There are plenty of rumors floating around about the best at-home teeth whitening methods. While some actually do whiten surface-level stains, most wind up doing more harm to teeth than good. We’re here to help you find the most effective and safe ways to make your smile bright without breaking the bank.

Watch Out For These "At Home Teeth Whitening" Myths Baking

Baking Soda

Because of its versatility, baking soda has become a popular solution in teeth whitening mythos. While baking soda can be great for cleaning and cooking, it should not be used as a whitening agent. Its chemical properties upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth, and its abrasiveness can damage your tooth enamel. Some surface stains might be removed by baking soda , but the overall health of your teeth and mouth will be diminished.

Hydrogen Peroxide

While hydrogen peroxide can be a quick fix for oral ailments like canker sores, it should never be a frequent visitor to your mouth. When used exclusively and over long periods of time, hydrogen peroxide can severely damage your oral tissues. Hydrogen peroxide should only be part of your teeth-whitening routine as an ingredient of regulated and approved whitening products.

Lemons And Strawberries

Lemons and strawberries are often touted as an affordable teeth-whitening choice due to their acidic properties. These fruits do aid in removing plaques that discolor teeth, but they don’t actually whiten the teeth themselves. More importantly, the acids in strawberries and lemons don’t discriminate between plaques and your all-important enamel. Using such acidic fruits on your teeth repetitively will damage tooth enamel and lead to increased tooth sensitivity and pain.

Banana Peels

While not as acidic as lemons or strawberries, banana peels are also used for their supposed ability to remove surface tooth stains. They will not, however, address the underlying tooth discoloration. Additionally, the sugars in banana peels can start to rot your teeth after long periods of use.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been on-trend as a natural, DIY alternative for all kinds of bodily applications, from tanning oil to hair treatments aimed at achieving “beachy waves.” For teeth, however, there is no scientific evidence backing up claims that swishing coconut oil is an effective whitener. Given the drawbacks of other fruit-based whitening methods, it is probably best to stay away from this trend.


Turmeric is abrasive like baking soda, which is why many have tried using it as a teeth-whitening solution. While it doesn’t upset the bacterial balance of your mouth as much, using Tumeric still comes with a great risk of enamel damage. Plus, it tends to be messy and have a strange taste — a drawback in and of itself.

Whitening Toothpaste, Gel, Or Gum

While the ingredients in whitening toothpaste and gums can whiten teeth, they are generally too weak to be truly effective. Additionally, the key to having success with tooth whitening products is that they stay in contact with your teeth for extended periods of time (usually 20 minutes or more). The tooth brushing and rinsing process only lasts a few minutes at most and chewing gum doesn’t last much longer.

Gels, on the other hand, can be more effective but also more detrimental for people with sensitive teeth. Unless you buy a gel specifically designed for sensitive teeth, you may experience pain and increased sensitivity during the whitening process. Making whitening gel at home can increase this risk further, so it is important to stick with professional gels to ensure you get the same concentration every time.

What Does Work?

Your best and safest bet for at-home teeth whitening is a professionally formulated whitener that is trusted by dentists and orthodontists. Retainers Direct makes access to the best at-home teeth whitening kit easy — all of our kits were developed and approved by practicing orthodontists. Our whitening agents were designed for both sensitive and non-sensitive teeth, so you don’t have to worry about discomfort during or after the whitening process. Our alightener foam can also be used in conjunction with our clear retainers, so you can whiten your teeth day or night. And because it’s also a cleaner/disinfectant for clear retainers, it not only keeps your smile bright but also keeps your retainer sanitized. Ready to try a teeth-whitening solution developed by people who know what works? Check out our teeth-whitening kits or contact us with questions!