One of the most common complaints people have about their teeth is that they’re discolored, for the frugal people like us, our first thought for people who don’t want to pay for in-office bleaching is DIY Teeth Whitening! So many things can affect the color of the teeth. Drinking soda, wine, coffee, smoking, and eating highly pigmented foods can all result in the yellowish tinge that everyone hates. I think everybody will agree that dentist’s office visits can be quite expensive; the average cost for a professional whitening is about $650 and insurance doesn’t typically cover these visits because they are considered cosmetic procedures.
Luckily, for those of us on a budget, there are numerous ways to whiten and brighten teeth at home using ingredients you may already have in your cabinets. Whether you generally want nicer teeth or are just trying to surprise someone on Valentine’s Day, here are some ways to get pearly whites without an expenseive kit or dentist’s office visit.
This first homemade teeth whitener is a DIY favorite and one featured in our our popular article “99 Ways to cut your spending by $400/mo“.
If a person has some extra money to spend, they could always visit their dentist’s office for an in-office bleaching treatment. Unfortunately, in this economy, most people don’t have the extra money to spend on teeth whitening and insurance doesn’t usually cover the cost. This is why an increasing number of people are getting creative and looking in their own cabinets for products that can help.
I totally get it if DIY is not your thing, there are many excellent and affordable teeth whitening products online to choose from. I’ve read great things about Smile Brilliant and found the most helpful reviews do come from fellow bloggers who share their experience and walk you through the process.
Easy At-Home Teeth Whitening
What You’ll Need:
- Mouthwash – (Amazon’s top-selling mouthwash by far is TheraBreath)
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
Are There Low-Cost Ways to Whiten My Teeth?
Teeth whitening is one of those beauty treatments that sounds difficult and expensive, but it really isn’t – this method can fit any budget. Most people can whiten their teeth from home DIY style using products that are already in their cabinets; However, if you have been smoking for years and are dealing with significant stains, home whitening may not be enough. These treatments are better for people that only need to get their teeth a few shades whiter, not eliminate severe stains.
Two great products for easy at-home teeth whitening are hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. While this may sound a bit odd, since hydrogen peroxide is usually used to clean out cuts and scrapes, it does work. Next time you’re out shopping, look at the ingredients in a few high priced teeth whiteners and toothpastes. A lot of the time these products include hydrogen peroxide and/or baking soda.
How to Whiten Your Teeth at Home:
To whiten your smile, swap your everyday mouthwash (or I love Amazon’s top-selling mouthwash TheraBreath) love with hydrogen peroxide or mix it 1/2 & 1/2 with the mouthwash. Swish the liquid around your mouth and through your teeth for a good minute before spitting it out. Once you spit it out, go ahead and rinse your mouth with water to get the taste out.
Right after rinsing, brush your teeth using a baking soda/toothpaste mixture. To make this mixture, put a tiny bit of toothpaste into a small cup, and then mix in one teaspoon of the baking soda and half a teaspoon of water. Once the concoction has been thoroughly mixed together and is the consistency of a paste, use it to brush your teeth. Brush your teeth for two minutes, just as you do regularly, and then spit it out. You can also use a tray to hold it against your teeth. Upon completion, you will have successfully created a whitening treatment comparable to many popular products you’ll find in stores.
Remember to do the two-step easy at home teeth whitening process once a week until you have reached the results you want. Once your teeth are good and white, limit yourself to using the whitening treatment once every month or two.
If done too often, this treatment will wear down the enamel on your teeth and make you more susceptible to cavities. So while you may have a white smile, you’ll also have a mouth full of sensitive teeth and cavities, which may actually be worse than a little discoloration. Fortunately, while following these steps, without overdoing it, you will be able to easily whiten your teeth, while saving hundreds on the cost of professional teeth whitening treatments.
About the Author:
Sally is a 29 year old writer with a passion for health and wellness, frugal living, and culinary arts. In her free time she enjoys playing with her two English bulldogs.
Here are 15 More DIY Tricks to Keep Your Teeth White:
1. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
One of the most common and most effective methods for at-home teeth whitening is using baking soda and lemon juice; ingredients that are already present in most kitchens.
• 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon of baking soda
Simply mix the lemon juice with the baking soda to create a paste; try one tablespoon of the lemon juice at first and then add more as needed to create a thick paste. Using a clean cloth, dry your teeth and remove excess saliva. Then, apply the paste to each tooth, rubbing gently. Allow the paste to sit for one minute in a tray and thoroughly rinse your mouth. This can be done once a week to whiten teeth naturally and remove stains from coffee, tea, fruits or smoking. Once the desired level of whiteness is achieved, use this method once every month or two to maintain your bright smile.
