Teeth Whitening at Home


Authored by Nickie Fleming in Dentistry 
Published on 03-01-2009

For centuries, people (especially women) have tried to whiten their teeth. Our beauty ideals always portray men and women with perfect white teeth, so now everybody wants them – and they start making their own recipes. What do you think of the following?

  • Take water, baking soda and strawberries. Put 4 strawberries, ¼ cup of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda and blend them together in a mixer until you get some sort of paste. Brush your teeth with this paste, along with your regular toothpaste. Warning: this might taste horrible, but it works (?)
  • Another idea: brush your teeth twice a day with hydrogen peroxide before your usual brushing with toothpaste. Your teeth will become a whole lot whiter and the brown stains from smoking will disappear.
  • Chewing on raw spinach is also supposed to whiten the teeth.
  • Bicarbonate of soda (different from baking soda) helps to remove calculate, and is useful together with dental floss and regular toothpaste. Apply every 15 days, and you’ll have white teeth.
  • Gly-oxide, which can be bought at the local drugstore, works also well and is not so harsh as the modern cleaning kits (and a lot cheaper).
  • Wood ash whitens your teeth because it contains potassium hydroxide (aka lye) Only hard wood contains enough concentrations of potassium; soft wood does not. But use caution when using hard wood as a tooth whitening agent. The harshness of the potassium can significantly damage your time over time. Before lye was commercially available, soap was made by leeching the potassium hydroxide from hard wood ash and then combining it with tallow (rendered animal fat).
  • Some people also use lemon juice for whitening.
  • And a final tip: each time after brushing your teeth, just gargle with a small cupful of hydrogen peroxide (don’t swallow!) and rinse thoroughly with lots of water. You should see result in about a week!

However, dentists will warn you against some of these home-made remedies. They definitely won’t recommend lemon juice. It contains acid and can harm your teeth. The user may end up with a lot of bad cavities and irreparably damaged tooth enamel.

The reason that lemon juice ‘works’ is that it causes the teeth to lose calcium (which gives teeth some of their off-white color). Calcium, though, is a major component of healthy teeth and once it is lost, your teeth will decay a lot faster.

If you like to brush your teeth with strawberries, be sure to use some fluoride toothpaste immediately afterwards! Also floss adequately. The sugar and acid in the strawberries will harm your teeth more than it will help. Besides, the seeds in the strawberries could cause damage to the gum.

The best home methods are baking soda or hydrogen peroxide and you best stick to those two. Also remember that whitening methods are not a substitute for brushing with normal toothpaste – you must brush with fluoride toothpaste after any whitening method, to prevent tooth decay.


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