Learn 6 tips for at-home DIY teeth whitening, including budget-friendly hacks with banana peels, apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and more.
To celebrate National Smile Week, let's make your smile shine bright like a diamond! You don't have to spend a fortune on an in-office dentist visit. There are so many easy (budget-friendly!) ways to get whiter, brighter teeth at home. Whether you prefer a natural solution (like coconut oil) or want something stronger (like a homemade paste with hydrogen peroxide), these white-hot hacks are foolproof.
Baking soda is made for more than cakes and cookies. You'll see lots of baking soda options in the pharmacy toothpaste aisle, but it's just as effective to do a quick DIY teeth whitening. In your bathroom at home, create a paste by mixing equal parts of baking powder with water. Apply it gently to your teeth in circular motions with a soft, clean toothbrush, or with your finger. When all your teeth are coated, rinse with water or your favorite mouthwash. Do this 2-3 times a week to lighten stains and polish your pearly whites. It also kills bacteria in your mouth, reducing plaque, preventing decay, and most importantly — keeping your breath smooch-ready.
Coconut oil has become a must-have beauty product. It's budget-friendly, easy to find, and smells like a day at the beach. Aside from softening coarse hair and removing makeup, it can whiten your teeth, too. Ever heard of the Indian tradition called "oil pulling"? It helps dissolve toxins, plaque, and bacteria, ultimately giving you a brighter smile. Just swish coconut oil in your mouth for a minute (sunflower or sesame oil work, too). Then, add some crushed peppermint leaves for a less pina colada, more mouth-washy taste. Pro tip: Buy in bulk for maximum savings — a little oil goes a long way, so a family-sized jar will last for a while.
Apple cider vinegar is another pantry workhorse that many people say helps with teeth whitening. There are a couple of different ways you can use ACV in your dental routine. Add some to your homemade whitening paste (use two parts vinegar to one part baking soda) and gargle it a few times a week. Or dilute ACV with water and massage it onto your teeth with a toothbrush, rinsing after.
Skip the compost bin and save your banana peel for bedtime. (You can use citrus peels, too.) Rub the inside of the peel against your teeth for a few minutes — it will act as an exfoliator. Plus, potassium can help lighten surface stains. After you're done, brush your teeth with your regular toothpaste and rinse with mouthwash.
If you're looking for a natural alternative to bleach, hydrogen peroxide is a great option. It works wonders for cleaning, disinfecting, lightening hair, and you guessed it — whitening your choppers. Use it alone as a rinse, or add it to your DIY baking soda toothpaste for an extra dose of whitening power. Swap in hydrogen peroxide for the water in your toothpaste recipe, and be prepared for some fizzing action! Brush it onto your teeth and let it sit for a minute or two before you rinse.
Buying a tube of whitening toothpaste isn't necessarily a hack, but it's an affordable alternative to having your teeth professionally whitened at the dentist's office. According to the Mayo Clinic, whitening toothpaste can help whiten teeth by removing surface stains from your morning coffee, evening wine, or smoking. Keep in mind, though, that whitening toothpastes can't change the natural color of your teeth or lighten deep stains. Look out for sales at your local supermarket or drugstore, and check your weekly Save mailer for additional savings on toothpaste, whitening stripe, mouthwash, and more.