DIY Teeth Whitening: Too Good to Be True? (2024)

From wedding dresses to recipes and beyond, anyone can post or “pin” ideas they have to the popular website Pinterest—including health tips.But if some of the do-it-yourself teeth whitening advice you see there seems too good to be true, it’s likely because it is. UR Medicine dental expert Dr. Hans Malmstrom explains why some of the tips may have negative consequences.

Pinterest Tip: To whiten teeth, use a mouth guard with 2 parts baking soda to 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 10 minutes daily for 2 weeks.

Dr. Malmstrom: It’s not a good idea to use a mouth guard for whitening that’s not specifically fitted for your mouth by a dentist because the hydrogen peroxide could irritate your gums. If your gums are recessed and the hydrogen peroxide touches an exposed tooth root surface, this can also cause a problem.

Another potential issue can be the amount of hydrogen peroxide used. The concentration approved as safe and effective by the FDA and ADA for tooth whitening (10 percent Carbamide Peroxide) is similar to 3.6 percent hydrogen peroxide. Since it would be extremely difficult to mix the amount of hydrogen peroxide accurately when you’re using it at home, it’s not a good idea to try this whitening method.

Pinterest Tip: Wet your toothbrush and then dip it in 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder. Brush teeth as normal but, instead of rinsing when you’re done, allow the turmeric to sit on your teeth for 3 to 5 minutes. Spit and rinse thoroughly then follow with a second brushing using your regular toothpaste.

DIY Teeth Whitening: Too Good to Be True? (1)Dr. Malmstrom: There are many studies showing how turmeric is good for you internally, but there are no studies showing turmeric to be an effective tooth whitener. I would not recommend any method that hasn’t already been proven to work, as we have safe and effective techniques that have been researched.

Pinterest Tip: Make coconut oil toothpaste by mixing 1 part coconut oil with 1 part baking soda. Add 3 to 5 drops of food-grade essential oils to flavor to your taste. Allow your paste to cool and set.

Dr. Malmstrom: The baking soda in this tip may have some impact on whitening your teeth but there are no studies showing if coconut oil works as a tooth whitener. If you’re going to do tooth whitening at home, you’re better off using an over-the-counter product rather than a DIY technique.

Pinterest Tip: Mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Use a Q-tip or cotton ball and gently swab teeth. After 30 seconds, rinse and brush teeth.

Dr. Malmstrom: Lemon juice is acidic, and even whitening gels are not good if they’re acidic because you can remove the superficial layer of the tooth structure. Most whitening gels are all neutral with a PH of 7 because you want to minimize the acidic effect on your teeth so it doesn’t impact the enamel layer. While this method may have a positive effect because of the baking soda, it’s not recommended to use an acidic on the tooth first as it may erode some of the enamel. This is similar to the effect cola or sports drinks have on teeth because they are also highly acidic.

Other Tooth Whitening Advice

  • Before you do any bleaching, even with over-the-counter products, you should have your teeth checked by your dentist for any tooth problems, such as cavities or cracks, which could cause the pulp to become irritated during whitening.
  • Whitening toothpaste is not very effective for whitening. You have to use it for a long time to see even the slightest effect.
  • The best way to bleach your teeth is at home with a lower-concentration hydrogen peroxide gel, as recommended by your dentist and used in mouth guards custom made by your dentist. The level of whitening achieved in an hour and a half of bleaching done by a dentist at the office can take up to two weeks with home bleaching, but there are fewer side effects and you have the opportunity to continue whitening until you are satisfied with the shade. Later on if you wish to “touch up” your teeth with more whitening, you would only need to buy more whitening gel.

DIY Teeth Whitening: Too Good to Be True? (2)Hans Malmstrom, DDS, a professor of Dentistry at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, heads the General Dentistry clinic at Eastman Dental.

DIY Teeth Whitening: Too Good to Be True? (2024)


Do DIY teeth whitening work? ›

Whitening toothpaste is not very effective for whitening. You have to use it for a long time to see even the slightest effect. The best way to bleach your teeth is at home with a lower-concentration hydrogen peroxide gel, as recommended by your dentist and used in mouth guards custom made by your dentist.

