5 Tips for Teeth Whitening at Home

Whitening your teeth is an easy way to freshen up your smile and appearance while boosting your confidence. Over time, teeth may appear to have a yellowish tint, which can be caused by a myriad of reasons such as drinking coffee or red wine, natural wear and tear, smoking, or eating certain foods. Teeth whitening can be safe and effective, but it is important to proceed with caution, as the wrong methods could lead to permanent damage to your enamel and cause irreversible sensitivity. In addition to potential dental health harm, many whitening kits on the market are both gimmicky and costly, yielding no real results.

Many things can contribute to teeth dullness. The most common cause is having stains on your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth. Other factors also play a role, such as built-up plaque between your teeth, poor dental hygiene, or certain medications. The good news is that these causes can be treated or eliminated through various teeth whitening remedies and prevention. However, if your tooth enamel has eroded over time, you will start to see the dentin come through. Dentin is the hard tissue that makes up the core of your teeth, which can be either yellow or gray in color. If your enamel has eroded, you should not use whitening treatments to change the color of your teeth, and you should consult with a dental professional.

If you are interested in how to get whiter teeth without damaging the enamel, consider the following strategies:

    Brush and Floss Properly

    The easiest thing you can do to prevent tooth discoloration is to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. It is especially important to brush after consuming specific foods and drinks. Whitening toothpaste can remove surface stains that appear as a result of drinking coffee or smoking, but they will not lighten previous stains. Therefore, it’s important to get ahead of the game by practicing good oral hygiene to prevent the need for whitening products.

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda has natural whitening properties and is a popular ingredient in toothpaste. By brushing with baking soda a couple of times per week, you can gently polish away stains on the surface of the teeth. In addition, baking soda can help to break up plaque and prevent bad bacteria from growing. Baking soda also helps with acid-based foods because it is alkaline and salty. This means that if you are a fan of tea, coffee, or red wine, brushing with baking soda 1-2 times per week is a safe way to keep discoloration at bay.

    Hydrogen Peroxide

    Hydrogen peroxide, another ingredient found in whitening products, can be used to whiten teeth. However, it must be used cautiously. Be sure to use a solution no higher than 3% and dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water before use so that it does not damage your enamel. The higher the concentration, the more damage it will do to your teeth. Combining baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is another way to help whiten your teeth. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after brushing with this paste.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Products

    There are lots of over-the-counter whitening products that can help brighten your smile—the most well-known are Crest 3D White Strips, but other brands that have white strips as well. In addition to white strips, whitening pens and bleaching trays are available over-the-counter. While a custom fit tray from your dentist is ideal, you can get whitening trays from your local drug store.

    As a general rule, whitening kits should contain between 10% to 35% carbamide peroxide. Products that have higher concentrations of peroxide will increase chances of tooth sensitivity or gum irritation, especially if they are worn longer than the recommended time.

    Dietary Changes

    Limiting staining foods and beverages can help keep your teeth whiter. These include foods like dark berries and dark chocolate, and drinks like red wine, tea, and coffee. You should also try to avoid acidic foods, as these can cause harm to the enamel.


    These are useful suggestions for at-home care, but, ultimately, if you want to know how to get whiter teeth, professional teeth whitening is the most effective and safe way to whiten teeth without risking enamel damage. If you would like to know more about whitening options that we offer at Temple Family Dentistry, please contact us today.