Added by Michal Matusiak on | Reviewed by Tomasz Lewandowski

Why are my teeth yellow?

With age and due to eating and drinking oral habits, despite brushing regularly, flossing, rinsing teeth with fluoride, comes the trouble with teeth discolouration. Teeth eventually fade into a yellow, dark yellow, brown and grey colour. Sometimes they are also affected by brown stains, marks, lines, plaque, resulting in teeth caries and more problematic dental diseases. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study from 2016 almost half of the global population (3.68 billion) suffers from oral diseases. A lot of people wonder ‘why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?’

woman covering her mouth

There are many factors that can make teeth yellow, some of them are age, drinking coffee or wine, chewing tobacco or bad oral hygiene

The unfortunate stains and discolouration can cause additional stress and stop us from being ourselves – with no confidence to smile. For this reason, check our ultimate guide to whitening those stains and teeth, encompassing all the natural, home DIY whitening kits and professional treatments at a dentist. You’ll find prices, instructions on how to DIY, suggested combination for enhanced effects, and more importantly, the success rate for each of the methods described. Let’s start with the most basic question:

What causes yellow teeth?

Paradoxically, the first place among teeth-staining substances doesn’t belong to sugar. Do you remember the coffees, teas, glasses of wine, soda you’ve had this month alone? Coffee, tea and wine are the most frequent reasons for dirty and stained teeth. This is because some of the foods and drinks like coffee and tea contain high amounts of controversial tannins – or else known as tannins, biomolecules present in many plant foods, which buildup on tooth’s enamel changing its colour.

Interestingly enough, a strong black tea has a more negative impact on your teeth than a strong coffee, so currently, it’s no. 1 culprit according to many sources. Eating also spicy foods, sauces, ketchup leaves stains and marks on your teeth, because of the acids contained in the food, which soften the enamel and change its colour. The same applies to energy drinks and carbonated drinks like sodas.

In fact, there are many spicy and sour foods, or drinks containing tannins, or the so-called chromogens – chemical compounds easily converted into pigment in a chemical reaction – which cause teeth darkening. Dark chocolate, walnuts, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries contain chromogens in particular. Some of these foods and drinks build up on your teeth and produce plaque which also changes the colour of your dentition.

The tooth-protective layer – enamel – also thins with time and use. Smoking or bad physical oral habits like biting, chewing, grinding your teeth too often may result in its quickened disappearance and thus dental problems.

Surprisingly, another cause for bad teeth condition and discolouring is, overusing fluoride on your teeth. Some people think that rinsing the mouth with a fluoride mouthwash alone can stop teeth colour deterioration and decay, however, this may result in opposite results.

Furthermore, an obvious widespread cause for teeth discolouring is smoking – which is really deadly to your teeth, resulting in the so-called smokers’ teeth. One might conclude that if you smoke, you should get ready for dental problems.

To conclude, the following list includes the main culprits of teeth stains, darkening, discolouring. Surprisingly chewing gum didn’t make it to the below list of detrimental to teeth agents. How is this possible? Well, according to American Dentist Association (ADA) sugar-free gum during proved to increases saliva and its circulation, which in turn removes weakening tooth enamel plaque acids from the oral cavity – and thus reducing the possibility of teeth decay.

1. Age – natural depletion of enamel due

2. Smoking or chewing tobacco – in comparison, e-cigarettes are almost non-detrimental

3. Tea and Coffee owing to tannins, with coffee holding second place

4. Wine

5. Carbonated drinks like Cola, energy drinks, sport drinks,  – all sodas are acidic, some contain chromogens and sugar

6. Acids and Spices like highly pigmented Curry, tomato juice, dark fruit juices like grape, cranberry, prune juices, blueberries and blackberries (as well as cranberries, red grapes, oranges, lemons, limes, and pomegranates)

7. Sugars, candy

8. Poor, or bad oral hygiene

9. Too high or long exposure to fluoride – causing fluorosis, dangerous

10. Bad, stress-related physical oral habits like teeth clenching, biting nails, or objects, grinding, bruxism. Also, a too hard toothbrush can be detrimental – in a natural manner physically wear down your teeth enamel

11. Buildup plaque – however, it’s easy to deal with

12. Illnesses that decrease the healing rate of the organism, or processing sugar in blood like diabetes, enamel hypoplasia, celiac disease

13. Hormones’ activity during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause

14. Medicines influencing the production and flow of saliva in the mouth, antibiotics, glibenclamide, chlorhexidine (present in mouthwashes)

Knowing these threats doesn’t immediately imply a complete elimination of these from your diet, because all of these causes of teeth discolouration are difficult to follow and monitor in your daily eating and drinking routine. The first, small step, is to try to avoid the discolouring substances and dosing them smartly – not too often or in large quantities. Another one is good oral hygiene – which is rudimentary – the moment you stop brushing your teeth, the condition of your teeth decreases along with their colour. So, the small everyday protective steps would comprise of:

1. Avoiding/dosing smartly the teeth damaging substances

2. Good oral hygiene: brushing (properly, at least for several minutes), rinsing (but not after a toothpaste containing fluoride), flossing, investing in a soft or high-quality electric toothbrush.

3. Quit smoking, stop taking medicines that may cause dental issues if possible

4. Try to monitor and control your stress-related bad oral habits, stop biting your nails, clenching, grinding your teeth, biting objects like pencils. If you suffer from bruxism – i.e. clenching your teeth during sleep – consult a specialist to relieve your teeth from additional unnecessary pressure and work.


Smoking is also one of the causes of yellow teeth

Will it be enough? Unfortunately, no.

