Why Natural Teeth Whitening Products Don’t Work and Best Options

Least Toxic Teeth Whitening Options

A beauty queen’s secrets to looking youthful without toxic products, Part 5!

Proper mineralization of teeth help them look whiter; this the desire for white teeth may stem from the fact that it’s perceived as a sign of health.

Teeth whitening has been another big challenge for me, because some people naturally have more translucent teeth, and I’m one of those people. My teeth don’t have that opaque bright white look. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and others with this condition have also complained about their teeth, so this may be one of the many effects it causes. I wrote a post about my experience having this syndrome. This also may have to do with mineralization of the teeth.

I think we all should know that most celebrities have veneers or other cosmetic dentistry that gives them super white teeth all the time, and realize that kind of look isn’t easily attainable.

I have looked up and tried all kinds of tips claiming to help whiten teeth naturally (with household items), and I don’t believe any of them work beyond surface stains. This is explained more below, along with what products I have used that did work.

This post is NOT sponsored in any way, and I don’t sell any products such as MLM.

This post may contain Amazon Associates affiliate links, that I may earn small amounts from if you click them. See the bottom of this page for more details. This doesn’t create bias because I’m not creating my recommendations based on a payment from specific products.

See Other Parts of this Series:

Part 1: Skincare, Cleansing, and Exfoliating, which contains an introduction to the whole series.

Part 2: Mitigating Wrinkles, Plus Alternatives to Botox, Fillers, Facelifts, Medspas

Part 3: Minimal Makeup for Maximum Impact, Including Eyelashes and Eyebrows

Part 4: Hair Volume and Curls Without Toxic Products

This will be an 8 part series so stay tuned! The posts will have both videos and additional written material.

Video for Part 5:

Video is available on YouTube, embedded below. A shorter version is also available on Facebook and other social media. Note that I got interrupted while filming, so I have much more written information below to add to it. YouTube can be convenient because because with the YouTube app you can listen/ watch it while you do other things on your phone. It’s possible to do this on Facebook as long as you stay on the app.

Products Described in the Video:

I talked about natural products that may help scrub away “surface stains.” These aren’t actually whitening enamel, because enamel is actually clear. These include baking soda, activated charcoal, and whitening toothpastes. The only one of these that I recommend is baking soda. I’ve heard that activated charcoal might be able to leave gray stains on your teeth! I mentioned that the Primal White system didn’t work for me.

If you don’t want to use anything toxic to whiten your teeth, those are basically your options. I mentioned in the video that peroxide is the only surefire way to whiten (not just lighten) teeth, but I do have to warn that peroxide products are acidic and not good for your teeth or gums! Peroxide permeates enamel to bleach the teeth. The first stage of whitening from these products can actually be the result of de-mineralization of your teeth.

The higher the percentage of peroxide, the more likely you will get negative effects such as tooth sensitivity. Products marketed as “express” “professional/ extra strength” or that are advertised to work in a short span of time usually have higher percentages.

The most detrimental peroxide percentages are found in the whitening treatments given by dentists. There are regulations that allow dentists to use a higher percentage than products sold direct to consumers. Note that in other countries, they have stricter regulations that limit the percentages even more than in the USA.

Also note that many “natural” whitening tips call for brushing or using hydrogen peroxide like a mouthwash. I don’t recommend that because as I said, it isn’t good for your gums.

So if you choose to use peroxide because you really want whiter teeth (but knowing the dangers), the safest way to use it is to use the lowest percentage you can find (products marketed for sensitive teeth are usually a lower percentage). But keep in mind, you’ll have to use it over a longer span of time (weeks vs days). Also, minimize contact with your gums and mouth interior using the tips below. And don’t whiten your teeth too often. I Another way I reduce exposure is I don’t bother to whiten my lower teeth at all because they don’t show when I smile.

I have personally purchased all of the following, unless noted. All links are Amazon Associates links:

This is similar to the gel I painted onto my teeth: Day White Excel 3 ACP 9.5% Teeth Whitening: https://amzn.to/3OC8rkk

This is the lowest concentration of peroxide I could find from this brand on Amazon. If you choose to use a stronger percentage, they are available in up to 22% on Amazon. It has been a few years since I used this, and they have changed their formula. I can no longer find all the ingredients listed anywhere, so you might want to contact the brand to inquire, because it is important to look at all of them. At the time I used it, this brand had the fewest “inactive” ingredients. I do know the new formula contains Potassium Nitrate and Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) as sensitivity reducers.

Definitely avoid any generic peroxide gels or other whitening products, because of the increased risk of undisclosed ingredients of questionable origin.

