Each passing year, over a billion dollars are spent on teeth-whitening products- most of which result in an increase in sensitivity and discomfort. And yet, many remain unaware that in the comfort of their home lie some of the most effective remedies for getting those sparkling teeth.

Pearly white teeth have long been a major trope, foregrounding fictional writing, theater, and television. That said, the art of whitening has been practiced throughout the world, for the duration of thousands of years; the Egyptians used wine vinegar, the Ancient Romans used actual urine for its ammonia, and millennials today have resorted to harmful chemicals and painful procedures.

While whitening products from the likes of Crest Whitening Strips to bleaching trays may seem like the most pragmatic option, these over-the-counter chemical procedures are pernicious for causing translucency in the tips of teeth, brittleness, and the recession of gums. On the bright side, there are a myriad of natural options such as multi-purpose spices, herbs, and natural oils within your own pantry that prove to be a salient solution to solving teeth sensitivity and overly expensive procedures.

Oil Pulling Using Coconut Oil This Ayurvedic oral hygiene technique dates back thousands of years and is still practiced today. The process consists of swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes every day. While you can utilize other oils such as olive or sesame, the lauric acid in coconut oil actively works to pull plaque, gingivitis, and bacteria from your teeth for a happier, healthier smile. Although it is not documented in medical books, oil pulling using coconut oil is said to reverse cavities, as well as aid in eliminating bad breath. Mother Nature’s purest mechanisms.

Turmeric This Eastern secret spice is known for its abilities to stain everything and anything, from your clothing to your hands, so we understand if you may be hesitant to smear this golden yellow substance on your teeth for that pearly white glow. However, this works surprisingly well. While the mechanism behind the golden spice remains a mystery and the change may not be as dramatic as other holistic remedies, turmeric does do the trick!

Activated Charcoal A highly absorbent substance, activated charcoal naturally whitens teeth by binding to elements that may stain teeth. In addition to its wondrous whitening ways, the natural medicine improves oral hygiene by killing bacteria present in tooth decay.

Simply dip your toothbrush into the powdered form of the substance and brush onto teeth as normal. You may also mix a teaspoon of the charcoal into a small amount of water and swish it in your mouth for 4-5 minutes for maximum results. Begin to do so routinely, everyday for a week and then maintain whiteness by continuing the treatment once or twice a week.

Banana Peels Rich in minerals such magnesium, potassium, and manganese, banana peels are a great natural means of whitening your teeth. Take the inside of the peel and gently rub it onto your teeth for optimal absorption of minerals and nutrients. Innocuous and filled with nutrients, studies have shown that banana peels have excellent antioxidant potential and low concentrations of harmful non-essential minerals.

Sodium Bicarbonate, or better known as Baking Soda This mild abrasive is quintessential to any natural teeth whitening list and it can be amalgamated with strawberries, lemon juice, or water. The alkaline properties of baking soda balance the levels of pH in your mouth and can be mixed with lemon juice that works as a natural bleach. Simply brush the paste onto your teeth and leave it for one minute before rinsing your mouth with water. Mix things up by adding strawberries and a pinch of salt to the baking soda to create a sweet and fruity pulp. The strawberries aid in breaking down plaque and contain malic acid which eliminates surface stains. Another method is to mix two parts apple cider vinegar to one part baking soda. The trick to using baking soda is to focus on the front teeth and do not use excessively to avoid damaging the enamel of the tooth- limit yourself to a few times per week as needed.