What Really Works to Whiten Teeth at Home? - A Comprehensive Guide

Having a bright, white smile is something that many people strive for. But with so many teeth whitening products on the market, it can be hard to know which ones really work. Fortunately, there are some natural remedies that can help whiten teeth at home. Certain foods can stain the enamel, which is the outermost layer of the teeth.

Plaque buildup on teeth can also cause them to look yellow. A study found that toothpastes containing baking soda were significantly more effective at reducing plaque, gum inflammation, and bleeding than regular toothpastes without baking soda (1). Another review concluded that toothpastes containing baking soda may be more effective at whitening teeth than other types of toothpaste (1). To use this remedy, mix 1 teaspoon (6 grams) of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water (5 ml) and brush your teeth with the paste.

You can do this several times a week. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural whitening agent that also kills bacteria in the mouth (1). A study found that toothpaste containing a higher amount of hydrogen peroxide is more effective at whitening teeth after 12 weeks than toothpastes that contain a lower amount (1). One way to use hydrogen peroxide is as a mouthwash before brushing your teeth.

Be sure to use a 1.5% or 3% solution to avoid side effects. The most common concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the pharmacy is a 3% solution, which you can easily dilute to 1.5% by mixing equal parts of peroxide and water. Another way to use hydrogen peroxide is to mix it with baking soda to make a toothpaste. Combine 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon (6 grams) of baking soda and brush your teeth gently with the mixture.

Although studies show that strawberry paste and baking soda had minimal effect on tooth enamel, overuse could cause damage (20, 2). A study found that a gel made with bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, could help remove stains on teeth compared to a control group (2). In addition to avoiding foods that stain your teeth such as coffee, red wine, soft drinks, and dark berries (2), you should also avoid smoking and chewing tobacco as both can cause tooth discoloration (2). A diet rich in sugar promotes the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the main type of bacteria that causes plaque and gingivitis (24, 2).

Calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, and broccoli can help protect teeth from enamel erosion (2). There are many teeth whitening products available that can help whiten your teeth quickly. They usually contain peroxide and can be used at home or applied by the dentist (2). According to the American Dental Association (ADA), some of the most common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth are brushing their teeth too hard, not brushing enough, brushing their teeth immediately after eating, and keeping the toothbrush for too long without replacing it (30).

Brushing your teeth with products that contain baking soda acts on surface stains over time. The malic acid in apples stimulates saliva to remove acids. Toothpastes with bromelain, a compound in pineapple, help whiten teeth. But there's no evidence that eating these fruits will make your smile shine.

A study published in Operative Dentistry found that brushing your teeth with a mixture of them and baking soda had no whitening effects. Worse yet, the citric acid in strawberries can break down enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. Crest 3D Whitestrips are currently the only whitening strips approved by the ADA. The Classic Vivid strips come in a pack of 20 which is enough for 10 treatments depending on the brand.

The strips are made with hydrogen peroxide and are designed with a non-slip grip that according to Crest helps them adhere to the teeth. Crest offers other types of white strips such as Brillance White Glamorous White and Sensitive all of which have been approved by the ADA. The SmileDirectClub anti-dirt kit includes a hands-free LED accelerator light and whitening pens made with the same whitening agent used by dentists during in-office treatments but at a lower dose so sensitivity reduces pain. What you eat and drink and if you smoke also contribute to the longevity of the effects of teeth whitening.

There are a few other natural teeth whitening methods but there is no scientific evidence to show that they are safe or effective. That's why experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have tested the best over-the-counter teeth whitening products to see if the results compete with those provided by professionals and the verdict is a resounding yes. Turmeric is an all-natural product making it a desirable alternative to less natural over-the-counter tooth whiteners. According to the ADA whitening toothpaste is primarily based on abrasives to help remove surface stains from teeth.

There are a few ways to get the most out of whitening maintain a solid oral care routine (brushing your teeth twice a day flossing and using a mouthwash daily) and avoid staining beverages and foods such as coffee and red wine. Tooth decay cracked teeth or exposed roots in the gums can also cause tooth sensitivity which can be worsened by whitening agents.

Mike Lenkiewicz
Mike Lenkiewicz

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