Why go to the dentist when you can learn how to whiten teeth at home instead? That’s our thinking and we’ve even put together a little guide to prove it. It covers all things teeth whitening, including DIY solutions and some of the best over-the-counter kits that money can buy. This is how to get white teeth the natural way so you can save some money and look that much sharper during your next Insta sess or Zoom meeting. Smile!
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Before you learn how to whiten teeth, you should know why your teeth have become off-white (or even yellow) in the first place. Here are some of the biggest causes of yellow teeth.
Should you eat certain foods or drink beverages such as cola, alcohol, or coffee, your teeth may get yellower as a result. Smoking tobacco products can likewise lead to yellowing, as can taking certain antibiotics or antihistamines.
In an ironic twist of fate, specific types of mouthwashes (namely those containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride) have likewise been associated with staining.
2. Thinning of the Enamel
Enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth and also the whitest layer. As we get older, this hard surface tends to wear down and reveal darker layers beneath it. Eating acidic foods or drinking acidic beverages can strip away at enamel and so can gum disease. Meanwhile, some people are genetically predisposed to having teeth with thin layers of enamel.
3. Poor Dental Hygiene
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but allow us to spell it out for you: if you don’t brush and floss every day, you’re going to get yellow teeth. Even after you master the art of teeth whitening at home, you’ll need to practice proper dental hygiene or you’ll suffer negative consequences like gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay.
There are a number of diseases that can harm enamel and we’re not just talking gum disease. Furthermore, certain treatments like chemotherapy can likewise cause yellowing or discolouration in teeth.
How to Whiten Teeth at Home
As you should now be aware, yellow teeth aren’t so much a sign of neglect (though they can be that too) as much as they are a fact of life. Thankfully, teeth whitening at home has never been easier than it is right now. Here’s how to get white teeth without visiting the dentist.
1. Bolster Your Brushing Routine
First and foremost: it’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day and for a minimum of two minutes per session. This will not only ward off yellowing, but it could even deliver some whitening effects.
Should you want to crank the whitening up a notch, you’ll have to get crafty. One method is to create a paste out of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, which can reportedly remove both plaque and bacteria and also help eliminate stains. Here’s how to do it:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a half teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide until it forms a paste
- Brush as you would with regular toothpaste
- Extensively rinse your mouth with water after each brush
You can also create a mouthwash by adding at least 2 oz of water to the mixture. Swish in your mouth for 2-4 minutes and then spit out.
Another natural teeth-whitening method comes by way of activated charcoal, which supposedly removes pigments and stains from your teeth. Highly absorbent, it may also rid your mouth of bacteria and toxins.
To bring activated charcoal into your brushing regimen, you’ll need activated charcoal capsules. Open up a capsule and apply its contents directly onto your toothbrush. Brush gently in small circles and try to avoid your gums, as charcoal can be somewhat abrasive.
Between the two methods, brushing with activated charcoal carries more risk. Despite its teeth whitening properties, this technique can reportedly damage tooth structure and even cause yellowing in the long run.
By comparison, brushing with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is viewed as a safer and more effective teeth-whitening method. According to one study, you can expect to see results in as little as 6 weeks.
2. Rub Fruit Peels on Your Teeth
Rubbing lemon, orange, or banana peels on your teeth for 2 minutes sounds about as silly as it probably looks, but these are the kind of sacrifices one must make for a terrific smile. On the other hand: does the method even work?
According to some experts and advocates, certain fruit peels contain a beneficial compound with teeth whitening properties. However, most scientists and researchers remain unconvinced.
That said, one study determined that when the fruit peel compound d-limonene and a whitening formula were both added to toothpaste, it led to a reduction in short-term smoking stains. Again, further research is needed.
Along similar lines, some people claim that brushing with strawberries and other sources of citric acid can deliver teeth whitening benefits. According to science, those people are probably wrong. If anything, citric acid contributes to enamel decay.
Then we have papain and bromelain, two naturally-occurring enzymes in fruit such as papayas and pineapples. One study found that these enzymes may offer natural teeth whitening properties. Yet the study’s own authors claimed that more research was needed. Hence, we can place a big asterisk next to this one as well.
