Teeth Whitening: DIY Home Remedies Vs Professional Whitening 

Everybody wants a nice healthy white smile, but that once beautiful white smile begins to fade as we begin to introduce things into our diet that cause staining and discoloration. Coffee and red wine are the main things we think of, when talking about the causes of a less white smile, but did you know that the things you eat in your diet can also cause a less desirable smile? Acidic foods, tea, dark berries and yes even WHITE wine can cause our once beautiful white smiles to be, well, not so white. Who knew?? So now, what do you do? Not only does our diet effect the color of our teeth, but also things like certain medications you are prescribed, the way you brush (not enough or way too hard) and yes, the detail none of us want to talk about….. you’re just getting older. Now, we know we have to take the meds we are prescribed, we can improve our brushing habits,  we need coffee in the mornings to function, and no one wants to remove wine from our fun social gatherings…. so we begin to explore how we can get that white smile again. Do we get it professionally done, or do we do it at home with the help of Pinterest?


If you begin to explore the avenue of doing it yourself with home remedies, you will find many options that people say will work. Things like, over the counter whitening strips, whitening toothpastes, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, baking soda and yes even charcoal! Lets look at some of these options and what they will do.

1. Whitening strips– buying over the counter whitening strips has been marketed very well, and seems like a great easy way to whiten your teeth at home. These strips contain bleaching products in them such as carbomide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. When using these products be prepared for the side effects that might come along. Some of the main side effects are, tooth sensitivity, because these bleaching products go straight through the tooth enamel to whiten from the inside out and  mouth sores, this can happen when the bleach on the strips comes in contact with the gums. Most dentists would recommend using custom made trays that fit your teeth. This keeps the bleaching product on your teeth and helps reduce it touching your gums. It also helps reach all the curves of your teeth that a generic strip will not be able to reach.

2. Whitening toothpaste– these toothpastes are a gimmick that the industry has banked on. They have little to no effect on your teeth for getting them to the desired color one would want to achieve, yet they market the product as a great way to whiten. Some of the toothpastes might have the right ingredients/chemicals to whiten teeth, but your teeth are not exposed to this ingredient long enough for it to actually do anything! These whitening chemicals need to be in contact with your teeth for a minimum of 20 minutes up to a few hours, to get the desired effect of a color change. Don’t be fooled by the cheap price tag of these toothpastes that claim to have the same results as professional whitening.  According to the ADA, these toothpastes only remove surface stains and can be very abrasive. Most dentists will not recommend these toothpastes because they can also remove enamel since they are designed to “be harsher” on your tooth structure.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda– Many dentist will advice against using these products to whiten your smile. When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with the tissue in your mouth it causes a radical reaction that will age the living tissue. If you choose to use baking soda it will kill not only kill the bad bacteria in your mouth….. but also the GOOD bacteria in your mouth

4. Lemon Juice – The way this works is the acid begins to eat away at the teeth enamel, ultimately you can do Permanent damage to your teeth if this the way route you choose.

5. Activated Charcoal – Now, lets get this straight, this is not the charcoal you are familiar with using at your family BBQ.  Activated charcoal absorbs toxins and is typically used in the ER for patients who have overdosed on medications. The problem with brushing your teeth with this ingredient is how abrasive it is. This powder is very harsh and will permanently damage your enamel. It can also turn your gums permanently black when it comes in contact with them. Think about it, if you brush your teeth enough with this, it will begin to build up onto your gums, and instead of a nice white smile, you will end up tattooing your gums black. EEk!


So, now that you have begun to understand the risks vs benefits of home remedies, having your teeth professionally whitened might begin to sound a little better. If this is the avenue you choose to go down. the first thing you should do is consult with your dentist. Not everyone is a good candidate for teeth whitening. If you are someone who has veneers or crowns, unfortunately those porcelain products do not whiten. You can however, have your dentist replace those veneers or crowns to a shade you desire. This is why a consult is the first step. The dentist and his assistant will do an exam and determine if you are a good candidate for professional whitening.

Rosewood Dental’s Whitening Process

1. Consult– as stated above, your initial appointment will be a consult to ensure your are the right canidate for this procedure.

2. In House Treatment– If you are a good candidate for professional whitening we will schedule you for a one hour, in office whitening. At this appointment you will have the whitening done with a dental assistant monitoring the process. We will also make custom molds/trays of your upper and lower teeth for you to take home, along with some take home gel.

3. Home Treatment- You will be educated by the assistant on how to use your take home trays and gels to achieve the desired results.

4. Recheck– You will come back to the office after a few weeks for a whitening recheck to make sure you have begun to get the whitening results you wanted.

If you think this is something you would want to do, Please call our office to get scheduled! 269-349-7393

Rosewood Dental, PLC