However, don’t worry too much – this is the XXIst century. Neither are you alone with this problem nor the only one suffering from it – and fortunately there exist plenty of methods and techniques nowadays that allow to regain your normal teeth colour, or whiten them even more.

Although, we do know that it’s not only about the celeb-look that you’re probably after, getting back your normal smile and confidence is all you may look for. This is why you’ll find all the necessary information about the newest methods of teeth whitening below.

Some of the newer techniques should be carried out with caution, especially the so-called over-the-counter (OTC), also known as DIY at home, methods popularised currently online. Some of them may in fact cause more damage destroying the tooth enamel and thus causing hypersensitivity than do good.

This is the reason why before reaching for any of the viral DIY home teeth whitening methods better read on – you’ll find all the pros and cons of all the methods (home or at dentist’s), the procedures, precautions, comparisons, pro-tips for aftercare, as well as pricing of the methods offered in dental practices near you and abroad.

Have you already booked dental treatment abroad? Get protected for your trip.

How to whiten teeth

Most of the methods on how to remove stains from your teeth and how to get whiter teeth can be divided into two types: teeth whitening and teeth bleaching.

Bleaching is used in cases of teeth stain removal and instant whitening methods, but only when the teeth are whitened beyond their natural colour, and with the use of bleach-containing products. These in turn, usually contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Only in such cases, we talk about bleaching. Bleaching, as such, may damage your teeth because it corrodes the teeth enamel, so it’s recommended to check whether your teeth are strong enough to withstand these chemicals. If you experience teeth hypersensitivity after single bleaching DIY attempt, better take it slowly and try something more natural, or go to a specialist.

On the other hand, teeth whitening is a process of bringing back your tooth’s original colour by getting rid of plaque, stains, and debris. Sometimes products containing bleach are also misleadingly described as teeth whiteners, because of the popularity of the name, so check your teeth whitening products and kits for bleach ingredients, before using them.

Teeth whitening methods

Nowadays there are many teeth whitening methods, but most of them involve bleaching, which is based on chemicals that can do damage as well as bleach your teeth. This is the main concern currently people who have not only darkened teeth but also sensitive and with worn down enamel. Check out the best natural teeth whitening methods and the ones involving bleaching presented in-depth below for the one which suits you best. Let’s start with the best natural tips on how to get white teeth that you can do yourself at home.

Natural teeth whitening – DIY

First, let’s have a look at the natural methods of getting your teeth whiter, which are also the cheapest and require time for the effects to be visible:

Coconut oil whitening


There are many natural methods of teeth whitening which are worth to try first, one of them is coconut oil which pulls out all the bacteria from the oral cavity after proper use

An old and natural teeth whitening method is oil pulling, which is mouth washing with a regular, sunflower, sesame or coconut oil – don’t mistake it with coconut water or milk, they’re not the same things. The oil serves to rinse and pull out all the bacteria from the oral cavity after keeping it and swishing for 15 minutes minimum. It’s shown to eliminate bacteria in the mouth, bad breath, stop your teeth from decaying – thus preventing new cavities from forming. It will surely boost your oral conditions overall, though there are other claims of its beneficial influence on your gum health, an increase of saliva production or reduction of inflammation. All in all, oil pulling will definitely help you keep your teeth healthier than regular flossing. It’s a cheap and beneficial method to get rid of plaque, bacteria or gingivitis from your teeth naturally, without chemicals and bleaching at home.

How to Do-It-Yourself properly:

Take 1 tablespoon of a coconut, sunflower, sesame or olive oil.
Rinse it around in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. At starters, it’s advised to start from 5 minutes, then increase the length of any following swishing.
If you don’t want to clog your pipes then spit the oil into a can instead of the sink.
Thoroughly rinse your mouth with water to be sure nothing’s left.
Oil pulling should and can be repeated several times a week up to 3 times per day best at the morning before breakfast and has no consequences if you don’t swallow any of the oil and rinse your mouth thoroughly of it.

Vinegar teeth whitening

Another natural method of how to make your teeth white – that can take some time and systematic work – is rinsing your teeth with a natural disinfectant and cleaning substance, apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is a result of the fermentation process, similar to that of alcohol-producing, changing alcohol into acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar contains many minerals, potassium, amino acids and antioxidants.

It was used in antiquity to clean wounds, for centuries preserve foods and stop bacteria from spreading, disinfecting, treating nail fungus, getting rid of lice, warts and treating ear infections.

Apple cider vinegar (AVC) teeth whitening method has only positive reviews on the internet, but has been also clinically proven to have antibacterial qualities, lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes, reduced belly fat and weight loss lowers cholesterol and improves heart health, some studies show also that it has some bleaching potential or even anticancer qualities.

Drinking vinegar may seem at the start a little difficult to stomach, especially in its best form, that is organic and unfiltered, but it’s become quickly a widespread method how to get rid of yellow teeth, being popularised by celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Fergie, or Katy Perry.

How to Do-ACV-Yourself properly:

Applying apple cider vinegar teeth whitening can take the form of a shift in your diet – just use it in your cuisine: add it to your salads, fish meals, jellies, chips (fries).

You can also start applying up to 2 tablespoons directly to your mouth and swishing and rinsing it with vinegar for some time. Starting with small doses at the beginning is recommendable, because it can also, just like any bleacher damage your enamel in larger quantities. Another direct method comprises diluting ACV in a large glass of water and drinking it daily. Dosage ACV carefully, starting from 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml), and only later if no side effects are present up to 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) per day.

Hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening

Using a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is a really inexpensive method of getting rid of yellow teeth, plaque, stains and dirt. For every 1 tablespoon (15ml) of baking soda, you add 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and mix them to receive the homemade tooth stain removing hydrogen peroxide gel that serves well for a toothpaste. A study has shown that using a commercial toothpaste containing peroxide 2 times per day resulted in 62% whiter teeth in only 6 weeks. The amount of peroxide in commercial whitening products varies from 10%, 16%, to 22%.

hydrogen peroxide

Before trying any methods of home teeth whitening, make sure that it is safe as very often we are not aware that unproven methods may be dangerous for teeth, one of them is the use of Hydrogen Peroxide-which main side effects may be enamel damage

One of the methods that hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening treatment requires brushing gently your teeth with it for 2 minutes 2 times per day for a week.
Mind that your homemade peroxide whitening gel doesn’t contain a too high amount of hydrogen peroxide, otherwise you may suffer from hypersensitivity of your teeth as an effect of the treatment. It’s safer to experiment with smaller doses, because you may damage the protective enamel of teeth, as is it common with any bleaching substance.

Another method of applying hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth at home is through a plastic mouth guard, however, one needs to find a well-fitting mouth guard, otherwise, it might not work and even irritate your gum tissue. The mouthguard should be used up to around 10 minutes for 2 weeks. You may buy plenty of inexpensive and different hydrogen peroxide whitening kits online.

Heavily diluted in water hydrogen peroxide with baking soda can be used to rinse your mouth regularly as the third method of directly applying it to your teeth. Before you brush your teeth use it to rinse your mouth, but be careful to use  1,5% and 3% home-made solutions, otherwise be ready for possible unpleasant side-effects. Proper dosage, avoiding overdosing, overusing (too often) will bring the expected brighter teeth in no less than a few weeks.
All the above methods shouldn’t be overused or overdosed. Applying hydrogen peroxide with baking soda should be done maximum a few times a week, no more. The higher the amount of hydrogen peroxide involved, the more seldom it should be applied.

Dangers of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide

Dangers and side effects of hydrogen peroxide comprise of mainly hypersensitivity, enamel damage which will affect the tooth and gum tissue condition. Common commercial toothpastes on the market usually contain around 3% of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. The more hydrogen peroxide the product contains, the more eroding it will be to your teeth enamel, and thus dangerous. If your teeth are sensitive, or enamel worn down then stick to the common and safe 3% solutions and mixtures available everywhere.

Hydrogen peroxide damages not only the enamel but through it the dentin, a collagen-full protein that protects the nerve endings. The weakened enamel lacks the strength to protect the dentin from low or high temperatures and causes shooting pain during eating, drinking and temperature changes. This is why it’s so important to take good care of your teeth’s enamel while whitening.

DIY at-home teeth whitening kits sometimes contain around 10% of hydrogen peroxide, which may be detrimental to sensitive and worn down the enamel of your teeth, and according to ADA can cause damage to mucous membranes, skin, teeth, enamel, dentin and gum tissue. The carbamide peroxide equivalent of the 10% dose of hydrogen peroxide is around 30-35% according to specialists. These substances should be used in such quantities only by a professional hand at a dentist’s practice.

Bicarbonate of soda teeth whitening

When one discusses hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda, it’s worth mentioning that you can as well use baking soda alone to whiten those smokers’ teeth or stains of your teeth. Baking soda, or else known as sodium bicarbonate, is an abrasive a popular ingredient in commercial toothpaste, which testifies to its harmfulness – clinically proven as well. This natural teeth stain removal won’t whiten your teeth overnight but keep brushing teeth regularly and in a few weeks and you will see brighter white of your teeth.

There have been no scientific studies confirming that baking soda alone will whiten your teeth. However, several studies are proving that toothpastes containing baking soda as an ingredient do in fact have a whitening effect and a more substantial effect in stain removal than those toothpastes that lack baking soda. The more a toothpaste contains baking soda – the better it works, it turns out. You can tell if a toothpaste contains sodium bicarbonate by the tasting it – baking soda has a salty alkaline taste.

5 Pro-tips on How to DIY at home:

Baking soda plus Water

1. For 1 teaspoon (5-10ml) of baking soda add 2 teaspoons (10-20ml) of water to receive a paste-gel and brush all around your teeth then leave it for 2 minutes for the soda to work and after that rinse your mouth with water thoroughly. You can do this up to a few times per week. 2 parts of baking soda mixed with 1 part of water is the simplest combination to make and gives better results than baking soda alone.

2. Additionally, you can also dilute 1-2 teaspoons (10-20ml) baking soda in 120ml-150ml (4 ounces) glass of water. In order to avoid side effects like gas and diarrhoea drink it slowly, just sip it once per 2 hours.

Baking soda plus Toothpaste

You may try to enhance the percentage of sodium bicarbonate in toothpaste by adding it yourself to a paste and mixing. However, be mindful that the more baking soda percentage the more it’ll erode your enamel so you should be careful not to overdose it. You can as well find and buy many teeth whitening products containing more than the common amount of sodium online, but why trouble? You can do it yourself at home from sodium bicarbonate and water according to your will – the more water you add the less condensed the paste will be.

Baking Soda with Apple Cider Vinegar

In order to produce a rinse paste use ¾ part water, ¼ part apple cider vinegar and after mixing add toothpaste to it. Brush your teeth all around and then rinse with water.

Baking Soda with a Coconut Oil

Add 5 to 10 drops of spearmint essential oil to 1 heated cup of coconut oil in liquid form and finally add 2 teaspoons (10-20ml) of sodium bicarbonate in order to receive your paste. Brush your teeth all around, not just one spot. Rinse with water. For the beneficial effects of coconut oil pulling and coconut oil in general, read above.

For the use of baking soda with hydrogen peroxide read above, for its use with fruit juices read below.

Turmeric teeth whitening paste

Turmeric teeth whitening paste is made of one of the most effective in removing stains on teeth herbs, that is turmeric. It’s been researched for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities, resulting in the positive feedback of its usage in case of gingivitis or buildup plaque. So, it’s going to be helpful for both, plaque and gingivitis, as well as for the teeth stains.

It has been practised as well for a long time for natural wellness and teeth stain removal, proving to be at least 100% safe to use and is recommended by some dentists. Turmeric herb can be added as a supplement to your diet also. It belongs to the natural teeth whitening methods, thus you’ll have to wait for the results a few weeks.

How to DIY:

Preparation and storing:

In order to produce your DIY homemade turmeric toothpaste, you will need to combine in a bowl ½ of a teaspoon (2,5-7ml) of turmeric with ½ teaspoon (2,5-7ml) of baking soda, ¼ teaspoon (1,5-2,5ml) of L-arginine, and 1 teaspoon of unfiltered organic coconut oil. The turmeric natural toothpaste should be stored in airtight cold conditions.


Instead of brushing your teeth with a toothbrush, turmeric toothpaste should be rubbed into your teeth and gums with fingers and left for 5 minutes. After that, you rinse it with water. Since turmeric is a natural substance and contains no adhesives or abrasives, it can be used according to will and no overdosing applies.

Teeth whitening methods requiring research

Although any of the above-mentioned methods can be misused, some of them may result in more drastic side effects than others. Overusing, or overdosing hydrogen peroxide amount in your homemade teeth whitening product may bring such harmful consequences for your teeth’s enamel. If you accidentally wear down enamel then the teeth are left without any protection against the bacteria in your mouth, this, in turn, may result in inflammation, gum diseases, tooth decay, ache, hypersensitivity, cavities, bad oral PH thus breath, or other complications. The same applies to overuse baking soda. Check below for the scientifically unproven, ineffective or controversial methods that are so popular nowadays everywhere online.


Each method of teeth whitening requires precise research, thanks to that many unpleasant experiences may be omitted

Bicarb and lemon juice teeth whitening

Please mind that no scientific data proves the effectiveness of this method – just the opposite – there are more dangers of using baking soda and lemon juice. Most importantly, you can really harm your teeth’s enamel with it. The combination of baking soda and fruit juice, like lemon or lime, gained a lot of hype recently. However, you should be very cautious because overusing it may cause serious damages to your teeth enamel.

If you must experiment, you can produce this paste with ½ of a teaspoon (5ml) of sodium bicarbonate and ½ of a teaspoon (5ml) of lemon, of fruit juice. However, don’t overuse a homemade toothpaste mixture utilising sodium bicarbonate and lemon, strawberry, lime or any other fruit juice. Since baking soda is an abrasive substance like any bleach and fruit juices are highly acidic, thus baking soda and lemon juice teeth whitening may damage your teeth’s enamel, causing teeth to lose calcium.

If you must, try it once per 2 weeks, no more. However, if you experience hypersensitivity at the first use, rinse your teeth thoroughly with water and abandon the method completely.

Charcoal teeth whitening

Does charcoal really whiten teeth?

This is one of the most googled questions currently. Lots and lots of people ordered activate charcoal and tried it out. Perhaps, these are not scientific data, but peoples’ reviews are divided into positive – people swearing that it helped them in getting a brighter white colour of teeth – and those who claim it caused more problems than it’s worth. This depends on the condition of your teeth’s enamel – if it’s strong and thick it won’t be worn down by active charcoal and the treatment can bring positive results. According to the ADA however, charcoal teeth whitening may cause more harm to your teeth’s enamel than do good. Activated charcoal powder is produced in high temperatures and comprises of fine-grained natural materials like burned wood, coconut shells, peat and olive pits.

How to DIY safely at home:

Apply water to your toothbrush, gather some activated charcoal powder with your wet toothbrush. Brush all around without focusing on one place in particular. This is the most popular technique, recommended by its producers as well. The producers’ instructions suggest that you can use it every day, however, for starters do not exceed 1 brushing per 2 weeks, for your teeth’s enamel safety. If you experience any hypersensitivity at use, use it even more seldom, or not at all. In order to reduce potential damage to the enamel, you can make use of your fingers to rub the charcoal on to your teeth.
Another method, recommended by doctors and specialist is to avoid brushing, which may do more damage than good, and utilize the natural quality of activated charcoal powder – the fact that it bonds with toxins instead of absorbing them. This means you can make a mask of it, applying it on the stained tooth with finger or toothbrush and leaving it for a while to dry up. Then rinse it with water. Because activated charcoal bonds with stains and toxins it should help you get rid of the stains and discolouration, but don’t expect it to work a miracle overnight. It still takes time, at least a few weeks. This method is safer than the first one.
Perhaps, the most important factor, in all the scientifically unproven to work as intended methods, is the condition of your teeth’s enamel. If it’s thick and strong then you won’t experience negative side-effects.

Banana teeth whitening

Some people claim that rubbing orange, lemon, lime or banana peels on your teeth will make them whiter. In the case of citric acid contained in lemon, orange and lime, which obviously may be detrimental, banana peels are more debatable.

There aren’t any scientific data supporting any of these methods, only the online hype. It’s supposed by some that a high level of potassium, magnesium and manganese in fruit peels like bananas may help to remove stains and discolouration from teeth.

How to use:

Rub teeth with the insides of a ripe banana peel for about two minutes. Supposedly, after 3 weeks, your teeth will become brighter.

