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A Dentist Explains: How to Whiten Your Teeth at Home

teeth whitening

If there is one thing in this world we’d all like to do more, it’s smile; yet nothing dissuades us from smiling like yellow teeth. Fortunately, whether your teeth are stained from consistent consumption of coffee or tea, antibiotics or trauma to tooth enamel, discoloration can be reversed. Better yet, you can whiten your teeth at home in favor of both cost and time. We decided to strip away all the chatter regarding teeth whitening and get to the root, talking prevention and treatment with Jordan Hubbard, DDS.

At-Home Whitening vs. The Dentist

The difference between whitening your teeth at home and at the dentist, according to Dr. Hubbard, lies in the strength of the chemicals used in the treatment and, thus, the time involved. But that doesn’t mean at-home treatments are ineffective. “At-home whitening products and professional whitening products typically contain the same chemicals and, therefore, yield the same results,” she says. “However, when you get your teeth whitened professionally by visiting a dentist, the strength of the chemicals is greater and you can see results more immediately than you would with something you can buy over the counter.”

Risks of Whitening Your Teeth at Home

According to Dr. Hubbard, the risks of whitening your teeth at home parallel those from dentist treatments and include: sensitivity of the teeth, discoloration of the gums, bleached gums and a sensation of burning gums. And while many experience no symptoms, many will experience extreme sensitivity, especially with bleach products. Dr. Hubbard explains: “Your teeth have two layers: enamel, or the outer hard layer, and dentin, the inner soft layer. The bleach actually whitens the color of your dentin, or the inner layer.”

How to Prevent Yellow Teeth

At the end of the day, the goal is always prevention. So, how do you prevent yellow teeth? If giving up coffee sounds like a terrifying feat, you may wish to sip coffee and other dark liquids through a straw, allowing it to pass by your pearly whites. In addition to typical stains, grinding can lead to premature aging and yellowing of enamel, so see your dentist if you suspect you grind your teeth in your sleep.

Dr. Hubbard points out that the ultimate prevention is routine hygiene, recommending diligence with brushing (for two minutes at a time) and flossing twice a day. She also warns against overuse of abrasive whitening toothpastes: “Don’t use them more than recommended as they can actually damage your teeth,” she says.

Products for Whitening Your Teeth at Home

While, for some, these may take longer than a dentist-administered treatment, a number of at-home oral care products can effectively counteract yellowing, restoring the natural white hue of your teeth and allowing you to feel confident in your smile.

  1. 1. GLO Pop 10 Day Teeth Whitening Treatment
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    1. GLO Pop 10 Day Teeth Whitening Treatment

    Renowned among dentists, GLO Pop actually helps to fight cavities with one of its key ingredients. “Xylitol acts as a sugar substitute, and it also helps decrease the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth,” Dr. Hubbard says. To apply, simply paint on one pop vial up to three times per day for ten days. The solution foams and dissolves quickly, making it easy to whiten your teeth at home or on the go.

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. 2. Teeth Whitening Pen with Antioxidants

    Whether whitening your teeth at home or on vacation, Dr. Brite’s Teeth Whitening Pen is convenient enough to tote anywhere. Click the pen to activate the airless pump and apply gel with pressure to the surface of your teeth. Key ingredients like menthol, aloe vera and coconut oil, keep bad breath and gum issues in check throughout the whitening process.

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. 3. Antioxidant Oral Care System
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    3. Antioxidant Oral Care System

    As a replacement to your regular dental hygiene routine, the Antioxidant Oral Care System from PerioSciences involves brushing with AO ProToothpaste and rinsing with AO ProRinse, morning and night. Dr. Hubbard notes this product line also contains the cavity-fighting ingredient xylitol.

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  4. 4. GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device

    This GLO Science whitening kit combines specially formulated mint-flavored gel with LED technology to whiten teeth in five to ten days. Apply a thin layer of the gel to top and bottom teeth and place the LED mouthpiece over it for four consecutive eight-minute sessions.

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  5. 5. 6 Minutes to a Whiter Smile
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    5. 6 Minutes to a Whiter Smile

    Featuring five different products in one kit that each take less than two minutes, Supersmile offers a quick multi-step whitening system, from Professional Activating Rods that clean and prepare the teeth to a New Generation Toothbrush for precise application.

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Freelance Writer

Leigh Maneri

Leigh Maneri is a marketing strategist who lives at the beach but lives for the mountains. Embracing the motto "always go," she is completely at home in a tent with her scrappy brown terrier mix. Leigh seeks natural products and foods to best fuel a life of adventure.