Everyone wants a brighter smile. With the popularity of coffee, soft drinks, tobacco products, and even some prescription medication our teeth have become more discolored over the years. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth whitening is the most requested procedure from dental patients 40-60 years old. Professional tooth whitening procedures are the most effective by far but are expensive, an average of $650 per treatment, and still have unpredictable results due to age, heredity, and type of staining as well as risks of gum and tooth sensitivity during and after the procedure. This has lead to a booming market for over-the-counter tooth whitening products in the last several years, ranging from $100-400 for professional quality whitening strips or trays, to the ever-popular Crest Whitening Strips with an average cost of $20 per application, to whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Prevention magazine notes that tooth whitening pastes and mouth rinses are more popular than any other comparable products.
At home whiteners usually contain a 10-20% peroxide solution as the whitening agent, most often carbamide peroxide (perhydrol urea), which is listed as a 3 on Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep Database for concerns related to possible irritation and toxicity and has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Canada. Data on the safety of this ingredient is limited on EWG but there are 920+ citations on PubMed that may include information on the toxicity of this product.
Since the rise in popularity of tooth whitening products there has been an increase in reports of gum and tooth sensitivity. In 2002, the University of Southern California School of Dentistry conducted a survey that revealed that over half of their respondents experienced mild to moderate sensitivity after using an over-the-counter whitening gel (containing 15% carbamide peroxide). 1 out of 25 respondents reported significant pain (cited in Prevention magazine).
According to Dr. Gennaro Cataldo, a professor at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, the government doesn’t regulate tooth whitening products the same way it regulates pharmaceuticals (cited in BU Today). In fact, the ADA has petitioned the FDA to classify and regulate tooth whitening chemicals due to concerns about the safety of over-the-counter products used without the supervision of dental professionals. The ADA has noted that “chemically based tooth whitening or bleaching agents can harm teeth, gums, and other tissues in the mouth” according to Dentistry IQ. According to a study cited on PubMed, whitening toothpaste can lead to a greater erosion of enamel than regular toothpaste (Turssi, et al 2004). And yet, we as consumers flock to the toothpaste aisle at grocery stores in a desperate attempt to whiten our teeth. Are we unknowingly damaging the enamel of our teeth and maybe even speeding up erosion or decay as a result for this vain quest? Perhaps.
So naturally when I saw the above image* floating around Facebook I became intrigued. Could adding a bit of orange essential oil really help whiten teeth? Would it be safer than the other-the-counter tooth whitening products mentioned above? I figured it was worth a shot. So lets investigate why this works:
Orange essential oil – Orange essential oil is cold-pressed, meaning that whole oranges are pressed and squeezed between heavy plates which express the juice and essential oils from the rind and fruit. There are tons of references that report that citrus peels, especially oranges, can be used to naturally and effectively remove surface stains from teeth. So it stands to reason that using 100% pure, therapeutic grade orange essential oil would pass along some of the same benefit to help naturally whiten teeth without harsh chemicals. Plus, orange essential oil has tons of other health benefits (do yourself a favor and google “health benefits of orange essential oil” – you won’t regret it) so it’s must have in my house!
Thieves AromaBright Toothpaste is Young Living’s newer toothpaste they formulated in response to feedback from their original Thieves Dentarome Toothpaste. So far it’s gotten rave reviews and many people report that they’ve noticed whiter teeth from using it alone. But why? Let’s explore the ingredients. Thieves AromaBright Toothpaste contains only naturally derived ingredients, including Water, Calcium carbonate, Coconut oil, Sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Glycerin (Vegetable), Xylitol, Xanthum gum, Peppermint, Spearmint, Clove, Ocotea, Cinnamon Bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils, Stevia leaf extract, and Lecithin (Sunflower).
- Calcium Carbonate is a natural calcium powder that helps remineralize your teeth as well as aid in the removal of surface stains.
