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Our smile is one of the first things people notice about us when they meet us, and while a white smile is beautiful, it is healthier as well. In America, the teeth whitening industry is booming with over $11 billion spent annually, but is there a better way?

While several over-the-counter products can be used for white teeth, not all of them are comfortable or healthy for you to use. And while a beautiful white smile is something we all want to have, there are some limits for how far we should go to obtain it. With that in mind, there are tried and true natural methods for obtaining a white and beautiful smile. Here are 9 of the best methods.

1. Brush teeth regularly.

While this may sound obvious, not all of us are brushing our teeth regularly. According to dentists, we should be brushing our teeth first thing in the morning, and in the evening before bed, after at least 30 minutes have passed from our last meal. And we should be brushing at least 2 minutes each time, taking care to address all the problem areas.

2. Oil pulling.

Oil pulling is a simple and natural way to rid the teeth of yellow color. Simply put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and work it in and out of the crannies of your teeth. Pull for 15-20 minutes for best results.

3. Use hydrogen and peroxide to brush away the yellow.

Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Use the paste to brush your teeth and then rinse well with water. According to a 2004 study, baking soda and peroxide are just as effective as other mainstream whitening solutions.

4. Eat a healthy & balanced diet.

Fruits and vegetables naturally whiten our teeth, due to their crunch and abrasive nature. So, be sure to eat plenty of them. With that in mind, they shouldn’t be a replacement for actual brushing.

5. Use apple cider vinegar.

When used in small amounts, apple cider vinegar can be quite effective at whitening the teeth. Simply mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 6 ounces of water. Then use this as a mouthwash.

6. Lemon, orange, or banana peels.

Lemon, orange, and banana rinds have d-limonene and citric acid in them, which makes them very useful for whitening the teeth. Simply rub the peels on your teeth for a few minutes, rinse and brush.

7. Activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal has many uses, including whitening teeth. You can purchase capsules online, and all you have to do is open one up, pour it on your toothbrush, and gently brush. Since the powder is quite abrasive, the key here is gentle. If used gently, it naturally exfoliates away plaque while whitening and brightening the teeth. They also sell toothpaste at most retailers that include this ingredient.

8. Strawberries and baking soda.

Strawberries have malic acid in them, which is said to remove discoloration from teeth. Additionally, the seeds work to exfoliate. When you add baking soda to the mix, you have a very effective and natural teeth whitener. Mash up the berries with baking soda, brush and then rinse.

9. Practice prevention techniques.

In the meantime, make sure to make regular visits to your dentist, cut back on sugar and soda, and brush and floss regularly. Eat a diet with tons of fruits and veggies, so that your hard work to whiten them with one of the remedies above doesn’t go to waste.

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