Chemmie Squier | Acting Fashion & Beauty Editor | Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Teeth whitening at home

Budget Teeth Whitening You Can Do At Home

The Debrief: Pearly whites will be yours!

I like coffee and fizzy drinks and red wine. Actually, I don’t like red wine but for that split second when you believed I did, I felt like a grown-up. Anyway, it’s to my detriment because if I had it my way, my teeth would be whiter (and reemer) than Joey Essex’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not walking around with gnashers resembling Pennsatuky (circa OITNB season one), but they could be better. Proper, laser whitening is totally out of my reach right now but it turns out there are actually some cheap ways to get your pearly whites on. But first, a disclaimer: contact your dentist for advice but trying out any of the below and if you have any trouble (irritation, swelling, etc) stop doing it! 

Tooth whitening at home with coconut oil (coconut pulling)

My Instagram feed is clogged with celebrities promoting coconut whitening products in fancy tubes (MIC cast, I’m looking at you), but actually all you need is a normal tub of it to get the whitening effects. Coconut pulling has become a big trend when it comes to DIY teeth whitening and it involves swilling approximately a teaspoon of coconut oil, or however much you can handle (it’ll turn liquid when it’s in your mouth, if it’s not already) around your mouth for 20 minutes. Don’t get too over excited and put too much in because the amount does grow over time. Coconut pulling works by the bacteria in the mouth getting ‘stuck’ in it and it then being removed from your mouth once you spit it out (into the bin, not the sink). Overtime, lots of people have said it whitens teeth. A few other cushty by products are that it helps with overall mouth health, helps with bad breath and is said to draw out toxins from the salivary glands. Legend has it that it can help a hangover too. You can pick up a 500ml tub of it for £2.25 from Tesco.

Tooth whitening at home with activated charcoal 

It seems totally counterproductive to brush your teeth with something black to whiten them, but stick with me. Activated Charcoal is naturally adhesive so it works at removing stains caused by tea, coffee, red wine, etc. To try it out for yourself, first get some charcoal like these Nature's Way Activated Charcoal Capsules, £4.34, then empty the powder out and put some on a damp toothbrush (not your normal one, get a new one for this) and get brushing. Most people recommend doing it for five minutes until spitting/rinsing it out. Follow it up by brushing with your normal toothbruh. Oh, and make sure you use activated charcoal because it’s specifically designed for use in medicine, although be aware that as with most things, there are possible side effects. That means chomping on your burnt candle wicks in the hope of pearly whites is a no go. It won’t and it might make you ill. 

Tooth whitening at home with bicarbonate of soda

This one’s handy because you’ve probably got some of this hanging around in your kitchen cupboard. Bicarb can help whiten teeth because the chemical compound that means it is a mild abrasive that is effective at getting rid of teeth stains. There’s a couple of ways you can use it. First, by mixing some in with your normal toothpaste and brushing as normal. Or using it by itself and mixing it with water to create a paste which you can brush your teeth with. Make sure you still brush them with your normal (fluoride containing) toothpaste though, because it’s not a replacement for that. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use baking powder daily and overusing this method could lead to your tooth enamel becoming eroded over time and causing tooth sensitivity, which you don’t want.

Tooth whitening at home with hydrogen peroxide

This sounds super scary, but hydrogen peroxide is literally just made from water and oxygen and it’s regularly used as an antibacterial solution to clean cuts, grazes and as mouth wash. It’s also a mild bleaching agent that features in most teeth whitening products so buying a bottle of it, basically cuts out the middle man. Make sure when you buy it, you get the 3% solution (or less), like the Care Hydrogen Peroxide 10Vol, £2.74  - anything higher could be harmful. There’s two ways you can use it - like a mouth wash by swilling two tablespoons of it around your mouth before brushing (if it’s too strong, try diluting with water beforehand), or mixing it with bicarb to form a paste, applying it to the teeth and letting it sit for a couple of minute before rinsing it off. 

Tooth whitening at home with banana peel

Hm, something about this makes me want to yell ‘BULLSHIT’ because it seems absolutely too good to be true and well, distinctly like BS. Apparently rubbing the inside of a banana skin onto your teeth for two minutes can whiten teeth because of all the minerals in it. IDK. Try it and let me know.

Tooth whitening at home with acidic fruits

Strawberries, limes and lemons contain acid and lots of people attribute them to whitening teeth by mixing the juice/pulp it with bicarb and brushing teeth, or just using it alone. I’m not sure about this one, though. Sure, it looks as though it does help whiten teeth but the side effects can include loss of calcium and enamel erosion.  

Tooth whitening at home with whitening toothpaste

This is the obvious one, but some people report damn good results after using a whitening toothpaste so it's worth a shot, especially as they're usually really affordable. Try something like the The Pearl Drops Everyday White Toothpaste, £1.99 or the BlanX Non-Abrasive Stain Removal Toothpaste, £6.30.

Groupon tooth whitening deals 

Technically this is a budget way of whitening your teeth because Groupon always have multiple teeth whitening deals going on around the country so it’s worth checking it out if you’re willing to pay a bit more than the price of a Fair Trade banana. Also, make sure the service you're buying will be carried out by a professional dentist. The General Dental Council have more information on teeth whitening here. 

Cut Down On Coffee/Red Wine/Fizzy Drinks And Don't Smoke

Okay so this won't actually whiten your teeth as such, but it's damage control, alright?

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