When it comes to a bright smile there’s really no middle ground. Even the most dental-conscious people eventually have to deal with unsightly teeth staining. Chances are you are still looking for the best way to whiten teeth from home. Here are some easy and cost-effective ways that give great results by improving the quality of your smile and helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Ditch The Dentist And Try This At Home Instead
Professional stain removal treatments are costly and may not be suitable for people with sensitive teeth. You may have already tried several approaches on your own with mixed results. Finding the best way to whiten teeth from home mainly depends on how badly your teeth are stained and what the most suitable approach is that you are comfortable with.
A more natural approach to teeth whitening will most likely work best for mildly stained teeth. Stains that are more noticeable or have not lightened with natural remedies will probably require more aggressive treatment with commercially available whiteners that you can use from home.
Natural And Commonly Used Approaches
Brush and floss twice a day – Regular brushing and flossing can help lighten stains. It’s also one of the best ways to reduce plaque build-up and help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Plan to floss and then brush for two minutes before breakfast and again before bedtime. Many electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer to keep you honest. A soft-bristle toothbrush is usually best. Avoid hard-bristle brushes, which can eventually wear down your tooth enamel.
Omit tooth-staining beverages and foods – The frequent consumption of things like coffee, tea, dark soda, red wine, and blueberries (or any dark berries) can stain teeth over time. Plan to eat tooth-staining foods sparingly and brush as soon as possible after you consume them. Drink tooth-staining beverages through a straw whenever practical and rinse with water afterward.
Lose the cigarettes – Cigarette smoking is one of the most common causes of teeth staining. Just look at the hands of some “chain smokers” and you can see nicotine stains on their fingers. Cigarette smoke can also darken the color of things like wallpaper over the years. While you are whitening your teeth you will also be helping to prevent diseases such as emphysema, as well as lung and urinary bladder cancer (what a deal!). With all the money you save from not smoking you can easily afford professional dental care to keep your teeth in top condition.
Eat lots of fruits and raw vegetables – A diet rich in fruits and raw vegetables may help lighten your teeth by removing proteins and “scraping away” mild stains, respectively. According to a publication in the Journal of Young Pharmacists, pineapple and papaya both contain papain and bromelain, which are enzymes that help to break down proteins on the surface of tooth enamel. A publication in the Journal Of Operative Dentistry concluded that a mixture of strawberry and baking soda may also be mildly effective in lightening tooth stains.
Baking soda – A paste (dentifrice) made from Arm & Hammer baking soda and water can help remove plaque and whiten teeth, according to the Journal of Clinical Dentistry. Avoid using a concentrated paste on a daily basis, which can thin the enamel of your teeth over time by way of its abrasive action. Baking soda has the added benefit of decreasing the level of acidity in your mouth to help prevent tooth decay.
Hydrogen peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide has been used for years as a whitening agent, both at home and commercially. At home, it is most commonly mixed with baking soda to make a paste or as a mouth rinse. Intermittent use and keeping the concentration of hydrogen peroxide at or below 1 percent will help avoid enamel erosion.
Turmeric – Turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family, has become a popular choice for teeth whitening. Despite its popularity, the American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that there is no scientific evidence that it is clearly effective in this regard. Turmeric is often used by making a paste of turmeric powder and water. The paste is allowed to sit on the teeth before rinsing, typically about 5 to 10 minutes.
Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is often used as a mouthwash to whiten or brighten teeth. I would recommend caution with this method as apple cider vinegar, particularly in undiluted concentrations, can permanently damage tooth enamel and promote tooth decay.
Here is a video from the Bight Side that discusses 10 natural ways to brighten your teeth at home.
Home-Based Commercial Whitening Products
Whitening toothpaste – There is a large variety of whitening toothpaste available for the home consumer market. Two popular types contain baking soda and activated charcoal as whitening ingredients. The regular use of a baking soda toothpaste, such as Arm & Hammer Advance White, can provide a more practical approach to baking soda dental hygiene than a baking soda and water paste. Alternately, Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth is a good choice for people that wish to whiten sensitive teeth.
