7 Ways to Naturally Whiten Teeth

Cheryl Hines

There are many ways to get a brighter, whiter smile without having to visit the dentist’s office. From whitening toothpaste to strips to laser whitening machines, you’re sure to find something that will suit your lifestyle and work wonders to give you a beautiful smile.

Let’s face it: teeth whitening is big business. In 2021, Americans spent approximately $316 million on teeth-whitening, and that doesn’t include visits to the dentist’s office. By 2026, that number is estimated to jump to almost $450 million! 

Why do our teeth look discolored?

Teeth whitening feature

First, let’s get to the root of the problem and check out why our teeth start to look discolored in the first place. One of the main causes is poor hygiene, which leads to plaque and tartar buildup that can cause discoloration. The sooner the buildup is removed, the less chance of causing real damage.

Other key causes of discolored teeth include smoking, certain foods (turmeric or curry), drinks (tea, coffee, or drinks especially acidic or high in sugar), and genetics (some people have family issues with yellow teeth). Another cause, and one that is hard to avoid, is Dentin, which occurs when the enamel is thin, and the Dentin underneath shows through it, causing the teeth to look yellow. 

Unfortunately, even some medications and antibiotics can cause tooth discoloration. If you find that this is happening to you, it might be time to have a conversation with your prescribing doctor to see if there are other options that won’t negatively affect your smile. 

If you’ve found that your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, you can find ways to resolve your tooth discoloration that doesn’t involve a pricy visit to the dentist. However, some of the methods you’ve heard of to whiten teeth naturally don’t work. To break down your options and see what works and what doesn’t work, we’ve checked out 7 potential ways to naturally whiten your teeth from the comfort of your home. 

7 Ways to Naturally Whiten Teeth

1. ProBiora Health Products

Probiora Mouth products

ProBiora products are a natural, gentle way to whiten teeth over time. The beneficial bacteria in ProBiora’s line of oral-care probiotics naturally produce low levels of hydrogen peroxide that whiten teeth with consistent, daily use without sensitivity or gum irritation. An additional benefit of ProBiora’s primary purpose is to crowd out the bad bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and more. Learn more at

2. Whitening toothpaste, strips, washes, and gels

One baking soda beauty hack is to whiten your teeth

The oral care section at the store is definitely not lacking when it comes to taking care of your teeth. There’s an option for every possible tooth or gum malady you can imagine, and whitening seems to be the most popular variety. While many toothpaste varieties offer a miraculous transformation from discolored to white, not all are created equal. Based on our research, the top choices include Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste Gel and Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste. Both serve double duty for keeping your teeth and gums healthy while giving them the whitening treatment. 

Whitening strips are another popular item for getting a brighter smile. The ever-popular Crest Whitestrips mastered the concept years ago and still work well to whiten our teeth. Another popular option is Luminous non-toxic Whitening STrips, which are highly rated and work to lift stains while not affecting the enamel. Both are easy to use and can brighten your teeth in as little as two weeks. 

Finally, there are a number of gels and whitening washes on the market to consider. The level of effectiveness and ease of use vary from one product to the next, so it’s best to check with your dentist if they have a suggestion on which will work best without damaging your teeth. 

3. Lemon peels or lemon juice

Lemon peel in mouth

Lemon peels contain a lot of the vitamins necessary to keep your teeth healthy, as well as citric acid, which works almost as a bleaching agent. Therefore, it’s no surprise they would be considered a whitening method. If you choose this route, use it sparingly because it can be abrasive on your tooth enamel. 

There are a few methods you can try if you want to use lemon peels to whiten your teeth. For the first, start by slicing the peel into strips and drying them out. Once they’re dry, grind the peel down, add a little water to the peel, and stir to thicken. Once you have a bit more of a paste consistency, put some on your toothbrush and brush for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with water. 

Another method involves peeling the lemon and then simply rubbing the outside of the lemon peel on your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums. It’s that simple, but again, this method in either form should be used sparingly.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide 

Hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth

Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient when it comes to whitening teeth. It has so many other uses – from bleaching hair to disinfecting wounds – that it’s already found in most homes and is a quick and convenient option to whiten teeth. However, as with many of these methods, use this option sparingly to avoid damaging your teeth or breaking down the enamel. 

If you elect to use this route, a good concentration of Hydrogen peroxide is 3%. Start by dipping a cotton ball or swab in the peroxide. Rub it all over your teeth, working carefully not to miss any spots (nobody wants polka dot teeth!). Leave the peroxide on your teeth for roughly 30-60 seconds, then finish by brushing them. 

5. Baking Soda 

Mixture of baking soda and water to remove stains

Baking soda is a common ingredient when it comes to getting whiter teeth. That’s because it’s a mild abrasive that scrubs away stains without harming the enamel on your teeth (assuming you don’t scrub too hard). If you checked out the oral care aisle at your local store, you’d see the phrase ‘baking soda’ more often than not. If you want to try out a natural at-home method, you can try using a DIY baking soda paste. While you might see some improvement, there’s a good chance you’ll get better results by switching to a toothpaste with sodium bicarbonate. Keep in mind it’ll take time to see the change, so don’t expect magic overnight. 

6. Oil Pulling 

Oil pullings swish in mouth

If you’ve heard the term Ayurvedic medicine, you might be familiar with its various practices. It’s a system of healing that originated in India, and the term means ‘knowledge of living’ or ‘science of longevity.’ Oil pulling is a form of Ayurvedic medicine, and it involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes to “pull out” bacteria. The type of oil you choose is up to you, but common types include sesame, coconut, or olive oil. Coconut oil is probably the most popular because it has a pleasant taste and offers the added benefit of reducing inflammation because it’s high in lauric acid. 

If you want to try oil pulling, start with 1 tablespoon of the preferred oil in your mouth. Work to ‘pull’ the oil through your teeth for up to 20 minutes – comparable to how you’d use mouthwash. It’ll work to remove plaque-causing bacteria and leave your mouth cleaner and potentially whiten your teeth. 

7. Stop It Before it Starts

No smoking

We’re going to go with the obvious to finish our list and simply point out that avoiding things that can discolor your teeth will, in fact, give you whiter teeth. That means skipping the coffee, tea, red wine, dark sodas, tobacco, or sugary fruit juices, just to name a few. Now, if you’re like me, getting rid of coffee and red wine is a non-starter, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still take steps to diminish their effects on my teeth. 

If you are going to eat or drink things that will discolor your teeth, take steps to avoid their effects. Brush after your morning coffee, not before, and drink water with your wine to wash it away from your teeth. Integrating water into a cocktail hour is already a good idea, so it’s just one more reason to take care of yourself. 


If you want a whiter, brighter smile, you can do it at home with everyday household items or easy-to-find products at the store. If you aren’t sure which method to use – or especially if you have sensitive or weak teeth – check with your dentist before trying any new teeth whitening process. 

Whiten Teeth at Home:

Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips
Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips, $49.99
Crest 3D Whitestrips
Crest 3D Whitestrips, $39.99
Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste
Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste (3 pack), $14.99
Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen
Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen, $24.97
MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit
MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit, $30.95
Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste
Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste (2 packs), $3.94

Read Next: 

How To Handle Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

Why Healthy Gums and Teeth Matter to Your Overall Health

Bad Breath: The Dirty Secret That Only A Spouse Will Tell You


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