I mentioned that I painted the gel on my teeth. I then snapped in my clear plastic retainer for my upper teeth, because when I didn’t, I think the gel gets too much oxygen and doesn’t work as well. To minimize getting the the gel from spreading far over my gums or throughout my mouth, I also kept my mouth from shutting by using these Dental Cheek Retractors: https://amzn.to/498AEYc

I have to admit, the whitening gel didn’t work that well for me, but as I said, I have hard to whiten teeth. So with the understanding of the drawbacks and toxicity of peroxide, inactive ingredients, and the plastic material of the strips, I will say that “whitestrip” type of products do work for me. I use them very infrequently; and only a few times total. These can be used with the cheek retractors to minimize the spreading of the gel around your mouth, but I have found that the strips I used more recently aren’t slimy like they were 10 or so years ago when I first tried them.

I’m also going to be totally honest and share that I didn’t go with the low concentration strips. After disappointment with products not being effective for me, I really wanted something that was going to work. I can never remember to use them every day as directed, so I figure that helps a little.

And I haven’t used them at all in a while. When I was more active in pageantry and attending lots of charity events and things, I was more concerned with the whiteness of my teeth. But now I have dialed those events back a bit, and since I don’t drink coffee, tea, wine or other highly staining beverages, I don’t have a huge issue with discoloration.

At the time I used these, I did look into the inactive ingredients and they weren’t as bad as some other brands.

Crest 3D Whitestrips: https://amzn.to/4bqZx2Z

Rembrandt Whitening Strips: https://amzn.to/4bzM1tY

A brand that is marketed as less toxic (but contains Carbomer and Carboxymethyl, which are toxic) and doesn’t have peroxide is Lumineux. I haven’t tried it because of all I said above about what ingredients have been shown to effectively whiten: https://amzn.to/3HVZZZw

More Tips Not in the Video:

🦷 Other natural ways to make your teeth appear more white is to maintain the minerals in your teeth that reflect light to make them appear whiter. This tip is also great for dieting: Don’t snack. Every time you eat, you increase acidity in your mouth and dilute saliva (saliva is important for re-mineralizing teeth). Also avoid drinking soda, juice, energy drinks, etc. as sugar feeds bacteria that acidifies the mouth. Acid causes loss of minerals. Pregnancy has a lot of factors that change the pH and raise acidity of the mouth, and that’s why many women complain of teeth issues afterwards.

🦷 Using Zylitol after meals and before bed can help your teeth look smoother and shinier. See my toothpaste article for the mouthwash I use.

🦷 Be sure to brush the back side of your teeth (the side that faces the inside of your mouth and touches your tongue) because discoloration on that side can still show through from the front, especially if your teeth are more transparent.

🦷 Are you looking for a non-toxic toothpaste? Unfortunately, I haven’t found ANY toothpaste that I consider 💯 non-toxic or problematic. I explain more about that and share what I use to brush my teeth in this post.

🦷 I got so fed up with teeth whitening that I tried removable/ press on/ snap on veneers! I figured this would long lasting, convenient, and less toxic than whitening products. They weren’t everything I hoped they would be, but they can be a good temporary solution if you need white teeth from afar and won’t be doing much talking. Parades or pageants on stage are good examples.

Unfortunately when I would speak with them in place, it gave me a bit of a lisp, even if I only wore the top and not the bottom. This may be because I have a particularly small mouth.

The companies I tried were Instasmile and Brighter Image Lab, both shown in the picture below. I greatly preferred the Brighter Image Lab veneers. The Instasmile ones amplified everything I don’t like about my teeth: Ridges, roundness, and making the two front teeth longer than the rest. Both brands make my teeth look a lot bigger. If you have small or missing teeth, these could work well for you.

They can cost up to nearly $2,500, so be sure to make sure whatever company you are ordering them from is willing to work with your preferences for how the final product will look. I sort of assumed that the companies would just know how to idealize my teeth, but Instasmile told me they made the front two teeth longer on purpose. And a couple of the teeth on the Brighter Image Labs were sort of slanted more than I liked.

Comparing both brands:

My natural teeth:
Wearing Instasmile:
Wearing Brighter Image Lab:

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***Thank you for visiting Clean Green Toxicant Free! I started this site simply because I want to help people and share information. I dig deep tand seek the most truly non-toxic products, without bias. I am not paid to write anything and I don’t sell anything. In 2022 I became an Amazon Associate, which does NOT bias my recommendations. I may earn small dividends from purchases made after clicking my clearly labeled links (even if you don’t buy those specific items), which is used to cover the costs of maintaining this site. More info is on the About This Website page.***

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