Whitening toothbrushes – There are a variety of toothbrushes, both manual and electric, that claim to whiten teeth. Manual (non-electric) toothbrushes, like the Oral-B Charcoal Toothbrush, come with activated charcoal infused bristles. Electric toothbrushes, like the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Whitening Edition, work by using patented sonic technology to move at over 30,000 strokes per minute.
Activated charcoal products – Activated charcoal is mildly abrasive and may help “absorb” stains from the surface of the tooth. It is one of the more popular whitener options because of its relatively low cost and it is generally thought to be relatively harmless by the majority of users. It is available as a powder, toothpaste, and in a toothbrush configuration. While the toothpaste is quicker and more convenient to use, the powder typically promises better results for badly stained teeth. Be aware that regular use of activated charcoal in high concentrations can damage tooth enamel.
Whitening systems (kits): strips versus gels – These whitening products essentially provide a more effective way to remove discoloration from the surface of stained teeth. The safest preparations available for home-use typically contain concentrated hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Strips have the advantage of being cheaper and more convenient to use while gels typically produce more effective whitening results.
Whitening strips – Strips are applied horizontally over the front of the top and bottom teeth. They are worn for variable amounts of time, which can be anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the product and tooth sensitivity. You cannot eat during this process, although some strips allow you to drink water while they are in place.
Whitening gels – Gels are available as “paint-on” products or as “tray-kits”. Kits are comprised of molds (trays) that hold the whitening gel and fit over your top and bottom rows of teeth. Some kits use trays that are customized to fit your teeth from impressions you make at home and mail back to the manufacturer. Trays may incorporate a built-in LED light, which is supposed to work by either heating up the bleach or as a photocatalyst (the light speeds up the reaction between the chemicals).
Here is a video by Crest that compares some of the most common at-home commercial methods to whiten teeth.
The number one product I recommend for whitening teeth at home is the Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive Teeth Whitening Kit. This product is easy to use, enamel-safe, highly effective, and typically works well for sensitive teeth. Use it for 30 minutes a day for 14 days to complete the full whitening treatment. The strips mold to the shape of each tooth and stay in place, even when talking and drinking water.
Whitening For Sensitive Teeth
People with sensitive teeth can present a difficult whitening problem. I would recommend that you begin with trying the natural and commonly used approaches listed above before proceeding to commercial home whitening products. The natural approach will take longer to achieve noticeable results but it should be easy to maintain whiter-looking teeth by implementing an ongoing routine.
How tolerable a whitener will be for someone with sensitive teeth is typically due to the type and concentration of tooth whitener in the product, as well as its application time. Your teeth may be more sensitive to a carbamide peroxide-based whitener than hydrogen peroxide-based whiter, or vice-versa. You may have to try different whitener systems or toothpaste products to find one that suits you best.
If a whitener causes pain, burning, or discomfort of any type then stop using it immediately and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water until the symptoms begin to subside. Call your dentist immediately if you don’t get complete relief. Ultimately, if you cannot find a method that works adequately then you may need to have your teeth professionally whitened.
Whitening teeth at home is more convenient and is a great way to save money in the process. There are a variety of ways to whiten teeth at home. Which method will work best for you is largely dependent on how stained your teeth are and your degree of tooth sensitivity.
Mildly stained teeth can typically be treated with a more natural approach. Natural approaches require repetition and patience to see results. Moderately stained teeth may require a more aggressive treatment at home with a commercially available product. Severely stained teeth that don’t respond to the whitening procedures outlined in this article will most likely require professional stain removal.
Routine trips to the dentist for cleanings along with proper brushing and flossing at home are good practices to help keep teeth healthy and minimize stain buildup. Preventative approaches, like drinking teeth-staining beverages through a straw, can help keep whitened teeth from noticeably darkening again.
White teeth can help you look your best. When you look good then you tend to also feel good. See 5 Hot Tips On Aging Gracefully – Look 5 Years Younger Today!
Be aware that some tooth whiteners can damage your teeth. When choosing a whitener always thoroughly research it before use and stop using it immediately if you notice any pain or other adverse reactions.
Tell Us What You Think
Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section, or if I can help you with anything.
- Do you have any additional tips or suggestions on how to whiten teeth from home?
- What whitener has worked best for you or not worked at all?
- What are you currently doing to prevent teeth staining?