Did you know that Americans spend more than $1.4 billion dollars each year on over-the-counter teeth whitening products? Not only can the cost of these mouthwashes and whitening strips add up, but they can harm the enamel of your teeth.
So what’s a tea-lover, a coffee-lover or a red wine drinker to do? Rather than hiding your smile, here are some natural ways to whiten your teeth.
1. Baking Soda. Here’s an easy and affordable combination. Mix a small amount of baking soda  with just enough hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice to make a paste. Baking soda works as a mild abrasive that will scrub away surface stains on your teeth while it freshens your mouth, and the hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice will work as an anti-bacterial agent. Be sure to rinse thoroughly within a minute after you apply the paste to prevent a weakening of the enamel.
2. Coconut Oil. There are so many great uses for coconut oil, but this is one you may not have tried. You can choose from several options for applying coconut oil  to your teeth. You can add a few drops of coconut oil to your toothbrush and brush your teeth. You can swish a spoonful of coconut oil around your mouth or you can place a few drops of coconut oil on the corner of a clean wash cloth and apply it to the surfaces of your teeth The lauric acid content in coconut oil rids your teeth of the bacteria that can make them look yellow.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is great for removing stains caused by drinking or smoking, but since it is an acid you do need to use it in moderation. Apply a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your toothbrush and brush your teeth. Then rinse your mouth and brush with your regular toothpaste. Rinse again well.
4. Citrus fruit rinds. Rinds of lemon, grapefruit and orange peels contain d-limonene, a natural scent and solvent that may reduce tooth discoloration, especially from smoking. Once again, you need to be wary of the acid on your teeth so you don’t do more harm than good, but if you rinse afterwards, these citrus fruits can brighten your smile.
5. Cheese. There’s more to that fruit and cheese plate after a meal than taste. Eating cheese after a meal may help make your tooth enamel stronger. Cheese also helps to neutralize the pH of your mouth and to stimulate saliva production, which helps reduce the acidity in the mouth.
6. Strawberries. They may stain your clothes, but strawberries are good for the appearance of your teeth. Strawberries contain malic acid, which acts as a natural astringent to remove surface tooth discoloration, according to a report from the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. Strawberries are also high in vitamin C, which can break down plaque. Simply mash up a small amount of fresh strawberries and apply to the surface of your teeth. Rinse well.
7. Seeds and nuts. The abrasiveness of seeds and nuts can help scrub plaque and stains off your teeth while you chew. Plus, they are full of protein and healthy fats.
8. Crunchy fruits and veggies. When you eat crunchy raw vegetables such as celery and carrots and crispy fruits such as apples and pears, you can remove stains from your teeth. These foods are naturally abrasive, and they also encourage your body to produce more saliva, which helps protect teeth from bacteria. Additionally, saliva contains surfactants and other enzymes that naturally clean your teeth.
Of course, another way to keep your teeth looking their best is to rinse, brush and floss regularly. And when you eat nutrient-dense diet and avoid foods high in sugar, you will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Rinsing your mouth with fresh water after eating, drinking or smoking stain-causing products can help minimize the damage.
Do you know of other natural methods to whiten teeth? Share them in the section below: