Lately, I’ve noticed my oldest son’s permanent teeth look a bit yellow compared to my other three boys, who still have their baby teeth. Of course, my first assumption was that he wasn’t brushing correctly. Or worse yet, he’s skipping his brushing altogether. But after a few weeks of supervising and not noticing a big difference, I started to do a bit of research.
Apparently, baby teeth are naturally whiter than permanent teeth. One pediatric dentist explains that “permanent teeth not only have a thicker enamel, but the layer under the enamel (dentin) is also more dense. Dentin is yellow in color. This gives the permanent teeth a color slightly more yellow than the baby teeth. And it’s perfectly normal!”(¹)
There is also a myth out there that teeth should be perfectly white, even to the point where new dental shades have had to be added to the whitening scale to keep up with our culture’s white teeth obsession.
How Natural Teeth Whitening Works
If your child’s yellow teeth are a concern, I have discovered that there are some things you can do! The first and obvious place to start is to make sure your child is brushing and flossing because plaque and tartar can build up and cause teeth to look more yellow than they are. Something you can do to assist with this is to make your own toothpaste. I actually have a great story on how I learned to do this…
My sweet sister-in-law was visiting from Montréal and really wanted to go to the beach. I was nine months pregnant at the time and super not interested in getting into a bathing suit (turns out I was accurate in my thought process because none fit anyway). Although it was last on my list of things to get done before baby number four, I wanted her to have a good time and knew my three boys would love it. What was on my list of things to do, however, was dental appointments for everyone. But since we had just moved, I was running out of time.
Wouldn’t you know, the first person I ran into at the beach was a holistic pediatric dentist! It was like God was giving me a kiss on the forehead! This sweet lady and I talked for quite a while, and she noticed my gums were puffy, which always happened to me in pregnancy. She literally offered to come to my house the next day to check them out.
And she did! She showed up with all of her dental tools and beautiful new toothbrushes and proceeded to give each person in my family the most thorough cleaning ever with a mixture of bentonite clay and essential oils. We felt like new people!
Below is the recipe that I still use.
Natural Toothpaste Recipe:
- 1/2 cup pure calcium bentonite clay (you can find at a health food store or online; the pediatrician recommended “Earth’s Natural Clay” brand)
- 1/4 cup organic coconut oil melted gently on the stove (available at most grocery stores, but organic is important)
- 5-10 drops of peppermint oil (organic food grade essential oil only because in a cheap bottle of oil, the therapeutic compounds have been destroyed by heat, pressure, and/or chemical solvents; so you want to make sure the oil you choose is high quality)
- 5-10 drops orange oil (again, same quality as above, but the orange helps with whitening)
- 1/8 tsp of organic stevia for taste
Mix together and store in a glass container (I use a small mason jar).
Add Charcoal for Extra Teeth-Whitening Power (and More!)
My boys are toothpaste connoisseurs and very picky, but they actually like this! And it contains none of the harmful chemicals that can act as neurotoxins in a lot of mainstream toothpastes.
One last tip: if you or your child have significant yellowing, charcoal can help a lot. I break open a capsule (this you can get at any health food store or drug store) and use it after brushing for even more whitening power. Charcoal is also great to bind to toxins, so it’s wonderful to keep on hand for any stomach bugs that might hit your household.
Last but not least, keep those six-month cleaning and dental check-ups to help with the removal of tartar and plaque and also to stay ahead of any dental issues. I highly recommend holistic dentistry if you can find one at your local beach (haha!). Our angel dentist lived up north, but we were fortunate enough to find another one in our town, and we are just thrilled with him.
Cheers to whiter smiles for those family pics! That’s if you can get your kids to all smile at the same time in the same direction. If you have tips for that, could you write an article about it? Like, seriously. Stop what you’re doing and get that magic down on paper. I’ll be waiting.
You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Mom Hacks: Help You Need in Every Stage – 026