DIY Teeth Whitening: Separating Fact from Fiction

Teeth Whitening DIY - Facts and Fictions

Everyone wants shiny, white teeth while saving money at the same time. So it’s not a big deal to whiten your own teeth at home, right?

One search online will yield hundreds of results for DIY teeth whitening. These articles recommend a range of strategies including the use of spices, oils, activated charcoal, fruit, and much more. However, there’s been no empirical evidence that bores out the efficacy and safety of these techniques. Let’s explore each to separate the fact from the fiction.

Activated Charcoal

Fiction – It’s often purported that scrubbing your teeth with ingredients such as baking soda or activated charcoal could help whiten your smile.

Fact – The Journal of the American Dental Association has come out as saying that no scientific evidence has shown the effectiveness or safety of using charcoal on your teeth. The Journal recommends that dental clinicians advise patients to remain cautions about products that don’t have proven claims of safety and efficacy.

Ironically, materials that are too abrasive might end up making teeth look more yellow. When using very abrasive and rough ingredients on your teeth, you could accidentally rub off some enamel. This part of the tooth actually helps give teeth the highly sought after whiteness. Dentin is the yellow tissue beneath the enamel.


Fiction – Some DIY whitening methods suggest the use of common ingredients found around the house like apple cider vinegar, lemons, or oranges mixed with baking soda. This paste is applied to the teeth and is claimed to make your smile brighter and whiter.

Fact – Everyone knows that fruits are a healthy food option. However, they’re very different when used on your teeth. The high acidity of common fruits may end up damaging your teeth if they’re exposed to these ingredients for an extended period of time. Baking soda is abrasive enough to scuff teeth as well. Together, the two can eat away at your enamel which can lead to cavities and sensitivity.

Oils and Spices

Fiction – Another at-home teeth whitening trend sees the use of oils or spices such as coconut oil or tumeric to add some white to your smile. Some mixtures include tumeric powder, coconut oil, and baking soda which is then placed on your teeth. It’s supposed to make your teeth brighter over time.

Fact – Similar to the other options above, this recommendation doesn’t hold any water scientifically. There’s no evidence that it’s an effective way to whiten teeth.

The Actual Best Whitening Methods

Now that we’ve covered some of the fiction surrounding DIY teeth whitening, let’s see what methods actually work. Some of the best ways to maintain a white smile include:

  • Brushing for around two minutes twice per day
  • Using toothpaste with whitening qualities that features a Seal of Acceptance from the ADA
  • Flossing regularly between your teeth
  • Reducing your intake of foods that leave stains like ketchup, red wine, tea, coffee, etc.
  • Refrain from using tobacco
  • See the dentists at Forestwood Dental for regular cleanings and checkups

Why Professional Whitening does the Job Better

There are many reasons to opt for professional whitening methods as opposed to the DIY suggestions which litter the internet. At Forestwood Dental, we customize a whitening tray that fits your teeth perfectly. This allows the solution to cover your smile like a glove. The concentration is typically stronger in this mixture and is only available through our office. There are also take-home options that give patients the freedom to use the aforementioned solution at home.