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8 Good (And Not So Good) Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

8 Good (And Not So Good) Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

Dr. Michael Layton
September 22, 2014

There are many affordable options for busy people on the go. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Let’s face it society is shallow we are all judged by how we look. Looking at an attractive person with yellow or decaying teeth overshadows their beauty.

But of course, as with anything, you get what you pay for. Getting professional treatments gets the job done right. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to try more natural options. Again, full disclosure - you’ll get better results with a teeth whitening procedure by a dental professional.

Food and beverages to avoid to get that white smile

Soft Drinks high sugar content increases acidity
Energy Drinks high sugar content increases acidity
Gum adheres to teeth
fruit drinks contains high fructose corn syrup
starch foods (corn syrup) raises acidity levels and increases bacteria
candy artificial sweeteners and erodes enamel
coffee, lattes, espresso stains enamel
cereal contains both refined sugars and starch


White teeth are a good sign of health and wellness. The way we look determines our self worth. Having a great smile is an important part of how we perceive ourselves. Teeth whitening or bleaching procedures can last up to 6 months depending on the patient.

2 Types of Tooth Discoloration

Extrinsic staining is the visible discoloration you see after drinking coffee, tea or other dark liquids. Extrinsic staining can be repaired by teeth bleaching and regular dental cleaning.

Intrinsic stains are formed in the interior of the teeth, resulting from trauma, aging and the excessive ingestion of fluoride.

Cosmetic dentists are now able to remove intrinsic stains through a number of modern methods. Here are 8 good or not good ways to whiten your teeth:

  1. Whitening Strips 

    Home whitening strips are convenient and easy to use. Whitening strips are made from polyethylene. Whitening strips coated with hydrogen or carbamide peroxide are made to adhere to the surface of your teeth. The active ingredient is the peroxide that oxidizes when it comes into contact with the saliva in your mouth. Oxidation is the interaction between oxygen molecules and the substances they come in  contact with. Whitening strips are an inexpensive option for creating that flawless smile, prices range from $25 to $50 at your local drug store.

  2. Paint on Whiteners

    This is another at home method that is easily applied. The teeth whitener is applied directly to the teeth using a brush. The paint on teeth whitener gel is made of a peroxide base.  The whitener stays on the teeth for a duration of 20 to 30 minutes before it dissolves or you wash it off. Colgate Palmolive debuted their Paint on teeth whitener in 2002 with their over the counter Colgate Simply White product.

  3. Dental Dispensed Teeth Whitening Trays 

    For best results a dental physician can custom fit you with an application tray made of a flexible plastic material. Whitening trays work so well because the gel stays in contact with the teeth during the bleaching process. Bleaching compounds in dental trays are preloaded with dental gel or can be applied with a syringe. Dental trays prevent the saliva in your mouth from diluting the dental gel solution. A word of caution whitening trays and dental gels should only be used periodically after consulting with your dentist. The higher priced dental whitening trays provide accelerated results in a shorter period of time. Whitening trays can be worn overnight or twice a day depending on your at home program. Whitening gel ingredients contain glycerin, carbamide peroxide, aqua, potassium nitrate, carbomer, mentha piperita, peppermint oil, sodium hydroxide and disodium EDTA. Whitening trays should only be used in the care of a dental physician. Custom trays typically cost between $300-$500.

  4. Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide

    This inexpensive method works great but must be used with caution (always use gloves). Food grade hydrogen peroxide should always be used diluted with distilled or mineral spring water. The most effective way to use 35 percent H202 is to dilute it with distilled or unadulterated spring water using the chart recommendations below. Using 35 percent H202 as a mouthwash for 30 to 60 seconds at a time in the morning and at night can yield results in as short as two weeks. Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide should NEVER be ingested as it can cause extreme stomach irritation.  Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient found in whitening strips, paint on whiteners and dental dispensed teeth whitening trays.Diluting 35% H202 w/Distilled Water To Get 3% H202

    This amount of water Add this amount of water To make this amount of 3% H202
    1 part 11 parts 12 parts
    1 ¼ tablespoons ¾ cups and 2 and ¾ tablespoons 1 cup (16 tablespoons)
  5. Baking Soda

    For those of you on a budget brushing with ARM & HAMMER baking soda and a little water in the morning is a great way to whiten your teeth. Before the advent of toothpaste baking soda was previously used as a natural and affordable way to clean teeth. Natural baking soda naturally alkalizes the oral cavity and neutralizes acidity caused by acidic food and drink. One thing to note is that baking soda does well for extrinsic stains but not so well for intrinsic stains. So keep that in mind.

  6. Oil Pulling

    This ancient Ayurvedic practice has existed for thousands of years. Oil pulling is a therapeutic dental and oral care regime that can be practiced on a daily basis. For best results essential oils like peppermint, wintergreen, sesame, sunflower and safflower oil can all be used for their antiseptic, astringent and anodyne properties. Another name for oil pulling is (Mouth Swishing). The practice of oil pulling is the elimination of heavy toxins from your body through the mouth. Mouth swishing organic oil products can be purchased from online retailers like Dhealthstore. The recommended duration for performing Mouth Swishing is pouring 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil into your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes daily. Oil should never be ingested spit out after each use. A dark colour in the saliva is an indication that you still have toxins in your body. The more transparent your saliva the less toxins are present in your body. After you complete your mouth swishing regimen brush your teeth.

  7. Alkaline Water Ionizer

    Alkaline water is the fountain of youth and wellness. Drinking water with a pH level of 9 to 11 can whiten your teeth naturally. Studies by watchdog groups like FLUORIDEALERT have stated that the mass fluoridation of municipal water supplies is detrimental to dental health. Alkaline water machines have a reverse osmosis system that negates the effects of chlorine and fluoride on the human body. Water ionizers work by increasing the alkalinity pH levels in the human body and negating the effects of acidity and fluoride in the human mouth.

  8. Permanent Whitening

    One of the procedures we do involves bonding a no-prep white, opaque, ultra-thin veneer onto your tooth. Get that done and you won’t have to worry about the colour of that tooth ever again. Why? Because it’ll be permanently white.


Depending on your budget brightening your smile can be accomplished easily - but remember that you get what you pay for. Beginners can implement at home remedies but as I mentioned at the beginning, I would consult with a dental practitioner before undergoing any kind of teeth whitening program.

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