"It's like taking a nap on that little rug when you were in kindergarten."

How Not to do Home Whitening. Are My Teeth as Shiny as a Star?

mj, teeth, whitening

“Are my teeth as shiny as a star?”
(Daughter’s question to my wife when she was a child.)

Okay, does the cost of teeth whitening seem outrageous to anyone else? Or am I just being cheap? Perhaps, it’s a bit of both.

I never really paid any attention to whether my teeth were white or not, until the last few years. On tv and out-and-about town, “smiley faces” taunt me with whitening-bedazzled enamel. Compared to the snow-white teeth I see everywhere, this is making my chompers look more like yellow kernels-of-corn.

So, I’ve decided it’s time to step up my oral hygiene and go on a low-budget whitening regime.

3 “Fail-Safe” ways NOT to conduct whitening at home:

1. Brush your teeth 14 times a day with regular toothpaste.
Sure it takes time. Doesn’t anything that yields great results? Do you think the Olympic athletes got there by doing something once, or even three times, a day? I didn’t think so.

whitening, toothpaste, bacon, yum

2. Kiwi Shoe Whitener
If it works for shoes, it’ll work for teeth, right? Apply carefully, buff with with smooth cotton cloth, and repeat to achieve desired whitening. No need to spit-shine, that’s already built in. Just be careful not to get it on your gums.

Whitening, shoe white, Kiwi

3. Wite Out
We’ve all used it on mistakes we’ve made on paper, so why not on our teeth? That tiny little brush will be perfect for those little pearly whites. Apply smoothly to eliminate brushstrokes, and whatever you do, don’t swallow it.

wite out, teeth, whitening

Don’t even get me started about the cost of braces.

You can tell from that photo, above, that I need orthodontics quite badly. But that’s a whole different post. :)


Are your teeth as shiny as a star?

Have you had your teeth professionally whitened?

Can you suggest any proven home whitening solutions?

Am I asking too many questions?

Do 4 out of 5 dentists really recommend Trident?


  1. Judy Berman says:

    I sympathize with your white-enamel fixation, Michael. It seems just about everyone has a dazzling smile. A dentist did whiten mine a few years ago and I liked the result.

    No home-grown method has ever worked. I’ve tried baking soda … or, was it baking powder? Maybe, that was the problem.

  2. Well thanks a lot, MJ. There goes the whole White Out plan. :)

    I’m not sure where I read this ( it’s been a while ago), but the natural color for teeth is NOT bright white. That’s just something Hollywood started. Of course, corn yellow isn’t anything we should aim for either. :)

    • Oops…I need some sleep! I forgot…baking soda mixed with peroxide helps whiten teeth. You don’t want to use it often though.

      Also, Google ‘oil pulling.’ A lot of people claim that it not only helps them feel better, but it whitens their teeth, too. The only caution there is that it can dislodge some fillings…which is why I’ve never tried it. :)

      • I looked up oil pulling. Very interesting – swishing with sunflower or sesame oil, for 15-20 min before eating. Wow. Does the swishing dislodge the fillings?

        • Yeah, I don’t think corn yellow is a good look for anyone…

          As far as dislodging the fillings, yes, I’ve seen comments from people on the Earth Clinic website that have complained about that. I’ve wondered if the swishing doesn’t work up some kind of suction, moving the filling material just enough so some of the oil works under them. I imagine that could loosen them a bit. That’s just my theory. No clue, but just for the detox aspect, I wish I liked my dentist more than I do. :)

    • It’s just that corn yellow I’m trying to avoid. :)

    • >Also, Google ‘oil pulling.’ A lot of people claim that it not only helps them feel better, but it whitens their teeth, too.
      – Thanks for that tip, Kristy!

      When I visited my dentist 4 months ago, he sounced me about my receding gums. I looked into preventing that and came across oil pulling with sesame oil for receding gums. Did it for a month and gave up in boredom thinking I could live with a receding …. gumline. 😉

      Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ve eyeballed ‘oil pulling’ as you suggested and I’ve found there are a whole lot of *other* (supposed) health benefits. Time to renew my resolve once more.

      Also interesting to see that any edible oil can be used. I use organic coconut oil as a moisturiser [and smell like a Tahitian pearl …. not! ], so I’m seriously considering giving oil pulling another shot. After I’ve read up a little more.