Lemon juice can have an impact on your enamel, so be cautious and note any tooth sensitivity when trying this method.
2. Toothpaste and Baking Soda
Another excellent whitening process can be done using baking soda and your regular everyday toothpaste. Simply mix one part toothpaste with one part baking soda and brush your teeth normally. The added baking soda works as a gentle abrasive to remove surface stains from your teeth that are often left behind from certain foods or drinks. Be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after every brushing.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide and Mouthwash
Hydrogen peroxide is a wonderful product for whitening teeth and extremely inexpensive. It’s also perfectly safe to use as a mouthwash. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with one part of your normal everyday mouthwash. Swish with this mouthwash mixture for 30 seconds to 1 minute after brushing your teeth. The hydrogen peroxide will remove deeper stains as well as surface stains to naturally whiten and brighten your teeth.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
If hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are both such great whitening agents, it just makes sense to add them together for a powerful at-home whitener. Simply mix one part hydrogen peroxide with one part baking soda and use in place of your normal toothpaste. This can be done once a day for fresher breath and whiter teeth.
5. Coconut Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient method of promoting whiter and healthier teeth that has recently become very popular. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which naturally kills bad bacteria that can yellow your teeth. It is also said that the oil pulling technique can remove toxins from your body and promote healthy gums. While not a traditional whitening agent, the coconut oil creates a barrier on your teeth that prevents plaque and stains from sticking. Simply place a tablespoon of coconut oil (the solid oil will melt quickly in your mouth, but liquid oil is also available) in your mouth and swish it, pulling it through your teeth, for about 15 minutes. When finished, spit the used oil into the trash can. Although 15 minutes can seem like a long time, doing this while getting dressed or performing other chores makes it easier.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the world’s best natural cleaning products, and it works for your teeth as well. Dilute the vinegar by mixing one part with one part water. Use as a natural mouthwash, swishing for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Apple cider vinegar naturally removes difficult stains from your teeth, although it takes a while to see results. It does not have the same whitening agent as some of the other options. After one month of regular use, your teeth will be gleaming white and beautiful. It’s important to rinse your mouth with water after using the apple cider vinegar method, to ensure that the acid in the vinegar doesn’t damage your tooth enamel.
7. Strawberry Paste
Strawberries aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about whitening their teeth, but the malic acid present in this fruit works wonderfully to remove stubborn stains from coffee, tea, and smoking. It’s even a favorite method of actress Catherine Zeta-Jones to keep her teeth naturally and beautifully white. To do this, simply mash or blend 2-3 strawberries and add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda until you’ve formed a thick paste. Use a clean cloth to remove excess saliva from teeth and then apply the paste. Allow it to remain on the teeth for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. You may need to floss to remove remaining strawberry seeds. This method can be used once a week to really brighten and whiten teeth.
8. Banana Peels
Another excellent, natural method for whitening teeth comes from another popular fruit; the banana. Banana peels contain tons of potassium, magnesium and various other minerals that are wonderful for the health of your mouth. These minerals absorb into your enamel and naturally whiten and strengthen teeth. Simply rub a banana peel on your teeth, making sure to get them all, for about two minutes after brushing your teeth and then rinse thoroughly with water. This can be done after each brushing to promote healthy, whiter teeth.
9. Apple Sauce
Applesauce for teeth whitening? It’s true! Apples, like strawberries, contain malic acid which helps remove those stubborn tooth stains. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy mouth. To use this method, you’re going to want to purchase natural, unsweetened applesauce. Simply place 1-2 tablespoons of applesauce in your mouth and swish it around so that it covers all of your teeth. Allow it to sit for 1-2 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
10. Activated Charcoal
This is another method that sounds a little strange until you hear how it works. One of the reasons that activated charcoal is used for so many things from filtering to toxin removal is the adhesive qualities of the product. It binds itself to surface stains that coat the teeth, from coffee and tea to plaque. Then, when you spit out the charcoal and rinse, those stains are gone. So while it isn’t a traditional bleaching agent, it effectively acts like one in this case. To use this method, just mix a tablespoon of activated charcoal powder with just enough water to create a paste. Brush your teeth as you normally would, being sure to catch every surface area. Then, rinse very thoroughly. You’ll quickly notice a difference using this method.
11. Turmeric Powder
If you’ve ever seen turmeric powder, you may be wondering how in the world this bright yellow powder could whiten teeth. In fact, it’s been known to stain other surfaces, such as clothing. However, it’s teeth-whitening properties are very similar to baking soda. It whites and brightens teeth when used on a regular basis, and is a natural, healthy and inexpensive way to do so. It has also been found effective for battling gingivitis and relieving dental pain. Simply mix about one teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to make a paste. Use it to brush your teeth for 2 to 5 minutes, or let it sit in a tray, before rinsing very thoroughly with water.