So where does that leave us? Well, fruit is good for you so maybe start by eating more of it. Or you can rub a banana peel on your teeth for 2 minutes at a time to see where it takes you. Surely, the method can’t hurt.
3. Lifestyle Changes
We’ll keep this one brief because it sort of speaks for itself. If your teeth are getting yellower and yellower, it might be time to reassess your lifestyle habits. Drink less coffee or alcohol. Stop smoking. Eat less acidic foods.
Sometimes, learning how to whiten teeth means learning how to prevent the causes of staining or enamel thinning.
4. Drink Through a Straw
Here’s another one you can file under “prevention methods.” That is to say, drinking through a straw can potentially protect your teeth against certain types of contact or exposure.
Of course, this method is dubious at best. Furthermore, it can also be wasteful. At the very least, sip responsibly by employing a reusable straw.
5. Give Oil Pulling a Try
While not recommended by the American Dental Association, some people resort to oil pulling as a natural teeth-whitening technique, if only because it may prevent the build-up of plaque and bacteria.
What exactly is oil pulling? This is when you wash the mouth out with either coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil after brushing and flossing. Rinse for about a full minute and then spit the oil out just as you would a regular mouthwash.
6. Practice Proper Oral Hygiene
As any dentist can (and always will) tell you, maintaining proper oral hygiene is the best way to ward off yellowing and discolouration. Whereas most teeth-whitening methods are somewhat cosmetic, this one actually delivers healthy tooth structure.
Here are the basics:
- brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time
- floss twice a day to remove plaque between your teeth
- use a fluoride toothpaste, which can reportedly fight tooth decay
- rinse with a dentist-recommended mouthwash once a day
7. Teeth Whitening Kits
Surely you’ve seen some of favourite Instagram influencers and reality stars plugging teeth whitening kits online. In terms of efficiency, experts are still on the fence about the at-home mouthguard kits, however, that hasn’t stopped them from becoming a massive industry.
Best Home Teeth Whitening Kits
As we mentioned, the seventh and perhaps most popular way to whiten teeth at home is to enlist a little help from the pros. Here are some of the best teeth whitening kits on the market.
1. Bondi Smile Teeth Whitening Kits
Australia’s own Bondi Smile offers an assortment of top whitening products and kits.
2. Crest 3D White Whitestrips
Crest’s massively popular strips incorporate the same teeth-whitening ingredients used by dentists. They’ve been rated on Amazon by over 4,400 users and still have a 4.5 rating; that should tell you everything you need to know.
3. AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit
Did we say Crest’s 4,400 ratings were impressive? Well, the AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit has over 13,800 user ratings and 4.5 stars. Use once a day for 30 minutes and expect to see results after just one use.
4. Smile Titan Teeth Whitening Kit
Affordable and effective, this whitening kit uses a powerful LED accelerator light to speed up the process.
5. VieBeauti Teeth Whitening Kitz
Here’s yet another teeth whitening kit that covers the basics and delivers results, hence all the satisfied customers.
6. iSmile Teeth Whitening Kit
With its premium whitening gel and 5X LED light, this popular kit brings dentist-level quality to the comfort of your own home.
Will teeth whitening products damage my teeth?
According to most experts, quality whitening kits will not harm tooth enamel or damage your teeth. However, some homegrown methods like brushing with activated charcoal do carry risks like tooth damage or enamel decay.
Are there health benefits for whitening your teeth?
Proper oral hygiene and some teeth-whitening methods can help fight plaque and bacteria, meaning they're both cosmetically and physically beneficial. Furthermore, whiter teeth can improve confidence levels, which has vicarious health benefits such as better moods and reduced stress or anxiety.
How much does teeth whitening cost?
Having your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist can deliver better results than at-home kits, but also cost far more. In fact, professional whitenings can range anywhere from US$400 all the way up to US$1500. By contrast, at-home whitening kits tend to cost as little as US$28 and as much as US$200.