      >The only caution there is that it can dislodge some fillings…which is why I’ve never tried it.
      – Rinsing can exert a surprising amount of pressure in the oral cavity. I remember my dentist telling me years ago after an extraction, to rinse by swishing the water gently instead of the standard suck ‘n puff gargle because the suction force could unplug the clot that was forming.

      MJ, thanks for yet another lesson. :-)


      • Wow, I can’t believe you tried that oil pulling thing! It sounded interesting based on the positive side effects. You’ll have to let us know if you restart the regimen. :)

        Hmm, any edible oil can be used. I might have to try it. Good point about not swishing too hard. I forgot about that whole releasing the clot thing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My African American students would ridicule me re my teeth. African people and descendants have beautiful white teeth. But we Europeans have teeth of yellow, gray and brown.

  4. Do you know what I saw on an episode of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding? (Yes, I watch that vapid crap)….a woman brushing her teeth with straight bleach. No way!!!! On a related note, I have found that Arm & Hammer makes a whitening booster that works really,really well! You put it on your brush with your normal toothpaste!

    • Um, straight bleach?? That’s crazy and not too good on the enamel. I’m gonna have to check out that whitening booster. That sounds simple enough. Thanks, Tricia.

  5. sunshine says:

    so, so, sorry to bring this bad news to you MJ but my dentist told me if you want to have pearly whites, you have to stop with the coffee, tea and dark colored soda drinks. my eyes vaporized in front of him and i felt life was draining slowly from me. thankfully his assistant, such a kind woman, whispered to me on the side, just use Crest 3D toothpaste and the rinse (daily ) and if possible, after you drink the dark colored drinks, rinse out your mouth with water. of course, if you can carry your 3D white mouth rinse, use that.
    Either way you go, keeping white is dang expensive but it’s either give up the dark drinks or die with white teeth. what would you prefer??? Hand me a cup of coffee will ya…

    • I have heard that as well, Sunshine. And this is another reason I don’t want to spend a couple hundred dollars on whitening. I drink coffee, diet soda, and tea – woops! I’m using Crest 3D right now also. :)

      Cheers, my friend! *tap coffee mugs together*

  6. Personally I think teeth give character. When they are too straight or white all of that just leaves. My kids are obsessed with their teeth. both had braces, but both had bottom teeth that have shifted…my husband has the same shift. They now want retainers to re-correct the teeth….um, yea I already paid for one European vacation for the orthodontist, it’s my turn!
    I love the White-Out idea. It’s quick, easy & convenient.

    • Interesting about the braces and the teeth shifting. We have friends whose kids are getting braces for the second time (kids are older and paying for it themselves). I don’t remember this in the “old days”. :)

      I have not had braces, but desperately need them to ‘un-crowd’ my teeth. They keep cracking because of how tightly they’re jammed together.

      MLB agrees with you 100% about teeth giving character. It’s the first thing she noticed about me after the huge, I mean, dainty nose that I have. :)

  7. Over a decade ago, I looked into (read: researched by reading) teeth whitening and decided the cons outweighed the pros for me.

    And I agree with Lisa above who said:

    >Personally I think teeth give character. When they are too straight or white all of that just leaves.

    The following lines made me smile.

    >No need to spit-shine, that’s already built in.
    >We’ve all used it on mistakes we’ve made on paper, so why not on our teeth?
    – Clever.


    • MLB thinks teeth give character as well. She’s a huge teeth person. “Look at how interesting his teeth are.” You know …

      Mine definitely aren’t straight. They’re overlapping all over the place.

      Yeah, the most I’ll probably do is the whitening toothpaste. :)
      Character it is!

  8. Your teeth are just fine MJ. Teeth aren’t supposed to be white. The enamel is more ivory than anything. I find the over-whitened look to be blinding and fake and disingenuous. I am often complimented on my bright smile, but it’s not the colour (I’ve not whitened them). It’s that my teeth are HUGE.

    • Should the color be on the yellow side of ivory, though, Julie. :)

      I like your use of the word disingenuous. The uber-white smile is too much.

      And you do have a great smile.

  9. After a life so far of coffee, red wine and for a while tobacco I’ve decided that pearly whites belong in magazines along with all the airbrushed skinny ninnies. I like my smile just the way it is (complete with missing molar up the back due to a dodgy dentist way back when)!
    As for whitening toothpastes, I think they all have baking soda in them and yes, over use (or IMO any use) results in you literally brushing your teeth away.
    There are better uses for my limited financial resources … like more red wine for instance :)
    And your teeth look pretty white already!

    • I think you may be right, my friend. I drink quite a bit of coffee and way too much Diet Pepsi, Coke, or Root Beer.

      I’ve heard that about baking soda as well.

      Yeah, they’re a yellowish ivory right now, but c’est la vie, eh?

  10. I drink milk to counteract the effects of coffee. I figure milk is white so it shouldn’t stain, right? There are so many home remedies it’s ridiculous. The Crest Whitestrips don’t work like they say either. Unless we strike it rich and can afford those crazy whitening treatments, I guess we’re out of luck..

    • Hey Tina, thanks for stopping by. Like your blog BTW. Just wanted to let you know I’m taking a break from FB for awhile so no need to stop by and check my posts there. hehehe

      Hmm, I like your “scientific research” on the use of milk to counteract coffee. :)
      Well, I think you’re right, we’re out of luck.

  11. I love white teeth. It’s just that I don’t like going to the dentist. So I’m hesitant to put anything on a tooth that would weaken the enamel. I wish I could luxuriate in veneers.

  12. Hey…I forgot to mention something. For anyone thinking of trying the oil pulling, I understand that you want to be VERY careful to not swallow any of the oil when you’re finished. Rinse your mouths out really well, too. Apparently it pulls enough toxins out that it’s just not a wise idea to ingest it. :)

    • Oh great, I swallowed all those toxins, now??

      J/K, KK! I haven’t tried it yet, but I just might have to.

      Do you think one can go 5,000 miles between and oil pull?? hehehe

  13. It’s funny, Daisy deer won’t have anything to do with us if we have put on cologne, perfume, fingernail polish, deoderant, brushed our teeth or used hairspray (I don’t use the stuff but FD does!). Anything chemical-based, she turns her nose up to. I have never had the desire to whiten my teeth. I guess most of my life if something didn’t feel right in my gut, I just didn’t do it no matter what my friends or society pushed. I think it’s all a little crazy, these cosmetic fixes for a more perfect look. Call me a hillbilly girl, but to me, less is more. I think Daisy knows her stuff. Whitened teeth… what the crap?? I did have orthodontics when I was 30. I looked like a vampire before that… did a world of good for my self esteem. And… it felt good in my gut!!

    • I’m totally with you on the less is more, EXCEPT I have to have my shower and deodorant. I actually don’t even comb my hair. As for the whitening, if it impacts the enamel, I’m not down with that. Too caustic if that’s the case. I’m typically not a do what everyone else is doing (except I love to be up on the latest movies and technology) unless it puts me so far behind the pack.

      I think you’re so right about simplifying. That’s why so many people end up going back to the basics when life becomes overwhelming. And I definitely wouldn’t call you a hillbilly girl. You’re way to practical and smart for the traditional definition of that word!

  14. I had a friend whose bought a kit to whiten her teeth. She mixed all the ingredients and poured them into a mouth guard, but since she was going to a wedding she wanted her teeth REALLY impressively white and left it in MUCH longer that the directions warned. The mix hardened and her husband had to “chip” the guard off her teeth…he also chipped a tooth.
    Nope, since then I’ve never been tempted, but I’m still smiling at your examples.

    • Oh my gosh, Marylin, I’ve never heard of that happening. That’s horrible. And to have to chip it off … What a nightmare for your friend. And a chipped tooth, too? Wow.

      I’ll log this in to my memory in case I ever use the mouth guard.

  15. I read in a magazine that people shouldn’t whiten their teeth beyond the whiteness of their eyes (i.e. that the relative whiteness of teeth and eyes should match). Too bad my eyes are always so bloodshot in the summer months from lack of sleep… does this mean I should stain my teeth red with wine so that my teeth and eyes ‘match’?

    On a more serious note, apparently strawberries are a great home remedy for teeth whitening. It seems counter-intuitive, but a specific acid in the strawberry juice keeps teeth white and pearly. Hope you’re having a great summer so far, MJ!

    • Wow, another Dana comment that I missed. I’m now officially depressed for missing like seven of your comments. This one’s only two months old, so no worries, right?

      Okay, interesting on the teeth and eyes. Mine are about the same. My teeth and eyes are not very white.

      Strawberries seem to be the overwhelming home remedy. I should try that sometime.

      I had a great summer, how about you?

Love to hear from you.

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