Can You Whiten Teeth at Home

Coffee, tea, acidic beverages, and certain foods can all cause teeth staining. Luckily, you do not have to stop indulging in these as there are several at-home teeth whitening treatments available to help brighten your smile.

How to Whiten Teeth at Home

Anyone that wants to whiten their smile should begin with a consultation with their dentist. The dentist will determine the cause of discoloration and recommend suitable whitening treatments. The consultation will also unveil whether discoloration is intrinsic, and affect the inner layers of the teeth, or extrinsic, and affect the outer surfaces of the teeth.

Should discoloration be intrinsic in nature, more robust treatment will be needed that home remedies cannot address. While at-home whitening treatments are not affective at addressing intrinsic stains, most are suitable for extrinsic stains.

The two main ways to whiten teeth at home are custom whitening trays and over-the-counter products.

Custom Whitening Trays: These trays are customized by the dentist for at-home whitening. The dentist applies a bleaching agent (often hydrogen peroxide based) to the teeth via the custom fitted plastic tray which can be worn from the comfort of home. Instructions will be provided regarding how long to use the trays. While the results are not instantaneous, at-home whitening trays can have a visible effect on surface stains.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Products: Incorporating a whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, or gel into an oral hygiene regimen is one of the easiest ways to reduce tooth discoloration. Because these store-bought products contain smaller concentrations of bleaching agents than professional in-office treatments, they tend to take longer and be less effective. Whitening strips are another popular at-home method that involves wearing thin plastic strips over the teeth. These peroxide-based strips are typically worn for about 30 minutes daily for one to two weeks.

Habits for a Whiter Smile

One of the best habits for a bright, white smile is to prevent staining from occurring in the first place. To keep the teeth clean and promote good oral health, the following at-home measures should be taken:

* Brush the teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush; whitening toothpaste or those containing baking soda, can also be incorporated to scrub away staining.

* Clean between the teeth every day with dental floss, a water pick, or another interdental cleaner.

* Limit foods and drinks that can cause tooth stains (ex. coffee, tea, red wine, colas, blueberries, raspberries, and tomato sauces).

* Chew sugar-free gum after meals to stimulate saliva production and flush away food debris and bacteria.

* Maintain regular visits to the dentist for examinations and routine cleanings.

* Abstain from smoking or using other forms of tobacco.

* Stick to a diet that has plenty of enamel-strengthening calcium (ex. cheese, milk, or broccoli).

* Incorporate any number of natural remedies like practicing oil pulling, activated charcoal, kaolin clay, fruit peels, or apple cider vinegar. None of these are scientifically proven to be effective but proponents claim they can help remove tooth staining.


The bottom line is that multiple options are available to whiten teeth at home. While none are as effective or long-lasting as professional, in-office whitening treatments, most provide convenient, cost-effective solutions for removing surface stains from teeth.


How do You Whiten Teeth