Nine natural ways to whiten your teeth
Did you know that Brits spent £100 million on teeth whitening products last year? Plenty of us lust after perfect pearly whites, but as these figures show, dental treatment can be very expensive and damaging.
With items you can find around the house, celebrity dentist Dr Richard Marques, whose clients include Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, shows us how strawberries, cheese and even salt can whiten your teeth.
1. BAKING SODA
Baking soda is a natural teeth whitener thanks to its oxidising properties. It is included in many toothpastes but you can make your own version for a fraction of the price.
TO USE: Try mixing a quarter teaspoon of baking soda with water and applying this to the teeth with your toothbrush. It will not damage your teeth in any way but will make them look gradually whiter over time.
2. COCONUT OIL
This technique, known as oil-pulling, removes bacteria and helps prevent plaque and stains from sticking to your teeth by lubricating them.
TO USE: You have to swill a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for as long as you can - 15 minutes is ideal
Charcoal is another effective way to help clean and whiten your teeth. The best option is to use a 100 percent natural tooth polish made from activated coconut shell charcoal. This strengthens gums, removes toxins from the mouth, absorbs bacteria. This is an instant fix although the more you use it the better the results.
TO USE: To use the charcoal you use a manual toothbrush. First dip it in water and then into the charcoal, rub it over your teeth like a regular toothpaste, start applying water to toothbrush to rinse the charcoal away.
4. WARM SALT WATER
Salt helps to both whiten your teeth naturally and look after your gums as it's a natural antibacterial.
TO USE: Mix a teaspoon of salt (Table salt is fine but pink Himalayan salt is better) in a cup of warm kettle-boiled water (make sure to cool it down!) and use it as mouthwash.
Due to the abundant malic acid, which is a natural cleanser, in this sweet fruit, strawberries can naturally whiten your teeth.
Apples are one of the best natural teeth-cleansing foods. This is due in part to the cleansing texture which helps scrub away plaque, but like strawberries they also contain malic acid to enhance the cleaning process.
7. WATER AND MILK
The calcium in milk helps to strengthen tooth enamel and structure as well as jaw bone, while water is a natural cleanser that will help to wash away plaque.
AVOID: Obviously you should avoid full fat fizzy drinks not only for your teeth but for your health but if you do want to drink fizzy drinks make sure you use a straw. Using a straw will then bypass your teeth. This goes for fruit juices, smoothies, protein shakes and energy drinks.
8. WHITE FOODS
The whiter the foods you eat, the whiter your teeth will be.
EAT: To help keep your teeth pearly white, eat chicken, fish, rice and potatoes.
AVOID: Pigmented foods such as beetroot, blueberries, carrots and Chinese/Indian takeaways - which often include turmeric or food colourings that can bind to teeth's enamel and stain.
Another great naturally cleansing food that can strengthen the teeth is cheese. It of course contains plenty of calcium to keep teeth strong, but also has a cleansing surface structure - especially when it comes to harder cheeses like cheddar.