Kaolin clay powder and gel teeth whitening

Nowadays, alternative toothpastes are becoming quickly a thing, but since these products are new, consequences of their usage will require time to tell whether they’re positive or not. Composed of kaolin clay, calcium powder, birch xylitol, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bitartrate, sweet orange essential oil. The so-called kaolin clay powder and gel supposedly can detox, whiten and polish teeth without being abrasive. However, no scientific data supports the producers’ claims. You can use this powder instead of your toothpaste or exchangeable – only per of them per day.

How to use kaolin clay powder

Put a pinch of the powder on your hand. Gather it with your wet toothbrush and brush your teeth once per day. Rinse afterwards with water.

red toothpaste

Strawberry teeth whitening is a delicate and natural method that will help, among others, to remove stains from the teeth

Strawberry teeth whitening

A natural, gentle and safe method. Strawberries indeed contain citric acid when they’re not ripe, and malic acid when they are. The former may damage your teeth’s enamel, but if the strawberry used is ripe, then the latter, malic acid, does help to remove stains, dirt and plaque from your teeth used regularly. However, no studies have been performed to support this, and for now, the effectiveness of this method is based on practical experience and dentists’ opinions.

How to use strawberries for teeth whitening

Choose a ripe strawberry, mash it up, and brush your teeth gently with it all around. It works as all-natural methods, over some time – so expect whiter teeth after a few weeks of using a strawberry whitening method.

With this last method, we have reviewed most of the popular online natural methods of teeth whitening. Now let’s check the home teeth whitening kits, that anyone can order and buy online.

Home teeth whitening kit

Most of the available online and in-store DIY whitening kits are cheap and convenient to use at home, though most of them also contain bleach substances, which can be overdosed or misused. Before using the ones with a higher percentage of bleach agent it’s recommended to consult a dentist.

A regular precaution from your dentist would probably sound like this: “It is vital that your dentist confirms there are no issues requiring treatment in your mouth before thinking about whitening your teeth. If something seems too good to be true – it usually is!” – warns Clinical Director for BUPA dental, dr Eddie Coyle.

Teeth bleaching is a reasonable alternative to different dental procedures like veneers, or natural teeth whitening methods if the issue is only teeth discolouration. Whereas teeth whitening has its limitations, aiming only at regaining the natural colour of teeth, teeth bleaching can achieve more spectacular effects, including pearly white celeb-like smiles that most people envy. While teeth whitening requires systematic, regular application and care, teeth bleaching usually comprises of a single visit at the dentist, or less numerous procedures at home with the use of DIY kits.

The risks and dangers of DIY home whitening kits comprise of mostly insufficient bleach in the product and thus, the ineffectiveness of the product. Otherwise, the problem may occur when the whitening product contains a too high amount of chemicals for teeth’ enamel to bear, resulting too often in hypersensitivity, tooth decay, cavities, or gum sensitivity.

Another danger of teeth whitening DIY home kits may rise due to unfitting mouthguard used for teeth whitening. If the bleaching gel drops on your gums or into your oral cavity it can cause blisters and lasting sensitivity. Perhaps all these precautions come down to a simple manner of who is treating your teeth, and the obvious fact that if it’s not a dental professional, for example, staff that is untrained or without dental qualifications (like in beauty salons), then it puts your health at risk.

The so-called over-the-counter bleaching remedies available online contain a higher dose of bleach substances than the common commercial or natural products. Let’s look at them closely.

Whitening toothpastes

The most basic of these kits are stain removing and whitening toothpastes. Most of them contain hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, some can contain more exotic ingredients and bleaching agents like enzymes contained in papain and bromelain. They aim at removing surface stains, dirt, plaque with their mild abrasives that scrub the teeth during brushing.


One of the basic teeth whitening methods is toothpaste, their active ingredients work by abrasion of deposits and stains during teeth brushing

Most of them make use as well of a polish agent which is harmless and effective, yet up to a point of course. Some more expert-level toothpastes actually can do the trick, and help you out with at least regaining your natural colour of teeth – but their effectiveness is strongly influenced by your teeth condition, care and eating and drinking habits.

There are a lot of reviews and articles on the topic online naming the best products in this category year by year, check them out here. Google claims that the following list comprises of the best whitening toothpastes currently available on the market:

  • Sensodyne Sensitive Teeth Whitening Sensitivity Toothpaste
  • Crest 3D White
  • Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste
  • Tom’s Of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste
  • Colgate Optic White
  • Hello Care Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste
  • Linhart Teeth Whitening Gel

However, toothpastes, no matter how expensive or highly praised, unfortunately, will never outdo a professional teeth whitening procedure at a dentist and take rather some time to achieve a mediocre result.

Teeth whitening strips and trays

One of the quickest of methods, bringing first results after only a few days of using, the so-called whitestrips work based on bleaching agent and are usually one-time-use thin, flexible and plastic (polythene) strips covered with a tooth whitening gel. The gel contains usually hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide and Ph-balancing chemical sodium hydroxide, apart from the vestigial adhesive and sometimes allergy-causing chemicals. The percentage of the bleaching agent used by strips vary, so be wary of 15%, 25% or even higher doses of it in some products. In the EU the legal dose was set in 2011 to 0,1%! In the UK the limit is 6%, whereas in the USA there’s no limit, just the FDA and ADA warnings and recommendations.

Approach with caution whitestrips from manufacturers that don’t provide detailed information on the dosage of bleaching agent in their products – these may exceed the resistance of your teeth’s enamel.

Some of the available strips are better designed, some won’t fit perfectly and slip down your teeth endangering your gum tissue. The strips are moulded around the teeth – 1 for the top and 1 for the bottom tooth – so that the gel is pressed against the teeth and its ingredients can whiten the teeth.

How to use teeth whitening strips and trays

Whitestrips are recommended to use before brushing your teeth twice a day for several minutes (5 minutes in total per 1 day), for about 2 weeks (20 days on average) – giving first results in few days. Their overall effects should last from 4 to 6 months’ time.

For enhanced results, you can buy the most effective whitestrips that can be used around 30 minutes’ per day, and a UV light to boost the whitening process – although there’s no evidence that such light does, speed up the process.

For more convenience try out dissolvable strips that dissolve in 5-7 minutes 2 times per day during 2 weeks and are non-peroxide. The non-peroxide whiestrips available on the market offer less significant effects but also guarantee of no complications due to their use.

Paint-on teeth whitening pens

Is a popular method that is convenient for home use and easy to apply on your own to treat individual stains and teeth. However, overall paint-on pens with whitening gel contain typically very low doses of hydrogen and thus offer limited results. On the other hand, it may cause gum irritation, blisters, or teeth sensitivity. They’re used more often as a quick-fix method instead of the long-lasting results. A great advantage of the method is its cheap price and simplicity in use.

How to Use paint-on teeth whitening pens

  • Take off the cap
  • Extract the gel onto the toothbrush by twisting the pen’s lower end
  • Apply the gel from the toothpaste on your teeth/tooth with an up-and-down motion
  • Let the gel stay on the teeth for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with water
  • Cap the pen

Some of the newer teeth whitening gel applicators offer higher doses of hydrogen peroxide, hence their greater effectiveness in whitening oxidization.

Here’s a list of the best teeth whitening gel application pens in 2019 for your consideration.

LED teeth whitening kit

Gloo Science personal teeth whitening device

A novelty on the market is the AT (at-home) teeth whitening kit with LED light comprised of a hands-free set of lip balm, mouthpiece, control and 10 vials with whitening gel – offering over 40 whitening sessions – packed in a travel case with a USB adapter and cable. Clearly, this is a more expensive product and may cost double, or triple, the money spent on regular whitening strips.

It’s worth mentioning that most of the teeth whitening kits with LED / UV light display low effectiveness of the light, and thus whitening process overall. Additionally to the LED/UV light support, the method employs also heating that warms the gel and accelerates the teeth whitening process.

Unfortunately, the amount of hydrogen peroxide the Gloo’s producer uses is high, i.e. 6%, and it also contains highly abrasive sodium hydroxide, so should also be approached with caution by those with worn-down teeth enamel. Interestingly enough, the whitening gel in the vials is simultaneously vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free.

On the other hand, the producer promises no sensitivity issues after using Gloo Science, on the contrary, the method is said to whiten teeth up to 4-5 shades in five days’ time safely. However, there have been no clinical researches validating this at-home kit.

Nonetheless, the method is almost similar to the ones served at the dentist, and regular whitestrips, but perfected to enable it at-home. After getting used to it, it may be said to be very intuitive and relaxing, since there’s no need for manual holding the led lamp, or mouthpiece.

How to use gloo Science personal teeth whitening device

  1. Preparation: charge the controller and plug the mouthpiece into it, don’t forget to apply lip balm
  2. Take one vial and open it, put a small amount of gel (1/2 pea size) onto the brush tip
  3. Apply only to the front of the upper and lower teeth (it’ll foam, let it stay)
  4. Turn on the mouthpiece by clicking on the control and put it into your mouth, and clench your teeth
  5. After 8 minutes it will deactivate by itself, you can take the mouthpiece out. Rinse your mouth and the mouthpiece with water.
  6. Next, you re-apply the gel and repeat the cycle 3 more times, each time allowing the mouthpiece for 8 minutes of work (making it four 8-minute cycles with short breaks between them)
  7. The entire treatment with Gloo Science will consist of 32 minutes in 8-minute sessions with breaks per day and will last overall 5 days’ time.

At-home bleaching from your dentist

The best intrinsic AT (at-home) whitening method available on the market currently would be prepared by a dentist custom whitening trays/mouthguard. In contrast to the common products, these trays and mouthpieces are personalized for your teeth solely, through impressions taken by the dentist at his office. Such trays don’t let the whitening gel to omit any teeth surfaces and thus offer the most holistic and complete whitening effect. The at-home treatment is usually a continuation of 1 or 2 visits in the dental practice.

home whitening

Professional overlay whitening acquired at home from a dentist is one of the most effective and safest methods, their effect lasts up to two years

Additionally, the gel is often a professional-only product legally distributed solely by a certified dentist, which means it can be stronger – over 40% – but do no damage. The gel removes not only the extrinsic stains and discolouration, which the commercial products do but also the intrinsic stains. Studies show that despite the high condensation of bleach agents and potential threats of self-application AT the method statistically results in fewer teeth sensitivity reports than LED or laser light (power) teeth whitening.

The custom-made by dentist trays don’t slip off or let the gel drop onto your gums or teeth. Moreover, you can keep these for indefinite use in the future too, so no need for extra expenses in the future – just buy the teeth whitening gel. Especially, that the gel ingredients prescribed can be bought alone for low prices (less than $30/ 27 EUR), making it an ideal DIY set after the first visit at the dentist. If your dentist allows you to DIY at home, then the out-of-office teeth whitening can take from a few days to a few weeks.

Professional at-home teeth whiteners received from your dentist are one of the safest and most effective methods currently available. Especially, if done under the supervision of a dental professional. Generally speaking, they’re really worth the extra money and time spent at the dentist, because they promise similarly lasting (up to 2 years) and safe for your teeth results.

There are several kinds of whitening treatments in-office treatments and they differ in the level of effectiveness. Over the counter gels and bleaching kits are generally more affordable, but the results are often less than desirable. Personal do-it-yourself methods can leave stains and the results do not last without continued use. For optimum results, dental professional services can suffice.

If you wish a safe and effective teeth whitening that will last – the only viable option is visiting your dentist. Few in-office treatments may vary in the effectiveness of course, for example, Light Emitting Diode System as a light activator in whitening vital teeth which have been thoroughly studied and judged to be not only ineffective but sometimes may even conclude in nerve damages.

Scale and polish hygienic treatments

Costly ‘scale and polish’ service at the dentist ‘may be unnecessary for those with good teeth’ as evidence finds it makes ‘no difference’ to dental health. The cleaning involves scraping to remove plaque and polish to make teeth smooth. It costs £11.40 on the NHS and around five times that at some private practices. But it may make ‘little or no difference’ to plaque deposit levels over two years.

One of the popular nowadays methods is Airflow polishing, which is a hygiene treatment performed not by a dentist but by a hygienist and which is quite effective in removing stains from teeth. It operates on the basis of a directed by the hygienist fine jet of compressed air, water and fine powder particles that mechanically, but without the use of abrasives, stains, plaque and dirt from your teeth giving them a fresh, brighter look. However, airflow polishing is not a method of teeth whitening, though it can bring back the patient’s former natural colour of teeth, up to 2 shades back.

In-Office Bleaching

This procedure is called as well chairside bleaching or internal whitening and usually requires one 1-2 hour visit your dentist. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth under the supervision of the specialist and stays on for 15-20 minutes. 2 or 3 such whitening cycles are performed during the visit. IO bleaching often is offered without or with LED lamp and heat – and cost appropriately more. Standard bleaching alone starts in regional British offices from £250 to £300, with an LED lamp or heat from £450. A thorough rinse follows. The procedure is alike the AT home bleaching.

This is how it looks:

Is teeth whitening safe?

Clinical studies prove that teeth whitening in-office is safe. This is despite the high hydrogen concentration used by in-office systems, which usually contains 15% to 43% peroxide. In fact, many dentists think that it’s one of the safest cosmetic dental procedures available to all.

Dangers of whitestrips and at-home kits

This is contrary to commercial teeth whitening kits and methods. Most importantly, mind that whichever commercial product you may choose none is designed to be worn at night, or used for too long. Hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide and sodium hydroxide are highly damaging to your teeth’s enamel, dentin, gums and oral cavity if overused or overdosed. All teeth whitening products – professional or not – do not vary in this regard, only the concentration of bleaching agents changes.

Most of the commercial strips allow for the front of the tooth to be whitened, leaving edges yellow due to the shape of the strips themselves and fact that the gel cannot reach difficult teeth surfaces. Some stock-made sets of strips are of low quality and may not fit perfectly to your teeth causing the gel to drop onto your tongue, gum, or into the oral cavity, be cautious and check your product before applying the gel.

An overuse of whitestrips and similar whitening methods may wear down your enamel completely – and you never know when this may happen – only if you consult your dentist prior. The so-called ‘instant’ or ‘2-hour whitening strips’ contain higher doses of hydrogen peroxide with additional potassium hydroxide, which is a harsh bleacher and thus should be used with extra caution and only after consulting your dentist.

Teeth whitening side effects

To sum it up, some of the most common temporary teeth whitening side effects are:

  • teeth sensitivity
  • gums irritation
  • soft tissue and mouth irritations
  • blisters
  • gum inflammation
  • insufficient results – sometimes due to heavy intrinsic stains that bond with the tooth’s structure, the effects may vary from expectations
  • shooting pain during eating, drinking cold and hot stuff – if your teeth whitening or bleaching used a high concentration of harsh abrasives for your teeth to bear, this may end us in destroying teeth’s enamel and damaging the dentin

How do dentists whiten teeth?

This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth. Your dentist can provide you with a custom-made tray for at-home whitening.

You do not have to do anything specific other than brush your teeth before coming in for your teeth whitening treatment. You may want to put some lip balm on just before your appointment as your lips will dry slightly. (we supply this  in the clinic anyway)

It is not necessary to have your teeth scaled and polished prior to your whitening treatment, however, we do however recommend your usual 6-12 monthly regular visit to the dentist, so just go whenever you are due.

Is it worth getting your teeth whitened at the dentist?

Professional teeth whiteners are safe, effective, and done under the supervision of a dental professional. In most cases, it is worth the extra cost to visit the dentist to get long-lasting, safe results. Yes, teeth whitening is very safe when done correctly. In one short and convenient appointment, you can have white teeth that will make you feel and look great.

Women dentist

It is worth considering whitening in the office which is really effective and safe because made under the watchful eye of a dentist specialist

Professional teeth whitening service in a dental office is done by using a potent bleaching agent. The bleaching gel contains a much higher concentration of peroxide than found in over the counter whitening gels. Significant teeth colour change with the help of special laser light in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-office teeth whitening. This protocol involves the carefully controlled use of a relatively high-concentration peroxide bleaching gel, applied to the teeth by the dentist’s assistance. During the procedure, a bleaching agent is applied to the teeth while a protective gel protects the gums from chemical exposure. Often times, a laser is used to activate the bleaching gel and further accentuates the brightness of the teeth. Not only does this procedure make your teeth whiter than other methods, but it will also last longer.

Generally, the peroxide remains on the teeth for about 15 to 20-minute intervals that add up to an hour at most. Those patients with particularly stubborn staining teeth may be advised to return for one or more additional teeth bleaching sessions or may be asked to continue with a home-use teeth whitening system. The two most common in-office whitening system used is the ZOOM.

