teeth efficiently. Choose the one you are more comfortable with.
- Do not share your toothbrush with anyone.
- Rinse your toothbrush before and after every use to keep bacteria from accumulating on the bristles.
- Brush your tongue along with your teeth to remove bacteria and bad breath.
- Buy a new toothbrush every three or four months.
- Use a mouthwash to help freshen up your breath.
- Avoid brushing right after eating very acidic foods, which can weaken your enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water.
- A healthy diet goes a long way in maintaining good oral health.
When to See a Doctor
If you have severely discolored or stained teeth, consult your dentist about various treatment options available to you. You should also visit your dentist if the color of your teeth appears abnormal without any known cause or if you experience any additional symptoms.
Even the most stringent oral hygiene regimen may not be able to prevent some degree of dental staining, especially if you don’t back it up with a healthy diet and lifestyle. You can try the above listed remedies and tips to remove the yellowish tint from your teeth, but be patient and consistent to see visible results.
A lot of people prefer professional treatment to remove the yellow tinge from their teeth. However, such treatments can be time-consuming, expensive, and even harmful.
Commercial toothpaste may contain several harmful ingredients such as triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, microbeads, and diethanolamine, to name a few. Additionally, many toothpaste products are flavored with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
According to the American Dental Association, you must consult your dentist before using a bleaching product for teeth whitening. This is especially important for people with several dental fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains. (16)