- Coconut Oil as a tooth whitening agent has gotten a lot of attention lately due to the increasing popularity of oil pulling. But if you’re like me then the idea of swishing an oil (or anything) around in your mouth for 20 minutes is exhausting and makes my cheeks hurt to even think about! Check out this article on oil pulling from dentistry professionals on Dentistry IQ.
- Sodium Bicarbonate, more commonly known as Baking Soda, has long been accepted as a gentle abrasive to help whiten teeth by removing surface stains and was one of the first over-the-counter tooth whitening agents used in whitening toothpastes.
- Thieves essential oil blend (includes the Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils listed in the ingredients) not only helps support a healthy immune system but also supports healthy teeth and gums. In fact, Young Living has a whole line of Thieves infused oral health products, including mouthwash and dental floss, in a addition to both toothpaste formulas!
So, the popular method for whitening teeth floating around Facebook lately is to add 1 drop of Orange essential oil to your AromaBright toothpaste morning and night to help freshen breath and remove surface stains from your teeth. I hear great things about the AromaBright Toothpaste and know lots of people who have reported that this method has worked for noticeably whiter teeth in less than 1 month! Maybe one day I’ll even convince the hubby to give it a try. But you guys know me, I’m a DIY girl! I’ve been making my own toothpaste for over 2 years now. It’s so easy and practically free since it’s made with ingredients that I always have on hand anyway. So naturally when I saw the above image I thought to myself, surely I can DIY this for similar results. Perhaps you’ve made my DIY Thieves Toothpaste recipe yourself, perhaps this is your first time reading my blog. Either way, you’re in luck! I’ve modified my original recipe slightly to take advantage of the amazing oral health benefits of Thieves essential oil blend plus the tooth whitening power of Orange essential oil!
DIY Orange/Thieves Whitening Toothpaste:
- 4-6 tablespoons coconut oil
- 6 tablespoons baking soda
- ½ – 1 small packet of stevia powder (1 packet = 1 tsp)
- 15-20 drops Thieves essential oil blend (to taste)
- 30 drops of Orange essential oil
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, using a fork. Thieves essential oil blend has a strong cinnamon flavor so add about 10-15 drops of oil to start, and test the toothpaste to see how much you want/like. The stevia gives a sweet taste (which most toothpastes have). The baking soda taste isn’t over-powering, but it is there — and the toothpaste definitely works well! It doesn’t foam, however. Since coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, the toothpaste becomes liquid when you brush, and coats the teeth well. The oil is very runny, though, and doesn’t leave the mouth feeling greasy in the least. It will, however, stick to your bathroom sink if you use cold water to rinse. I definitely recommend using warm water with this toothpaste! Plus, Thieves oil is safe to use during pregnancy and since this recipe doesn’t contain peppermint you don’t have to worry about it impacting your milk supply like my original recipe!
I haven’t tried adding calcium carbonate to my toothpaste recipe yet but I’ve read great reports of DIY remineralizing toothpaste recipes using calcium carbonate (check out this recipe by Wellness Mama). So that will be my next modification.
You can also add activated charcoal to your toothpaste recipe as it is incredibly effective at whitening teeth. However, adding black powder to your homemade toothpaste is less than visually appealing and not something many people would eagerly put in their mouth. Still, I may try adding some to future modifications. If you are interested, here is a DIY homemade tooth powder recipe by MommyPotamus. Keep in mind that brushing with tooth powder is a much difference experience than using a commercial, or even a DIY, toothpaste.
Have you made my recipe and noticed whiter teeth? Or do you have a DIY whitening toothpaste recipe you love? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below!
I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, especially in any edible recipe or recipes that I take internally because I know I can trust that their oils are pure and unadulterated due to their Seed to Seal guarantee. Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount plus a chance to earn amazing promotional gifts. Message me for more details or join today here!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.
* The AromaBright toothpaste image was shared with me by several members in different Facebook groups with the assurance that it was okay to share this image. However, I have been unable to identify the original creator of the above image to provide proper citation. If this is your image, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!