How to Whiten Your Teeth: The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to teeth whitening, which products or processes work best? Should you try DIY ideas at home or use in-office teeth whitening services like those at This article covers the most popular DIY whitening methods and getting your teeth whitened professionally at the dentist. The goal is to give you an honest review and help you make the best decision.

Prevention is the Best Policy

Regular Brushing and Whitening Toothpaste

According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes. This alone can keep your teeth looking whiter and looking their best.

You can find whitening toothpaste from trusted brands like Crest, Colgate, Arm & Hammer, and Tom’s. Insider Reviews recommends Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste and Tom’s, Simply White Clean Mint as the best natural toothpaste.

Regular Dental Cleanings

Regular cleanings are often overlooked when it comes to having a bright, white smile. Regular maintenance of your teeth continuously improves the appearance of your teeth. Remember to see your dentist twice a year and get regular cleanings. The cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup and keep your smile looking fresh, at least temporarily. 

Avoid Staining Your Teeth

It’s always best if you can avoid staining your teeth. To do this, stop or at least limit drinking coffee, tea, and red wine. These drinks can quickly stain your teeth. Also, avoid sweets. Sugary foods erode the enamel and dull your smile. Tobacco may be the culprit that stains your teeth the quickest. 

Do It Yourself Whitening

If your teeth are stained and dull, here are some simple DIY methods to help brighten your smile. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that gently works to whiten your teeth and is in many kinds of toothpaste. If you want to try straight baking soda to brighten your smile, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water. Do this a few times per week to get the best results.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide has been used for generations to brighten teeth. To try this, follow these steps.

 Use equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and water. For example, 1/4 cup peroxide to 1/4 cup water.


Swish the mixture in your mouth for approximately one minute.

Some people worry that using hydrogen peroxide may damage the enamel on their teeth. According to PubMed’s research, it does not adversely affect enamel.  

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is acidic naturally, so it helps remove plaque and substances that may be stuck to your teeth. To try this, fill a cup with two parts warm water and one part apple cider vinegar. Swish in your mouth for one minute to naturally whiten your teeth. To prevent damaging your tooth enamel, don’t swish with straight vinegar. 

Coconut Oil Pulling

Swishing coconut oil around your mouth can help remove bacteria and plaque, leading to yellow teeth. Coconut oil is an excellent choice because it has a pleasant taste and many health benefits, including lauric acid, which helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. 

Eat Foods that Whiten Your Teeth

The food we eat impacts our teeth and gums in various ways, but we often overlook the effects of the foods we eat on the health of our smile. Here’s a list of the best foods to eat that keep your teeth looking bright and white.

Strawberries – The malic acid in strawberries removes stains and helps make your smile whiter. Brushing your teeth will help you remove stain-producing particles from your mouth. 

Broccoli and celery – when eating these veggies raw, they can scour surface stains from your teeth.

Pineapple – Bromelain is a natural enzyme in pineapple that helps keep your teeth healthy and remove plaque, acting as a natural stain remover.  

Try Whitening Strips and Trays 

Whitening strips and trays are the most popular way to whiten teeth, and these products are easy to find at your local pharmacy. The best-known strips and trays are made by Crest and Colgate and take 14-20 days of daily use to whiten your teeth. 

Both the trays and strips contain a hydrogen peroxide solution. The strips are thin, plastic sheets that you fit on your teeth. The trays are much like the trays dentists use to take impressions. You fill the trays with the peroxide gel and fit them on your teeth. 

You wear the strips or the trays anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes every day for a couple of weeks. 

Whitening Mouthwashes

Whitening mouthwashes can work, but the results are subtle. To whiten teeth, you need to use mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide. It will take up to 3 months to see any results from your whitening mouthwash.

The mouthwashes considered best by customers and dentists are Colgate Optic White and Act Anti-cavity + Whitening Rinse. 

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

In-office bleaching at a dentist’s office is the most dramatic way to whiten. Whitening your teeth up to 6 shades in 40 minutes is the fastest and easiest way to get a bright, white smile.

There are standard steps to performing an in-office whitening procedure, including cleaning your teeth and applying the gel made of 15 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. The gel is usually only applied to your front teeth because those are the teeth that show when talking or smiling. Sometimes the dentist will also use a high-powered light to speed up the whitening process.  

Professional At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

At-home whitening can take about an hour a day for a month, but the results are excellent. These are only available at your dentist’s office. A dental impression will be made so the dentist can create custom-fit trays for your mouth and provide the whitening gel. The dentist will show you how to properly use the kit and instruct you to use it an hour a day for one to two weeks. 

Choose What Works Best for You

Now you have many choices to whiten your teeth and get that bright, white smile you’ve always wanted. Whether you choose one of the DIY methods or professional whitening services your dentist provides, you can improve your smile and feel more confident. Decide today and get started improving your smile.

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