At-home teeth whitening offers a convenient way to whiten your teeth and restore your bright smile. While we all want that brilliant smile, our teeth can become stained from poor oral hygiene, smoking and chewing tobacco, consuming tooth-staining foods and beverages, or even aging. The worst thing about having stained teeth is that it can affect many aspects of your life.
For that reason, many people seek expensive teeth whitening procedures trying to brighten their teeth and restore lost confidence. Americans with stained teeth spent more than $11 billion on teeth whitening in 2015 alone. However, brightening your teeth shouldn’t cost you a fortune. There are many effective at-home teeth whitening options you can try.
Is It OK to Whiten Teeth at Home?
Yes, it’s OK to whiten your teeth at home. However, the process is usually safe only if done correctly. That’s because most teeth whitening kits contain bleaching agents such as peroxide that often cause tooth sensitivity. Over time, the sensitivity can become severe, affecting your daily life. It’s also crucial to ensure you don’t have any underlying dental issues before using a teeth whitening product. Also, it’s vital to ensure a safe tooth whitening method since using the wrong techniques or powerful products increases your risk of developing severe dental issues or even permanent tooth damage. Consider seeing your dentist immediately if you experience the following signs and symptoms after using a whitening product at home;
- Severe discoloration
- Tooth etching
- Corrosion of the enamel
- Gum and tissue irritation or damage
- Teeth fractures
The side effects are usually mild with safe methods but typically wear off with time.
Can You Whiten Your Teeth Without Going to the Dentist?
There are many safe at-home teeth whitening methods that you can use to get that beautiful, brighter smile without the harmful side effects. While you don’t need to see your dentist before using these at-home whitening methods, most of them take time to give results and only eliminate a bit of yellowing. Some of the best ways to whiten your teeth without going to the dentist include:
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing your teeth at least two times a day is a proven method for maintaining a brighter-looking smile. Gently brushing your teeth with toothpaste helps eliminate stains on the surface of your teeth, while flossing helps get rid of food particles that could buildup and harden into plaque, discoloring your teeth.
Oil pulling is a popular, ancient Ayurvedic remedy, although there is no scientific evidence of its effectiveness. The technique entails swishing a tablespoon of olive oil, sesame, or coconut oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes and spitting out. The oil helps remove bacteria and dissolve tartar and plaque that cause teeth to appear yellow. Regular oil pulling can reportedly make your teeth whiter and healthier.
Eating Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits is beneficial for your body and teeth. That’s because the vegetables and fruits help rub plaque on your teeth away as you chew. Pineapples and strawberries are popular fruit choices for teeth whitening. The malic acid in strawberries helps remove the stain on your teeth, making them look whiter. The enzyme found in pineapples has also been shown to be more effective at getting rid of tooth stains than most toothpaste.
How Can I Whiten My Teeth ASAP at Home?
Brush with Baking Soda
Brushing your teeth with baking soda is one of the fastest ways to whiten your teeth at home without breaking the bank. Numerous studies show that brushing with baking soda regularly can effectively lift surface stains that often cause yellowing teeth. Brushing with baking soda also helps prevent bacteria growth in your mouth.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is not only great for disinfecting wounds but also helps kill bacteria in your mouth and bleach your teeth to whiten them. That’s why it’s widely used as a bleaching agent in most at-home teeth whitening kits. A recent study found that applying a whitening gel formula with 6 percent hydrogen peroxide on teeth gives noticeable results in only two weeks. You can mix it with baking soda and use it as a whitening paste or as a mouthwash before cleaning your teeth.
Exploring Effective At-Home Teeth Whitening
The most effective at-home teeth whitening products are mostly over-the-counter products. These products are effective and safe to use at home to brighten your smile faster. Depending on your desired outcome and the amount of money and time you’d want to spend, your options include:
- Whitening toothpaste — These at-home teeth whitening products are safe and effective since they contain mild abrasives such as calcium carbonate, silica, and sodium bicarbonate. They also have low amounts of hydrogen peroxide. The abrasives help eliminate surface stains while the hydrogen peroxide moderately bleaches them. For the best results, use toothpaste with higher hydrogen peroxide concentrations.
- Whitening strips — Stick-on strips are usually used on the surface of your teeth. The bleaching agent, usually hydrogen peroxide, helps lift the stains from your teeth. You should use whitening strips for about 30 minutes each session to brighten your teeth about five shades.
- Whitening trays — You can get custom-made trays that perfectly fit your teeth from your dentist or generic trays over-the-counter. They also come with a bleaching gel that you can use at home to bleach your teeth. These at-home teeth whitening products are as effective as in-office bleaching when it comes to whitening your teeth. However, they take a bit longer to produce full results.
- Whitening pens or gels — These are brush-on or paint-on formulas that you apply before bed for about two weeks to achieve whiter teeth. The formulas contain hydrogen peroxide that whitens your teeth as you glide them over your teeth.
Get the Bright Smile You Deserve
As you’ve seen, many effective at-home teeth whitening remedies can help you restore your bright smile. Whitening toothpaste makes a great option if you have mild yellowing teeth and usually practice good oral hygiene. Teeth whitening strips can work well if you have seriously stained teeth. You can also opt for at-home natural whitening methods such as oil pulling, using hydrogen peroxide, brushing with baking soda, and maintaining good oral hygiene.
While these teeth whitening methods can help eliminate the yellow stains on your teeth, the best option is to brush your teeth at least twice each day and visit a dentist near you to have your teeth professionally checked and cleaned at least twice a year.
Tried the above whitening options, and your teeth’ health and color don’t seem to improve? Dr. Koch provides quality orthodontics at an affordable price from his orthodontic office in Geneseo, New York, and serves the entire Finger Lakes region.