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Teeth whitening products are big business. Many people attempt homemade versions, and for good reason – they're less expensive and use natural ingredients. With hundreds of DIY teeth whitening remedies online, how do you know which actually work, and which are a waste of time? Learning from science and celebrity endorsements, here's our list of natural home teeth whitening solutions (that actually work) for you to try.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a home-staple and good for almost everything from baking to cleaning silver, and even whitening your teeth. By mixing baking soda with water, you can create a clean toothpaste that will have your teeth whiter in no time. It's less abrasive than many commercial toothpastes and research shows it can be more effective too.

How to make baking soda toothpaste: 

  • Add water to baking soda until you've reaching your preferred consistency
  • Continue mixing until the consistency is even, but keep in mind that toothpaste made this way will never be as smooth as store-bought toothpaste
  • The extra grittiness that baking soda toothpaste has over conventional toothpaste is bonus - it helps to clean your teeth

Julia Roberts, with one of the most famous smiles in Hollywood, has used baking powder as part of her dental care routine ever since her grandfather told her he sprinkled baking soda onto his toothbrush and never once got a cavity.

Apple cider vinegar

Working similarly to peroxide, vinegar has a bleaching effect to help whiten your teeth. A study found that white vinegar and apple cider vinegar both worked to whiten teeth, but both were also harsher and acidic than peroxide. Because of its acidity, you want to be careful when using it as a teeth whitener as it can weaken tooth enamel and lead to sensitivity, cavities, and decay.

How to use apple cider vinegar to whiten your teeth:

  • Wet your finger in some apple cider vinegar and give your teeth a rub
  • Limit this to just a few times a week (max) or you may damage your teeth
  • You can also mix vinegar and baking soda together to create a toothpaste

Orlando Bloom swears by apple cider vinegar for a variety of benefits, including this one.

Papayas and pineapples

The best at-home teeth whitening solution, adding more papaya and/or pineapple to your diet. Yup, just eating more of this fruit (and chewing it fully) will allow enzymes (papain and bromelain) found in these two fruit to work their magic. Scientists have found that these two enzymes can actually outperform regular toothpaste for teeth whitening!

Australian model and actress, Miranda Kerr, recommends this (delicious) method and prefers it to othe homemade options.

Oil Pulling

What is oil pulling? It's a practice that dates back centuries that involves rinsing your mouth out with coconut, sesame, or sunflower oils (similar to mouthwash). Sloshing it around your mouth and getting it between (pulling through) the spaces of your teeth helps to provide a thorough clean.

Though oil pulling is mostly beneficial for reducing plaque and gingivitis, but recent studies show that it may also whiten teeth too.

Actress Shailene Woodley specifically recommends a sesame oil pull, “it’s amazing! It really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water soluble, it’s fat-soluble. So the lipids have to dissolve in fats, which is why oil works in your mouth”.

Tumeric

We know what you're thinking - doesn't tumeric stain everything? Fortunately, not your teeth, and many swear by this ancient Indian practice of using tumeric as a tooth whitening agent. Tumeric contains curcumin, a polyphenol that has antiseptic properties and offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits for your mouth. In addition to its whitening benefits, it also aids with tooth pain and help fight off gingivitis.

Dancer, actress, and singer Julianne Hough, swears by using Tumeric for her glowing smile. She even creates her own at-home whitening products using Turmeric as the base.

Orange Peels

Though orange juice and the fruit citrus is acidic and not best for your teeth, orange rinds (the peel), helps to reduce and prevent smoking stains on teeth, making it an excellent natural teeth-whitening solution. Studies show it does not work for coffee or tea stains, but d-limonene, a compound in the rind, is found in many commercial teeth whitening products.

How to whiten your teeth using an orange peel:

  • Take the peel of an orange (make sure it's not saturated with juice), and wipe it on your teeth

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has become very popular in the natural health and beauty world. Though there's no true scientific evidence that it makes a difference in actually whitening your teeth, many swear that it works. Its abrasive texture may aid in removing surface-level stains, but you should be careful to not use it everyday as it can wear down the enamel.

How to brush your teeth using activated charcoal:

  • Dip a wet toothbrush into the charcoal powder
  • Be careful as this method is likely the most messy (it can get everywhere)

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and founder of The Goop, is an advocate of activated charcoal as a natural whitening technique.

Good dental hygiene

The best way to keep your teeth white to prevent them from getting stained in the first place. Not a real home remedy, but it works better than most. When tooth enamel wears away (from staining beverages or ordinary decay), it reveals the yellow dentin underneath. To properly care for your them, Brüush your teeth at least twice a day, floss, and use a quality mouthwash.

Limit acidic drinks like coffee and fruit juices (drink them using straws), and foods like balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, and soy sauce. Oprah Winfrey recently added re-usable glass straws to her “favorite things” list – a healthy option for teeth and the environment.

Finally, using an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush is helpful in keeping your teeth extra clean. They're superior at removing the stains on your teeth than a manual, moving at much faster speeds!