One of my readers contacted me about natural teeth whiteners. Great question!
We all want whiter teeth, especially as we age, and teeth whitening has become big business. According the ADA, bleaching is the most requested procedure among patients ages 40 to 60. Americans spend billions on over the counter whiteners too. For those of us who want an alternative to chemical whiteners, there are several do-it-yourself options.
- Baking Soda – Or sodium bicarbonate has been around for a long time and as been accepted by the American Dental Association since 1931. It reduces stains and plaque through its gentle polishing action, as well as deodorizes the mouth leaving a clean feeling. Here’s how: Put a little baking soda on a wet toothbrush and brush normally; for extra whitening make a paste of 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of food grade hydrogen peroxide.
- Strawberry Tooth Brightener – Strawberries have a slight bleaching action and if used daily can help get rid of stains from tea, coffee or cigarettes. Here’s how: Remove the stem and mash the strawberry into a pulp, dip your toothbrush into the pulp, brush normally, then rinse.
- Oil Pulling – Oil pulling is an Ayurveda remedy started in India thousands of years ago that uses oil to clean, detoxify, and nourish teeth and gums. Oil pulling removes excessive and bad bacteria from your mouth, which also helps with detoxification of the entire body. And it whitens teeth and makes your mouth feel clean. Here’s how: swish a teaspoon or two of coconut oil (sesame oil or olive oil) for approximately 20 minutes. Spit it out and rinse with warm water.
- Activated Charcoal – I haven’t tried this remedy yet, but charcoal is being used in everything now from soaps to toothbrushes to towels due to its antimicrobial benefits. Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent porous substance that binds to tannins that stain and yellow teeth and pulls the toxins from the mouth to remove the stains. Here’s how: Dip a clean wet toothbrush into the powdered charcoal and brush in small, gentle circles for 2 minutes. Spit and rinse well. (Be careful not to stain your sink!)
- Turmeric – Turmeric spice is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available and along with its numerous health benefits is reducing gum inflammation and teeth whitening. Here’s how: Dip a wet toothbrush in 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder and brush as normal. Allow the turmeric to sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes, then spit and rinse. Brush your teeth again using your regular toothpaste. (It also can stain your sink.)
It’s important to remember that natural remedies take longer to work. So, give it a few weeks – you’ll be pleased with the results. Email me with which remedy (ies ) you like.
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.
Information compiled from: http://wellnessmama.com/35837/natural-teeth-whitening/, Baking Soda Bonanza, Peter A. Ciullo, Organic Body Care Recipes, Stephanie Tourles
Ah, summer is here at last and so are the mosquitoes. After a very rainy spring, they are out in full force.
There are several precautions you can take to repel mosquitoes, like using a safe, non-toxic personal repellant, covering your arms and legs at dusk when the mosquitoes come out, avoid keeping standing water around in birdbaths or buckets, and placing certain aromatic plants like scented geraniums, marigolds or rosemary on your patio or deck or in your garden to help repel them. But, even with these precautions, most of us will usually get bitten, and some people more than others. I know I am a mosquito magnet – my husband says when he is with me, he never gets bitten! So, what non-toxic relief can you get for those nasty, itchy, inflamed bites? Lots! Below is a list of common household products, which relieve itching and help to heal the bite.
- Toothpaste (peppermint works best)
- Mouthwash – soak a cotton ball and dab it on the bite. An antiseptic mouthwash will prevent bites from becoming infected.
- Salt – Moisten first then rub table salt on the area.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Witch Hazel – Make a paste out of witch hazel and baking soda. Or just baking soda and water (works for bee stings too!)
- Aloe relieves the itch and heals the wound.
- Lemon is good when you just have to scratch. Cut it in half and use the pulp side. Helps reduce the chance of infection from scratching.
- Deodorant – Rub on immediately after getting the bite to reduce inflammation.
- Lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, basil, thyme or neem base essential oils (just a drop or two) reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Apply to affected areas several times a day.
- Garlic salt and seasoning salt mixed with an equal amount of water.
- An ice cube applied directly to the bite will numb the pain and reduce inflammation.
- Mud – if you are outdoors without access to the above mentioned cures, a bit of dirt and water mixed together is effective at relieving irritation and reducing swelling.
Each remedy works better for some people than others. When you get your next bite, try some and let me know which remedies work for you.
Information compiled from www.home-remedy.org, Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles and www.care2.com/greenliving/7-ways-to-treat-bug-bites.
Image by Peter Wild
I used to say to my kids, if you are ever stranded on a deserted island, make sure you have baking soda. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural salt essential to the functioning of the human body. In addition to its primary use as a leavening agent in baking, it can be used to heal, clean and polish just about everything. Baking soda is simple and cheap and over the years people have discovered some ingenious uses for it. It is used in animal feeds, fire extinguishers, textile processing and more. In addition to its common use as a deodorizer for refrigerator smells, baking soda can be used in numerous ways for personal care. For example, as a natural tooth polish, athlete’s foot treatment, burn soother, deodorant, earwax softener, or foot soak. It can be used to treat bee stings and insect bites or as an antacid.
There are environmental and health concerns about toxic chemicals in cleaning supplies. Baking soda’s versatility, safety and effectiveness have led to using it as a cleaning alternative. Its gentle abrasion makes it perfect for cleaning stained kitchen sinks and mildewed shower tiles. Baking soda’s effervescence and detergency clean spills on rugs and deodorize pet bedding. Try it for dirt and grime on the legs of kitchen tables and chairs. Coffee and tea stains on your china are easily removed with baking soda. So are counter and tabletop stains.
Baking soda has been around since the 1800’s. It is tried and true. Don’t just use it for baking. Check out Peter A. Ciullo’s book called Baking Soda Bonanza, which lists hundreds of ways to use baking soda, or go on line for ideas and recipes. It’s safe, effective and cheap.
Information compiled from Baking Soda Bonanza by Peter A. Ciullo.