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How to whiten your teeth and keep them white - at home, zoom, dentist & natural tooth whitening you can do at home free

Updated on May 12, 2012
How to get the white smile of your dreams
How to get the white smile of your dreams

Your choices when it comes to teeth whitening procedures and products -

You don't have to spend thousands at the dentist to get the sparkling white smile you've always dreamed of.

There are many safe and easy methods to simply whiten and brighten your teeth at home. No fuss, minimal mess, a little effort every day and a bit of time and you will see results that will transform your yellowing teeth into glowingly healthy teeth that are a much whiter shade.

There are many natural methods, but not all methods will work for everyone, especially if your teeth and gums are suffering from other problems. In that case it's better to speak to your dentist - but for those with otherwise healthy teeth who want to whiten their teeth a few shades and notice a difference in their smile, there are many things one can do at home to achieve a desirable outcome that will make you feel more confident when smiling for photos or just chatting to others without having to worry about the way your teeth look.

Variety is always good - and extremely helpful when it comes to dental care. Want to whiten successfully and keep that color for longer? Pair whitening toothpaste with a whitening mouthwash to keep stains away, and use brush-on whitening gel products if the toothpaste and mouthwash combination isn't quite enough to give you the results you are after. Along with flossing, using more than one whitening product in your routine will pack more of a punch in the long run.

There are many brands to choose from when it comes to DIY teeth whitening products...

Great deals on teeth whitening systems on Amazon

We all know the best teeth whitening systems use a moldable tray device that contains fitted mouthpieces. But there are so many other options that you can do yourself in the comfort of your own home.

In the 90s, the only way to whiten teeth at the dentist was to have your teeth bleached. It was a relatively effective (although quite expensive and time-consuming - often requiring 3 or 4 visits) procedure, but certainly couldn't offer the results that the myriad of teeth whitening methods can offer today, both in dental surgeries and by way of using special tooth whitening products at home.

Now, the most popular whitening process is called laser bleaching (or argon bleaching) - it is often marketed as Zoom Whitening. It will generally last a little longer than the older form of bleaching, but you will still require touch-ups or to get the process done again!... in order to retain the same shade of white which was achieved straight after you left the chair. One of the advantages of going to the dentist to get this method done is that one 2 hour session of Zoom Whitening/power bleaching is equivalent to 2 weeks of at-home whitening with brush-on gels or white strips. It's much more expensive though. The over-the-counter whiteners do work and they work very well... the only thing you have to consider is that you will need to apply them more often than if you get the whitening done by a professional. But if you prefer to do it yourself and don't mind a few extra minutes added to your daily or weekly teeth routine, they are a great option and there are so many different brands available to try.

But not everyone wants to spend the big bucks for the white smile they desire... and that's understandable. Luckily, there are now home alternatives available which work almost as well, if not as well as, the dental office option....

- there are four main types of home teeth whitening available... these include:

  • strips you stick on your teeth (eg: the extremely popular Crest Whitening Strips)
  • brush-on whitening (often comes in a small bottle containing a gel-like substance with a little brush)
  • whitening/bleaching pens
  • trays with bleaching gels which you wear

They generally will whiten your teeth at least a couple of shades. If you are not getting the results that you want, you should be looking at your diet and the drinks you consume, as certain foods and beverages can actually stain your teeth, in which case you may need to visit a dental hygienist who will be able to perform a sort of deep clean on your teeth which will remove some of the staining.

Also, excessive cavities (or holes!) can leave stains on teeth. Ensure you get a check-up regularly to ensure small cavities don't progress into further decay or gum disease or other issues which will eventually require the removal of the tooth or multiple teeth depending on how far the problem has spread. Regular dentist visits will prevent this from happening.

There are also many brands of whitening toothpaste on the market today, and stronger ones available from your dentist. They do prevent surface stains which can make your teeth appear more yellow than they really are.

And make sure never to attempt to scrape off stains with your fingernails or a sharp object... this can damage the enamel badly. Getting regular dental/hygienist cleanings will remove and prevent the build-up of these stains and is gentle on your teeth - don't try to do it yourself.

