At-Home Teeth Whitening Options

Whitening your teeth at home is the best way to maintain a Hollywood smile. Stained teeth may easily ruin your beautiful smile and teeth stains can be very embarrassing and difficult to remove if not treated in time. Teeth discoloration may be caused by different factors but fortunately there are great products that you can use at home to whiten your teeth effectively.

Nowadays there are many products that are specially developed to maintain the whiteness of your teeth such as – toothpaste, pens, gums, strips and mouthwashes.

What causes tooth discoloration?
The natural aging process, some foods, bad habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking too much soft drinks, poor oral hygiene, even some medications can cause tooth discolorations and stains. Drinking too much coffee, tea, red wine, smoking can easily stain your teeth if you don’t take a proper care of them. Even some medications can also affect the color of your teeth (antibiotics for example).

Once you get 40 you may notice that your teeth become darker and darker but it’s something natural and normal – simply due to the aging process. As we age the outer layer of enamel on the teeth gets worn away, revealing the yellow color of dentin. Smoking and eating certain foods (strawberries, blackberries for example ) usually stain only the surface of the teeth but with aging the staining and the discoloration may be more visible.

Another very common cause of teeth staining is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t take a proper care of your teeth it may cause yellow and green stains on your teeth due to bacteria or the build-up of fungus. Brushing and flossing your teeth is essential in order to keep your teeth healthy and good-looking.

Fortunately teeth discoloration may be effectively treated with special bleaching techniques and products even at your own home for less than $50.


The whitening toothpastes are very effective in maintaining a bright smile. They remove stains on teeth and improve the overall appearance of your teeth and the best thing is that they don’t affect the natural color of your teeth.

Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by one or two shades, depending on the discoloration. Unlike gels used in the dentist’s office, they don’t contain bleach – just mild abrasive chemicals to remove surface stains. Some brands offer toothpastes with polishing agents and fluoride that protects your teeth against tooth decay and further stains. Toothpastes should be used twice a day for approximately two months to achieve best results. Don’t use toothpaste for more than two months, otherwise you may destroy tooth enamel.

At-home kits

Teeth whitening kits are relatively new products on the marker. These kits contain bleaching gel (peroxide gel) and mouth trays. The gel contains from 1 to 10 percent carbamide peroxide to bleach your teeth as well as sodium hydroxide and glycerin.

Using kit is similar than having your teeth whitened at the dentist’s office but fortunately it’s much less expensive. These kits usually don’t cost more than $50.

The trays included in the kit must be applied first on the upper teeth and then on the lower teeth. Other kits include also strips that you should apply on the surface of your teeth.

The gel should be first applied to the tray and then inserted into the mouth and over the teeth. The tray usually shouldn’t be left in place for more than 30 minutes, depending on the percentage of peroxide it contains. Once the tray is placed in your mouth the bleaching ingredients will penetrate porous tooth enamel and will whiten away any discolorations. The gel won’t change the tooth’s structure, it will just lighten the tooth enamel.

The results usually become apparent after the first treatments but the most noticeable effect will become evident after about 3-5 treatments. You should follow the instructions written on the box and pay special attention to the precautionary statements. Although most of the people that use kits to bleach their teeth don’t experience any discomfort during the treatments, some people may experience tooth sensitivity a few days after the bleaching, but it should disappear after a day or two. At-home kits usually require several times of application for best results.


Strips are a common type as they lighten teeth effectively and are easy to use and convenient.
Strips are also effective in maintaining a bright smile and healthy teeth. They effectively remove surface stains, but they also protect the enamel from build-up of everyday stains. Most of the strips are coated with a bleaching gel (peroxide-based gel) that lightens the teeth in one or two shades if used regularly. Like the toothpastes, the strips don’t change the tooth’s structure. The strips are easy to apply and can be used twice a day for gradual whitening.

Most of the strips shouldn’t be left on for more than 5/ 10 minutes, otherwise it may result in tooth sensitivity or gum discomfort. The result usually becomes apparent after the first days of usage and can last up for 2/ 3 months.


  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with whitening toothpaste to maintain your whitened teeth.
  • Unlike the teeth whitening procedures, performed by a dentist that may whiten your teeth up to 15 shades, at-home bleaching products may whiten your teeth from one to three shades, depending on the tooth’s discoloration.
  • If your teeth are too dark and you experience much discomfort during the treatments, consider porcelain veneers on specific discolored teeth.
  • Baking soda can be used to whiten teeth at home but be very careful – use only a small amount of baking soda and brush your teeth with it thoroughly twice a week.
  • Quit smoking in order to prevent future teeth discoloration.
  • It’s essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene to maximize the longevity of the whitening treatment.
  • Many dentists advice to use a straw when drinking soft drinks, coffee, tea as it may increase the chance of staining.
  • You may experience teeth sensitivity to hot or cold after the bleaching treatment but it will fade after a few days.
  • The whitening gels, strips, toothpastes work only on natural teeth.
  • Toothpastes remove only surface stains and don’t contain bleach that may change your tooth’s structure.
  • At-home whitening products contain a lower strength-bleaching agent from 1 to 10 percent carbamide peroxide.
  • People with gum diseases or teeth with worn enamel shouldn’t use at-home whitening products.
  • The most common side effects are increase in tooth sensitivity and mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • When selecting a whitener always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Avoid eating sweets and sugars to prevent teeth decay.
  • Remember: General mouth hygiene is a must.
  • Get regular dental cleanings to remove food and tobacco stains.
  • Always consult a dentist to see which method will be best for you.
  • Limit the intake on foods and drinks that can leave stains on your teeth.

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