From first dates and job interviews, to the never ending selfie parade, our smile generates the biggest initial impact as to how we are perceived. Add on the fact that when Match.com interviewed 5,000 singles, over half said teeth are the most important characteristic when choosing someone to date, you have ample reason to want a winning smile.
We girlies all know it’s either lips or eyes when applying makeup, but if you choose the eye option because you want to direct attention away from your less than white pearlies, what can you do? If your smile is more Mona Lisa than Julia Roberts, is there any way to improve matters? Your genes plus the nutrition you received whilst growing up will have had an effect on your jaw structure and arrangement of your second set of teeth, but in this day and age no one needs to be imprisoned by discolouration.
How to Gain the Gleam
Various toothpaste manufacturers have long enticed us with the promise that using their product will bestow that sparkling mega watt smile of confidence. Should this fail to deliver the desired results, there are many and varied cosmetic dentistry treatments available: bleaching, veneers, laminates, or ultimately, the capping option. Which to choose depends either on your bank account or your willingness to go through pain to gain. Suppose there was an easier way? A way that did not cause underlying damage to the root, nerves or tissue of the tooth, which many conventional dentistry treatments do in fact disturb.
Back at the ranch, home remedies have over the years flung up ways to whiten teeth that include, brushing with bicarbonate of soda, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice, either separately or combined. If you have ever tried them you will no doubt have found some brightening properties. Yet they lack one crucial factor: The power of the pull.
The New Old
Trending for a few years now in the Western world, but never out of fashion from where it originated, is the new tooth cool: Coconut oil.
It is indeed a magical oil worthy of our due respect, but it is the manner in which it is used, and the reasoning behind this, that brings about the whiter tooth effect, namely: Oil Pulling.
Some in the mainstream cosmetic dentistry field refer to the process of oil pulling as a folk remedy. A tad derogatory, given it is actually from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. The same Ayurveda that is so carefully interwoven into our yoga bunny lives.
As Ayurvedic practitioner John Doulliard explains:
“Oil Pulling got its name from the ‘pulling’ or cleansing effect oils have when applied to the skin. Oils are lipophilic, meaning they attract other oils and fat soluble toxins, ‘pulling’ them out from any surface an oil is introduced to. This amazing property to chelate, or pull, toxins out of the body has been employed for centuries during classical Ayurvedic detox therapies.”
Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antimicrobial, therefore sloshing and swishing this, up and down, in and out between your teeth, is the ultimate health treat you can give your mouth. It cleans so effectively because of its fluid nature, enabling it to reach all the tiny gaps, crevices and folds of skin in the mouth. It cleans up plaque, which in turn brings about a whitening effect. Plus regular use will erase tooth stains from those foods we hate to love: green or black tea, black coffee, and red wine.
How to Use Coconut Oil
Pull with it
Simply put 1 teaspoonful in your mouth and swish around for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not swallow. Spit out down the loo or out in the garden. It is an oil that solidifies, so it could block your sink after time.
Massage with it
As we know, our gums anchor our teeth, and are prone to all sorts of minuscule bacteria, massaging these with coconut oil will promote gum health.
Brush with it
Combined with a little bicarb of soda to mimic the feel of standard toothpastes, you can gently brush your teeth with it - for those of you cringing at the thought of an oily mouth.
Cook with it
There are countless benefits to consuming coconut oil, from weight loss to anti ageing. It is the most stable oil at high temps, meaning it will not oxidize and cause those free radicals to party in your body. Taking it internally and applying externally maximizes the magic.
Strip or Pull
If you don’t fancy having a mouth full of oil every day, or if you don’t have the patience to wait months to see results, another option you could try is coconut oil whitening strips. Our gentle, coconut oil and activated charcoal infused strips are fast, easy and a great idea for people with sensitive teeth, as well as those that want a whitening product but are looking for something a little lighter in the chemical department.
Taking advantage of the same benefits gained by coconut oil pulling, the strips work faster and are just a teensy bit less yuck. They can also be used for stubborn stains or quick fixes when you don’t have time to wait for the oil pulling to slowly whiten your teeth.