Updated on February 22, 2024
7 min read

DIY Teeth Whitening: How to Whiten Your Teeth at Home

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DIY teeth whitening methods allow you to brighten your teeth at home. They include natural remedies and teeth whitening products you can purchase over the counter.

DIY teeth whitening can be safe and effective, depending on the product or homemade solution you use. However, some methods come with risks, so you should avoid them. 

While some DIY whitening solutions are safe and effective, not all are. Some tips may even have negative consequences. Discuss any tooth whitening method, professional or DIY, with your dentist.

Are At-Home Whitening Products Safe?

Many whitening kits come with a bleaching gel and mouth guard that you put over your teeth. You apply a bleaching gel to your tooth’s surface to break down stains. The mouth guard helps keep the gel in place and prevents it from spilling onto your gums.

Whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic containing a layer of the whitening agent. Simply apply them to the surface of your teeth, leave them on for a few minutes, and then remove them.

Whitening gels are clear and peroxide-based. They’re applied directly to your enamel with a small brush. Instructions differ depending on the strength of the peroxide.

Safe and Effective At-Home Whitening Products

For your safety, using at-home products for teeth whitening is best. These products may come in the form of whitening kits or whitening strips.

Here at NewMouth, we recommend purchasing pre-made products online or from your local drugstore. 

How we vet brands and products at NewMouth

We only feature brands and products that we personally like. We study and evaluate them before deciding which ones we’ll recommend.

Our team of experts tries to make sure they’re safe and effective by:

  • Researching the ingredients and/or materials they use
  • Fact-checking any health claims they make with the latest studies
  • Assessing how a brand lives up to industry standards

At NewMouth, we employ the best practices to help you find brands and products you can trust with your dental health.

Everything We Recommend

Best Overall (Editor’s Pick): Snow At-Home Teeth Whitening All-in-One Kit

Best for Sensitive Teeth: hismile VIO405™ Teeth Whitening Kit

Fastest Results: Glo Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device

Best on a Budget: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit

Best Whitening Strips: Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White

Snow Teeth Whitening

Best Overall
Snow Whitening 1

Snow All-In-One Teeth Whitening Kit is the #1 bestseller. It offers fast whitening results guaranteed with 99.3 percent ratings across 500,000+ customers.

The well-packaged and easy-to-use system delivers a professional-level whitening experience at an affordable price. The serum is enamel-safe for those with sensitive teeth and gums.

Black Friday Sale: Save up to 60% storewide.

hismile VIO405™ Teeth Whitening Kit

Best for Sensitive Teeth
Hismile kit 1

hismile’s teeth whitening kit is a peroxide-free alternative. It uses three powerful, enamel-safe ingredients to provide instant results without any sensitivity:

  1. Hydroxyapatite (nHAp) rebuilds the protective layer of teeth and replaces lost minerals.
  2. Phthalimidoperoxycaproicacid (PAP) is clinically proven to whiten teeth without sensitivity or gum irritation.
  3. Potassium citrate helps relieve pre-existing sensitivity and provides long-term protection.

Black Friday Sale: Up to 60% off everything

GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device Kit

Fastest Results
GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device Kit

GLO Brilliant uses LED lights and heat to give you faster results. This kit is for people who want white teeth quickly. Applications only take 8 minutes. They suggest completing four back-to-back applications daily for five days or until you’re pleased with the results. 

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit

Best on a Budget
Auraglow

AuraGlow is another popular at-home whitening system that uses an advanced, 35% carbamide peroxide whitening solution. It also includes an LED light to help speed up the process. 

There are approximately 20 treatments included. The brand recommends using the kit daily for 30 minutes daily for 7 to 14 days to remove discoloration and see optimal results. Their website says that results usually last around 1 to 3 months, until you have to repeat the process again.

Black Friday Sale: Use code BFCM25 for 25% off sitewide 

Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White

Best Whitening Strips
Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White

The Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White contains 16 full whitening treatments. This includes 14 regular whitening treatments (one upper and one lower strip) and two one-hour express treatments. The one-hour express strips reveal same-day results for a visibly whiter smile.

Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which means they are safe and effective when used correctly.

Before using any over-the-counter (OTC) products, we recommend getting your teeth examined by your dentist for any issues like cavities or cracks. These problems can cause the pulp to become irritated during whitening.

4 Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies

If you do a quick internet search, you’ll find many natural remedies claiming to whiten your teeth. However, not all of these are safe or effective.

Using an over-the-counter whitening kit is usually safer than a DIY natural technique. If you prefer natural, homemade teeth whiteners, here are a few that are safe to try:

1. Baking Soda 

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is safe for limited use on teeth, and it may naturally whiten your teeth over time. Add it to your toothpaste or make a baking soda and water paste. 

2. Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

Eating crunchy raw fruits and veggies may clear away some plaque on your teeth. However, it’s no substitute for diligent oral hygiene.

3. Limiting Dark Foods and Drinks 

You can slow the yellowing process by avoiding dark food and drinks, like red wine, coffee, and soda. Drinking them through a straw minimizes contact with your teeth, which decreases the risk of staining. 

4. Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques

Proper brushing and flossing are essential in helping prevent tooth stains. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice daily. Additionally, you should floss at least once daily.

Risks of DIY Teeth Whitening

It’s essential you know the risks of any DIY teeth whitening method. 

Some of the negative consequences of an unsafe DIY teeth whitening method include:

  • Weakening or erosion of tooth enamel
  • Uneven tooth color
  • Gum irritation
  • Allergic reaction
  • Tooth sensitivity

Always talk to your dentist before using any natural or OTC teeth whitening technique. 

Unsafe and Ineffective Teeth Whitening Methods

Although these teeth whitening methods are popular, don’t try them out because they can cause more harm than good:

  • Charcoal whitening products — Studies show charcoal has no greater whitening effect than fluoridated toothpaste.4 It’s abrasive and can erode enamel, leading to yellower teeth. 
  • Hydrogen peroxide Some peroxide treatments can cause tooth sensitivity, erosion, and gum irritation. This risk increases if you use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth.
  • Lemon juice — Acidic fruits like lemons can lead to dental issues like enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity.
  • Apple cider vinegar Vinegar contains acid, weakening the enamel and leading to tooth decay. Do not apply any type of vinegar to your teeth.
  • Oil pulling Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic method that involves swishing oil around the mouth. While the treatment can improve bad breath, it’s not proven to remove tooth stains. 

What Makes Teeth Look Yellow?

Your teeth naturally grow yellower over time due to several reasons:

  • Dark foods and beverages — Consuming dark foods and drinks over a long period can stain your teeth.1
  • Smoking — Smoking cigarettes can lead to tooth discoloration.2 Tobacco products have nicotine and tar that can cause persistent yellow staining.
  • Plaque buildup — Plaque and tartar can appear yellow as they accumulate.
  • Enamel erosion — When enamel wears away, it reveals the dentin underneath. Dentin is naturally more yellow than enamel. 
  • Medications Certain medications can make your teeth yellow as a side effect.

If your tooth discoloration has no negative underlying cause, having yellow teeth isn’t dangerous. Nevertheless, many people with yellow teeth want to improve the appearance of their smile.

Why Trust Us?

As a top-rated website for dental health, we’re committed to providing unbiased recommendations for our readers. Our team aims to help our readers make informed decisions regarding their oral health.

For this article, we did the following to guarantee a quality list for at-home teeth whitening:

  • Spent a month researching various whitening products
  • Talked to five industry experts to ask for their opinion and recommendations regarding at-home teeth whitening
  • Scoured the internet for reliable sources such as dental health forums and reviews
  • Reviewed customer reviews and feedback to gauge the product’s effectiveness

Summary

DIY teeth whitening can be safe and effective. Choose over-the-counter whitening kits and natural, at-home remedies like a baking soda and water paste.

Be aware of the risks that come with DIY teeth whitening methods. Some aren’t proven to be safe or effective and may cause enamel erosion, tooth decay, and gum irritation. Always talk to your dentist before starting a new teeth whitening regimen. 

Last updated on February 22, 2024
8 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 22, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Zhao, X., et al. “Effects of different discoloration challenges and whitening treatments on dental hard tissues and composite resin restorations.” Journal of Dentistry, National Library of Medicine, 2019.
  2. Alkhatib, M., et al. “Smoking and tooth discolouration: findings from a national cross-sectional study.” BMC Public Health, National Library of Medicine, 2005.
  3. Whitening Survey, 2012.” American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 2012.
  4. Vural, U., et al. “Effects of charcoal-based whitening toothpastes on human enamel in terms of color, surface roughness, and microhardness: an in vitro study.” Clinical Oral Investigations, National Library of Medicine, 2021.
  5. Epple, M., et al. “A Critical Review of Modern Concepts for Teeth Whitening.” Dentistry Journal, National Library of Medicine, 2019.
  6. Carey, C. “Tooth whitening: what we now know.” The Journal of Evidence-based Dental Practice, National Library of Medicine, 2015.
  7. Malmstrom, H. “DIY Teeth Whitening: Too Good to Be True?” University of Rochester Medical Center, 2016.
  8. Fiorillo, L., et al. “Dental Whitening Gels: Strengths and Weaknesses of an Increasingly Used Method.” Gels, National Library of Medicine, 2019.
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