Also, don't use lemon juice to brush with. Some people claim the acid in lemon juice will remove stains or whiten teeth, but the acid only serves to break down and damage enamel. Just as drinking juice without brushing afterwards will cause the breaking down of enamel, the same is true for straight citrus juice, of course!

Drinking milk is good for your teeth - it's not just kids who need to up their calcium intake! Choose a glass of milk rather than coffee, as caffeine is one of the worst offenders when it comes to causing teeth staining and discoloration. As is soda. It doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite drinks, but if you have a glass of soda, pop, soft drink or tea or coffee, make an effort to brush your teeth as soon as you can following drinking. It will stop the acid and sugar breaking down your enamel (teeth coating) and stop any decay in its tracks. And if you just can't stop those stains and you happen to be a heavy coffee drinker, you might want to think about giving up coffee. For some that may be difficult, but people who have given up coffee have noticed a reduction in the staining and discoloration of their teeth within 3 weeks to a month.

Not everyone realizes just how much discoloration and staining that smoking can cause to teeth. If you're a smoker, at the very least consider cutting back if you're a very heavy smoker... or if you can, make a plan to cut down and then quit altogether. If you've ever seen the teeth of a heavy smoker, you will have noticed the yellowing of the enamel; this only gets worse the longer you continue to smoke. There's no point getting your teeth whitened professionally or spending money on teeth whitening products if you still smoke; the stains will just return, and much quicker than a non-smoker.

I know it's drilled (pardon the dental pun!) into you regularly, but floss, floss, floss! I noticed a dramatic improvement in the health of my teeth when I started flossing every day! Yes, every day. But if you can't manage that, try to floss at least every second day. Some people say you only need to floss once a week, but think of all the gunk and pieces of food that get caught between your teeth (especially your molars) in that time! Yuk! When I go even a couple of days without flossing (I use the little floss-wands/picks - MUCH easier and so much quicker! Try them! There is no way I would have time to floss with regular floss as it is so difficult for me to get between some of my molars as there is practically no gap!

It seems simple, but brush teeth after every meal. If you can't do three times a day... morning and night is an acceptable minimum. You'd be astounded at how many people think once a day is enough!

Before and after at-home teeth whitening
Before and after at-home teeth whitening

How to make a natural teeth whitening paste at home?

What you'll need to mix up the paste -

  • 3 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide

  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda

  • Optional - a small amount of toothpaste may be added

    You can brush your teeth with this home made paste weekly, monthly or anytime you want your teeth to look extra bright and white! Try it. It really kicks stains to the curb.

    You can use it in conjunction with do-it-yourself tooth whitening gels and brush-ons for an extra white smile for a special occasion or photographs.

    It's completely safe for anyone unless you have open sores, cavities or gingivitis. And be extra careful if you suffer from extremely sensitive teeth. But anyone with normal dental health can use this natural treatment very safely at home.

    Strawberries are also a great tooth whitener. It taste great as well so make this and then you can swallow it afterwards. Mash several strawberries well in a bowl and then brush your teeth with them like normal.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great tips on how to whiten your teeth at home, and even with strawberries! Voted up!

    • scarletquill99 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Australia

      Then it means the staining is set in or too severe for the simple home remedies. In cases where these DIY methods don't work there's nothing you can do but visit the dentist and have them correct it. Remember, teeth are not meant to be 100% perfectly white, a little tint it natural but if you are concerned about the discolouration, then a trip to the dentist is what you need.

    • Glass-Jewelry profile image

      Marco Piazzalunga 

      7 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

      I tried it with baking soda, but nothing, my teeth were still yellowish.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Great article here. Like annart, I'm a coffee drinker and I'm also a tea drinker. I definitely use teeth whitening toothpaste so my teeth aren't too stained. I will try your whitening formula for extra whiteness. This is very useful.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 years ago from SW England

      Useful tips here. I'm a coffee drinker (hate tea and don't like sweet or fizzy drinks); however, I do like water so try to limit my coffee and have water instead. I agree that flossing makes a huge difference. Voted up & useful. (Thanks for the follow, too!)

    • Igal profile image


      8 years ago from Los angeles

      Nice tips is given for whitening a teeth in a cheap and affordable they remove stains from a teeth.


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