Although there are many options  to whiten teeth, all of the kits you can purchase over the counter are loaded with harmful chemicals. The chemical tooth whiteners typically contain coal tars, aspartame, aluminum, floride and benzene.  The over the counter bleaches also have a very high acidity and are very abrasive which can cause damage to teeth, tooth pain and/or sensitivity, and damage the enamel. Not only are these chemicals harmful to your teeth and gums, the toxic chemicals often leak from the trays or strips and are swallowed or absorbed. As a result of the dangerous side effects and hazards with over the counter whitening, many are now opting to choose methods to naturally whiten teeth.
One thing to be aware of when it comes to whitening teeth is that certain natural whiteners can eradicate enamel. Some teeth whiteners are just not a good idea to use, especially lemon juice. While the lemon peel is actually a good, healthy way to whiten teeth, the juice itself is simply too strong. The acid in the actual lemon juice does great for bleaching clothes, hair and getting stains out of furniture, but you wouldn’t want to put lemon juice on your teeth as a mouth gum cleaner every single day. Eventually, the acid creates tiny holes in your teeth, and then every kind of staining type food will seep into these tiny holes and remain there. The acid from the lemons is so strong it just eventually wears away the teeth, causing cavities.

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Whitening strips revolutionized the industry 10 years ago, as researchers figured out how to impregnate hydrogen peroxide on a polyethylene strip that the user places directly on the teeth. This product has existed in several iterations over the years. The various types of strips have differed in terms of the level of hydrogen peroxide in the gel to modifications in the shape and thicknesses of the strip. The efficacy is excellent for an OTC product, but you must be cautious not to burn your fingers or rest the strip on the gums, as this will cause irritation over time. If you are patient and compliant, you’ll see results in a few weeks. This method is best if you have two weeks to whiten.
You can also try a few home remedies to whiten your teeth, though not all dentists recommend them. Brushing the teeth with baking soda can produce slightly lighter shades. You can also brush with no greater than 10% strength hydrogen peroxide. For drug store methods, gel kits are thought most effective, and brush on teeth whitener the least. However, with minimal tooth yellowing, over the counter remedies are less expensive than dental whitening, and may provide you with the lighter shade you desire.
Vicky / Lisa. I am coming in a little late here but you should not experience any staining on veneers assuming they are porcelain. This is a glass like material and does not have the porous finish of tooth enamel (which also does not stain). I totally understand your reluctance though. Charcoal (activated only) can still absorb any form of discolouration and other bio-film from veneers.
I think that using baking soda is a time honored classic. I have heard all growing up that it would be a good alternative to toothpaste and could help keep them whiter. So, I do brush with it every now and then, I just hate the taste. I will have to try some of your other suggestions though. The most intriguing being the use of clay powder. Thanks.

H2O2 shouldn’t be used orally if you have amalgam fillings as it reacts and releases the mercury vapors!! I also have heard that the inside of a banana peel works to whiten (also GREAT for itchy insect bites) and activated charcoal…apply from capsule with a designated brush, leave on for a few minutes then rinse. It is said to stain sink, clothing, brush, but whitens teeth really well…just wear a black top!
Thank you for stopping by to offer your input to this conversation. Thank goodness we all don’t want the same thing, right? I suppose I’m much more cautious and dubious of the dental profession than you express here. Given that the dental profession still sings the praises of fluoride and mercury amalgam fillings despite tremendous research proving their dangers, I’m frankly not sure the reasoning you pose here is sound (from my humble, yet very opinionated opinion).
You can also whiten your teeth at home with gels that are placed in mouth guards and worn at night. This is often the same procedure a dentist uses to whiten your teeth, but the peroxide level is weaker in over the counter kits. Further, mouth guards are custom made for people at the dentist. Finding a mouth guard that fits properly may be problematic with over the counter sets.

It makes sense that apple cider vinegar (ACV), which effectively works as a natural antibiotic and teeth/gum cleanser, would also be able to remove stubborn stains on the teeth. ACV is especially helpful for removing stains due to common culprits like coffee and nicotine (smoking). Some report that after using ACV it looks like you just got your teeth professionally cleaned!
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