Do lemon and baking soda whiten teeth? ›

Baking soda is abrasive and lemon juice is acidic. Together they form a destructive duo that corrodes tooth enamel. This will undoubtedly remove surface stains, but it will also damage the protective layer of your teeth in the process. Enamel is there to defend your teeth and once it's gone, it's gone forever.

How to get crystal white teeth at home? ›

Seven Ways to Naturally Whiten Teeth
  1. Eat Strawberries. One of the simplest ways to naturally whiten your teeth is just by eating strawberries. ...
  2. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables. ...
  3. Brush After You Eat or Drink. ...
  4. Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. ...
  5. Apply Coconut Oil. ...
  6. Brush Your Tongue. ...
  7. Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide.

Can I brush my teeth with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda? ›

The process of using baking soda to whiten teeth is rather simple. You simply make a paste out of a teaspoon of baking soda and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, and then gently brush your teeth as you would with traditional toothpaste. When you are done, rinse your mouth with water.

Does swishing hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth? ›

When used carefully, it can be an effective way to whiten your teeth. But if used incorrectly — in concentrations that are too high or if used too often — it can cause serious and sometimes expensive tooth damage. If you choose to whiten your teeth with hydrogen peroxide, do so cautiously.

What whitens teeth the fastest at home? ›

The two main ingredients used in home teeth whitening kits are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, Dr. Cho says. “These are the most effective whitening ingredients,” she adds. The higher the percentage of these ingredients, the more whitening they will achieve, Mehta says.

How long does 3 hydrogen peroxide take to whiten teeth? ›

Generally at this concentration you would need to have your teeth in contact with the 3% hydrogen peroxide for about 5 hours a day for about 2-3 weeks to have meaningful tooth whitening, which is very difficult to do with a watery liquid.

Does apple cider vinegar whiten teeth? ›

Due to it's high acidity, ACV is not recommended for teeth whitening. If you use it, it is best to dilute it and ensure you are rinsing your teeth afterward. There are better alternatives for teeth whitening, including the use of teeth whitening strips, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda.

How to make your teeth white in 2 minutes? ›

Baking-powder eliminates stains on the surface of your teeth and lemon juice as we already said has multiple components that lighten teeth. Just mix a teaspoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and brush your teeth with the paste this mixture will work wonders in just two minutes.

How can I make my teeth super white in 5 minutes? ›


Take some teaspoons of baking soda in a small plate. Now squeeze some fresh lemon juice into it. Keep adding the lemon juice until you have a fine paste. Now wipe your mouth to get rid of the extra saliva from your teeth.

How can I make my teeth 100% white? ›

Intrinsic whitening: Intrinsic whitening is a process that uses a bleaching agent (carbamide peroxide) to change the color of the enamel of your teeth.
  1. Use whitening toothpaste. ...
  2. Switch to an electric toothbrush. ...
  3. Get a professional tooth whitening treatment. ...
  4. Get a custom whitening gel tray. ...
  5. Apply whitening strips.
Feb 17, 2023

What is the cheapest way to whiten your teeth? ›

Over-the-counter options, like whitening toothpastes, strips, and kits, tend to be the cheapest options. If you feel self-conscious about the brightness of your smile, you are far from alone.

Is it better to whiten your teeth at the dentist or DIY? ›

Choosing a non-professional teeth whitening treatment can carry a higher risk of adverse effects, including damage to your teeth and gums, and even a worsening of your discoloration. By far, the safest and most effective option is to have your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist.

How long does DIY teeth whitening last? ›

If you opt for an at-home teeth whitening kit, you can generally expect your results to last for about four to six months with touch-ups as needed. However, if you choose to get your teeth professionally whitened at the dentist's office, your results could last up to a year or even longer with proper care.

Can yellow teeth become white again? ›

What Can Be Done to Whiten Yellow Teeth? If you're looking for a radical change in the coloring of your teeth, you need professional-grade whitening to get the job done. Your cosmetic dentist can provide treatment that penetrates deep into the enamel and removes years of stains with a powerful bleaching agent.

Do over-the-counter teeth whiteners really work? ›

Then, over-the-counter whitening agents can work effectively. But because it's not dentist-monitored, many of them don't do anything. For instance, a mouthwash containing a whitening agent such as hydrogen peroxide probably is not going to be very effective.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated:

Views: 6246

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.