Overall, a recent study has shown higher levels of satisfaction of patients who underwent whitening at the dentist – 69% of such patients were ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’ with the effects. On the other hand, 42% of patients using DIY home whitening kits were happy, owing to a lack of results or tooth sensitivity.

Is teeth whitening covered by NHS?

In most cases, unfortunately, no. Teeth whitening is deemed a cosmetic dental procedure and NHS dental charges apply, only private. There has to be a medical reason for whitening your teeth, for example, nerve disorders causing teeth discolourations.

The only teeth cosmetic procedure that the NHS dentist charges apply to is the scrape and polish hygienic treatment, which is neither whitening nor bleaching procedure, but rather bringing back your teeth to their natural colour, which costs £11.40 on NHS, or around £60 privately.

How long does teeth whitening last?

If you choose the in-office teeth whitening under the guidance of a professional, you may expect the results to last up to 3 years.
At-home teeth whitening kits and natural methods have less long-lasting effects and stay from 3 to 6 months. In the case of natural whitening methods, it’s recommended to incorporate them into your daily routine for long periods to preserve the effects. However, this varies from person-to-person and drinking, eating and smoking habits.

Teeth whitening effect

After some of the methods of teeth whitening the results can last up to 3 years- this is usually after in-office whitening. When it comes to at-home kits effects can stay from 3 to 6 months. Of course, this depends on personal habits and oral aftercare

How much does it cost to get your teeth professionally whitened?

In 2019 the cost of in-office teeth whitening procedure in the UK and the US ranges between $650-$1000 for the US and around £650 for the UK. Laser light treatments are usually more expensive due to high demand on them, the cheapest in-office options include hygienic treatment (scaling and polishing) – starting from £60-£70 – which unfortunately brings only back your original teeth colour. Next in-line with regard to pricing is a regular IO bleaching using a gel set, which costs  However, it can cost much, much less in different parts of the world. Here’s a thorough price-list for the UK appropriately (according to WhatClinic 2016):









Milton Keyneys






















Newcastle Upon Tyne












Aftercare Tips

For 24 hours after the IO whitening procedure, the patient should avoid drinks like tea, coffee, wine, coloured soft or alcoholic drinks and fruit juice; food like soy sauce, red meat, chocolate and all fruit. Smoking is also a no-no or you will stain your teeth, however, you can moderately use your e-cigarettes. Coloured toothpastes and mouthwashes should also be avoided.

What food and drinks can I have after teeth whitening?

Here’s a list of safe to eat food: fish, rice, pasta (white), cheese, cauliflower, onion, potatoes, crustless bread, crispies, bananas, yoghurt (white), water, soda water, white lemonades, coconut water, milk and white, colourless and low in pigment foods and drinks.

Get the insurance for treatment abroad:

Teeth whitening abroad

With laser light teeth treatment costing sometimes up to $1500 in the US or £700 (about £200 for each visit at the dentist) in the UK, patients planning on travelling abroad decide to book a visit at a foreign dentist office, where they find much lower costs. Additionally, if you know how to find a cheap flight through websites offering such flights, then it’s worth considering doing it abroad, somewhere nearby, saving sometimes up to 40% or 50% money. What’s also important, patients can get secured for their medical trip, which makes their travel and stay abroad much safer. Clinic Hunter & AXA Partners have created a travel insurance for dental treatment abroad dedicated solely to medical tourists.

Teeth whitening in Poland and Turkey

The most of the people prefers teeth whitening in Turkey, Costa Rica (for American citizens). Teeth whitening in Poland  and teeth whitening in Hungary are popular as well. Here are the typical prices for whitening treatments there:

Tourism Destination

Starting Prices in EURO/ GBP


€50 / £43


€50 / £43


€50 / £43


Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure unsupported by the NHS dentists in most cases, so patients often resolve to natural DIY methods and available online teeth whitening kits. For some, these will do the trick, but for some unfortunately no.

However, if you know how to find a cheap flight through websites offering such flights, then it’s worth considering doing it abroad, somewhere nearby, saving sometimes up to 40% or 50% money.

Teeth whitening before and after

Below we present teeth whitening before and after photos


Guarnizo-Herreño Carol C, Tsakos Georgios, Sheiham Aubrey, Marmot Michael G, Kawachi Ichiro, Watt Richard G et al. “Austin Powers bites back: a cross sectional comparison of US and English national oral health surveys”. BMJ 2015.

Knapton, Sarah. “Americans do not have better teeth than the British, study concludes”.The Telegraph. 16.12.2015.

Tay, Lidia and Carlos Kose et al. “Long-term efficacy of in-office and at-home bleaching: A 2-year double-blind randomized clinical trial”. American Journal of Dentistry 25 2012, 199-204.

Polydorou O., Scheitza S. et al. “The effect of long-term use of tooth bleaching products on the human enamel surface.” Odontology. 2018 Jan, 106(1):64-72. doi: 10.1007/s10266-017-0308-3. 2017 May 25.

Michal Matusiak

In 2014 Michal graduated from John Paul University of Lublin.
An English teacher with language skills that he can use to present selected topics in an attractive way. Translator and interpreter of publications for many academic clients, including conferences and press conferences. His achievements include book translations, operating instructions, professional documentation. Michal conducted almost 400 hours of classes at English levels A1, A2, B1, B2 in one semester. He also runs Business English for adults, companies , TELC (The European Language Certificate) courses and worked in different private language schools in Lublin, Poland since 2013.

He easily makes contacts and builds relationships, which results from the experience of the teacher. He is not afraid of technological innovations and he successfully used them in his work more than once. Organizer of academic and official events, presenter and educator. Fluent in education philological, pedagogical, and work experience as lector and coach in other fields of activity.

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