Want a whiter healthier smile?

Everywhere you turn these days people are talking about whitening their teeth, and bleaching is now the most requested dental procedure in North America among the 40-60 year old age group. But is it safe?

Although the drugstore versions are sold right next to the toothpaste, all teeth whitening preparations contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and both can generate painful side effects ranging from: moderate tooth sensitivity to extreme pain which can last for several minutes, to gum irritation, uneven whiteness, or bluish, translucent enamel (a result of over whitening which can be permanent). There have even been instances reported where the whitening gel found its way into an unfilled cavity or cracked tooth resulting in severe pain that was only resolved by a root canal.

“Power bleaching” in a dentist’s office can cause permanent damage leaving you with increased sensitivity of the pulp chamber in the middle of the tooth.

And then there is your whitening toothpaste itself. We all assume it is harmless but the fact is that it is a drug concoction without a complete ingredient list that can contain any number of chemicals including sodium laurel sulphate, triclosan, artificial sweeteners and fluoride. (Did you know that a toxic dosage of fluoride toothpaste might even be fatal to a small child and, despite the hype, there is not even any documented proof that fluoride prevents cavities?)

Obviously I am NOT suggesting that anyone give up brushing their teeth. But you do have a choice – especially when it comes to a safe natural way to whiten teeth. A lot of websites recommend whitening teeth with baking soda solution. TV’s Doctor Oz recommends a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda as follows:

Dr. Oz’s Teeth Whitening Home Remedy:

In a small bowl, mix a little bit of baking soda with the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. The mixture should bubble slightly.

Using a cotton swab, wipe saliva and excess plaque from your teeth before brushing on the mixture. Leave the mixture on your teeth for a minute before gently brushing it off with a toothbrush. Don’t leave the mixture on your teeth for any longer than a minute as the acid can erode tooth enamel and don’t treat teeth for longer than one week every three months: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/natural-teeth-whitening-solutions

If you are a fan of home remedies, you might also enjoy making your own toothpaste. There are recipes available containing everything from activated charcoal (yes really) to coconut oil, stevia and clay. At Olderhood we have a policy of refraining from posting anything we would not try ourselves so we offer the following basic recipe which was obtained from Stephanie Tourles’ book “Organic Body Care Recipes” and is composed of cheap ingredients that you probably already have lying around the house:

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint, clove, or citrus pure essential oil
A few drops of water

Mix ingredients in a small bowl and combine thoroughly until a thick paste is formed. Scoop it on to your toothbrush and brush as usual. You can also mix a larger quality and store it in a clean glass jar.

I close by pointing out the obvious – at this point in your life you have one set of teeth and it only makes sense to take the best possible care of them you possibly can. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day and visit your dentist regularly and ask their opinion before trying these or any whitening techniques.

For further information on tooth whiteners click here: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/skip-the-bleach-natural-ways-to-whiten-your-teeth/?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=N130802

For more homemade toothpaste recipes click here: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/stories/3-simple-homemade-toothpaste-recipes

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