12. Snacking on Crunchy Veggies
Surprisingly, you can do a lot to whiten your teeth just by snacking. During the day, snacking on crunchy veggies like carrots and celery can really whiten your teeth. The rough texture of these vegetables acts as a natural toothbrush of sorts to remove debris and bacteria from the surface of your teeth. Plus, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that absorb into your tooth enamel and mouth to promote healthy, whiter teeth.
13. Drink Through a Straw
Some of the most stubborn tooth stains come from drinks like coffee, tea and fruit drinks like grape juice. To prevent this from happening and to ensure whiter, brighter teeth, drink everything through a straw. Doing this allows the liquid to bypass the teeth so that it’s not continuously coating the enamel, which is what causes stains. Sure, it might be a bit annoying for hot coffee, but once you start using this method, it’s easy to get used to. Plus, it’s a simple and cost-free way to get whiter teeth at home.
14. Protect Your Tooth Enamel
Your tooth enamel is the shiny, protective outer coating of your tooth. It’s typically this surface that becomes stained but one of the bigger worries is erosion of the enamel. This happens when acidic foods or substances are allowed to stay on your teeth for long periods of time. Some foods contain large amounts of acid and can be more damaging to tooth enamel. Citrus fruit, fruit juice, sodas and carbonated drinks, and sugary sweet foods are all damaging to tooth enamel. Brushing directly after indulging in these foods and drinks can protect your tooth enamel, which will help defend against stains and discoloration. If you don’t have access to a toothbrush and toothpaste directly after eating or drinking these substances, sugar-free chewing gum can also help remove those acids.
15. Rinse Frequently with Water
Another thing that can help to remove harmful bacteria, acids and stains from your tooth enamel is frequent rinsing with water. Sounds simple, right? The great thing about using water is that you can rinse your teeth and mouth numerous times a day, removing all the things that linger after you drink or eat something, plus there are no chemicals in water that can be damaging. Simply rinse your mouth the same way you would with mouthwash, but use water. You can do this as many times as you want, but we recommend rinsing at least 5 to 10 times per day.
Many of these methods for naturally whitening your teeth will not work instantly the way a professional whitening will. However, after continuous use for 2 weeks to 1 month, you will notice results. While it can be frustrating to have to wait so long to see a noticeable difference in the whiteness of your teeth, you get the huge benefit of inexpensive teeth-whitening methods. Plus, the majority of these substances are all-natural and contain no harmful chemicals that could potentially damage your teeth more than helping them.
Concerns About Hydrogen Peroxide
There are concerns about using hydrogen peroxide as a whitening agent, and how it can impact your dental health, particularly if you have sensitive teeth. If you have concerns about sensitive teeth that you aren’t already addressing, you should schedule a dental appointment and cleaning. If you have already addressed your sensitive teeth and have a dental toothpaste to counteract the effects, then just listen to your body. If the tooth sensitivity intensifies, stop using your treatment and get to the dentist’s office.
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by any number of things. Receding gums or the need for a tray when sleeping are two common issues. Often, when people sleep they unintentionally grind or clench their teeth, increasing tooth sensitivity and damaging enamel. There are in-office procedures to help with tooth sensitivity that can be discussed during your next dental check-up.
Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Carbamide Peroxide
There are subtle differences between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide as a bleaching agent. Long story short, both are equally effective at polishing your pearly whites and both are often found in a standard whitening kit. Carbamide is a different blend that includes a lesser amount of hydrogen peroxide at a ratio of 1:3. Carbamide has a longer shelf-life and activation time, so whereas hydrogen peroxide is powerful but dissipates quickly, carbamide peroxide is longer-lasting.
Due to its response time, Carbamide Peroxide as a whitening agent often shows more dramatic results quicker. However, that initial effect tapers off quickly and equates to using hydrogen peroxide in the long run. Carbamide might be the better option as a bleaching agent if you only have a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day, a wedding, or another special event.
Again, if you experience tooth sensitivity, stop the treatment and get to your dentist’s office for a dental check-up. The quest for white teeth should not put your dental health in danger, and not listening to your body can result in corrective actions that are more expensive than any whitening kit you could have bought instead.
Further Reading: Best (Paid) Teeth Whitening Solutions.
In this article, we cover paid ways to get white teeth, including different teeth-whitening gel applications, gel refills, gel trays, other mouth trays, laser-teeth whitening, and Zoom whitening.