Who doesn’t want whiter, brighter teeth? These days, celebrities and social media “influencers” alike are all flashing brilliantly white teeth. So is it any surprise that us mere mortals are trying some crazy things in the pursuit of similarly radiant smiles?

For example, you may have heard tell of activated charcoal as a natural teeth whitening home remedy. Some YouTubers and other online personalities rave about the black powder’s results. But dentists warn that there’s simply not enough research to tell whether charcoal works — or even if it’s safe to brush your teeth with the stuff!

Here are some natural ways to whiten teeth that won’t cause damage.

5 Tested Methods for Natural Teeth Whitening

Depending on how stained or dull your teeth are, these natural remedies might not be entirely effective. The best way to get a gorgeous, pure white smile is by using a teeth whitening kit. However, these home remedies won’t hurt you to try them!

1. Stop Eating These Foods (and Drinking These Beverages)

Certain foods, like blueberries, barbecue sauce, and mustard, will stain your teeth. And drinking lots of coffee, cola, or red wine will also tinge teeth a yellowy shade. Think of it this way: if it would stain a white t-shirt, it will color your chompers. Can’t skip that morning java or evening merlot? Use a straw, or make certain to brush and floss right afterwards.

2. …and Eat These Instead

Crunchy vegetables — think carrot sticks and celery — are good for more than just noshing on. They can actually help scrub away plaque and stains!
Believe it or not, strawberries are an effective natural teeth whitening food. They contain a substance called malic acid that helps keep teeth bright. Malic acid is also found in apples, so eat your fruits and vegetables as you strive for a beautiful smile.

3. Four Everyday Steps To Take

Dentists recommend using a pre-brushing mouth rinse, which will loosen particles that can cause staining. This rinse, along with your toothpaste and mouthwash, should be the whitening variety. Thought we’d let you off without flossing? Not likely! Flossing is important for your overall dental health, so don’t skip that step!

4. Hydrogen Peroxide Products Can Help

It’s not a good idea to swig peroxide right from the bottle in place of mouthwash, but choose dental care products that contain it. Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to help keep teeth nice and bright.

5. So Can Those with Baking Soda

Baking soda, often in combination with hydrogen peroxide, has a long history of use as a tooth powder (the precursor to today’s premixed pastes). This natural teeth whitening agent works because it acts as a gentle abrasive, scrubbing stains from the tooth enamel.

If you run out of toothpaste, you can always sprinkle a little baking soda directly on your brush! It might not taste great without the minty flavor you’re used to, but it will work in a pinch.

How White Do You Want Your Smile?

These natural teeth whitening methods can only do so much. Want even more noticeable results? Look into teeth whitening kits to really amp up your smile!