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Diana Vilic

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

How to whiten your teeth (without over the counter products!)

  • 7:27:00 PM
  • by

I'll admit it, I was that girl. The one who was obsessed with whitening my teeth. The way I figured, white teeth were a sign of beauty. And I'm sure they are. But, are they really worth the damage? Answer (and seriously take this from me) ABSOLUTELY NOT...at least not without a dentists supervision.

When I say I was into whitening my teeth, I mean I followed instructions down to every detail on the back of whitening gels and trays. I even went longer in between uses, than they recommended. Why? Because there was no chance I wanted to damage my teeth. Guess what I did during my brief 3 month whitening spree... I still ended up damaging the crap out of my teeth.

On the color scale, my teeth are a A1. Which is the whitest my teeth can get in their natural state. My teeth before whitening were probably an A3. So honestly, not a major change but it was enough for me. As a child I used to drink soda like water, and my addiction to coffee and tea didn't help the coloring of my teeth.

Disclaimer: I'm not qualified to tell you what the best way to take care of your teeth is, how to whiten them or what procedures are best for you. All I'm doing is providing information on what worked for me, and none of the things listed (to my knowledge) damage teeth in any way if done correctly. If you are considering OTC whitening or in office whitening, consult your dentist.

Why over the counter Whitening Sucks:

  • It's not approved. Most over the counter whitening aren't ADA approved or FDA regulated. It's worth mentioning that some whitening products do have the ADA seal of approval on them.
  • Doesn't whiten crowns, fillings, or other restorative work.
  • Some people don't see any improvement. There's no guarantee when you whiten your teeth. Some people can jump 4-5 shades, well others don't see any improvement. (Once again, why it's best to consult your dentist before you do any whitening).
  • Some treatments are very harsh and can actually strip your tooth's enamel.
  • Because you're not doing these treatments under anyone's supervision, it's easy to over use it and cause damage that can only be corrected with expensive dental treatments.
  • Side effects include but are not limited to gum irritation, staining of enamel, uneven whitening, and damage to tooth (that could lead to root canal therapy).
  • Only whitens surface stains

Non-Whitening, Whitening Methods:

Regular Cleanings & Flossing:

The best way to deal with yellowing teeth is to prevent it before it even happens. When plaque hardens it creates calculus, which doesn't respond to whitening treatments at all and can only be covered. Regular cleanings, checkups and good oral hygiene practices not only keep your teeth healthy, but also looking great.

Blue-Based Lipstick:

This is honestly one of my favorite tips. Basic color theory, blue is opposite of yellow on the color wheel. Therefore canceling out the yellow in your teeth, causing them to look brighter. You can go to any makeup counter and ask for blue based lipsticks, and some brands even have whole lines devoted to blue based shades.

My favorite blue-based lipsticks are: Clinique Different Lipstick in Glazed Berry. Revlon Color Burst in Cupcake, and L'oreal Infallible Le Rouge Lipcolor in Tender Berry

Cut back on colored drinks:

Everything in moderation is key. I cut out soda completely out of my diet almost two years ago. Since then, I still drink coffee and tea everyday. But, I also drink 5-6 bottles of water a day. And I've only drank drinks that contain food coloring a handful of times. Nothing is wrong with enjoying your favorite drinks (in moderation), but you should drink some water in between to avoid coloring (and sticking of plaque). Also, brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming colored drinks to ensure that they don't leave stains.

Avoid the baking soda trick:

Baking soda is very abrasive and will actually wear down your enamel, making your teeth appear duller and darker.

Instead...try oil pulling. I've never actually done this, but I have friends who swear by it and have gotten some pretty great results from it.  

Use fluoride based toothpaste:

Fluoride helps remineralize your enamel, which is the clear coating on your teeth that helps prevent against cavities and keeps your teeth looking white. You can ask your dentist for a stronger grade fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse that helps remineralize teeth.

Create contrast:

  • Using bronzer to contour your face gives you a natural glow and makes teeth appear white. 
  • Using a lipliner and lip gloss around the lips helps give the appearance of white teeth because they create contrast. 
  • Contour the shape of your mouth to draw more attention to your teeth.
  • Making your eyes pop against the skin, can also make your teeth stand out.
  • Wear darker clothing (avoid shades of white) to make your teeth appear whiter in photos.

Notice my teeth as a blonde are white, but no where near as white as my teeth as a brunette. Despite being the same shade. I'm not saying to dye your hair jet black, but it just goes to show that a little contrast goes a long way.

Eat crunchy fruits & Veggies:

You may think that eating crunchy foods would break your teeth, but it actually helps scrape away plaque before it even has a chance to harden. (Remember an apple a day keeps the doctor away.)

Avoid warm instagram filters:

This tip won't whiten your teeth, but it'll make everyone think you have white teeth. Instead of using warm filters, opt for cooler tones to cancel out any yellow your smile may give off. Notice above, the photo on right has the appearance of whiter teeth. Despite the fact that my teeth are the same shade in both photos, the warm hue on the left brings out any yellow my teeth give off.

Marketing student with a focus in visual marketing with a addiction to coffee.


  1. I find that those white strips make my teeth really sensitive. I usually get my teeth professionally whitened

  2. Interesting post. xx


  3. Thanks for the tips! I definitely struggle with whitening my teeth, because of some dental problems, I have to put my whitening on hold for a bit, and it's so irritating!

    Angelina Is

  4. I've been getting into teeth whitening a little too but three tricks I think work best are whitening pens, crest white strips, and coconut oil being swirled around in your mouth. I forgot the term for the coconut oil but I hope you know what I'm saying LOL


  5. These are all really great tips!! I've used the baking soda trick before because I heard that it worked but I stopped after I noticed my teeth started looking a bit matte (I guess it was starting to break down my enamel) and I got paranoid about putting baking soda in my mouth haha. Thanks for the tips :)


  6. I'm happy you mentioned the soda trick as I've heard it's very dangerous and your teeth can get seriously damaged


  7. Great post! :)


  8. That guide is really helpful, and I don't like actaul withenings methods, I'm afraid they would demage my teeth!


  9. I have never tried any products to whiten my teeth. These tip are really helpful without actually doing anything drastic!

    Sarah | sarahanne14.blogspot.com

  10. great post :) It was very intressting to read :)


  11. lol that quotes makes me laugh ! It is so true ! Nice tips, thanks for sharing :D

    Follow me on GFC, I always follow back.


  12. These are great tips! I have found it's true what you say about oral hygiene. As I floss my teeth more, they seem to get whiter because I'm taking a lot of the plaque away. I love how you include tips on actually whitening teeth but also on how to make them appear white on a daily basis :)
    Brooke | brookewrote

  13. This is an AMAZING post! I agree with the tips 100%. xx


  14. nice teeth whitening tips! I need to cut back on my coffee again haha..


  15. Great Xx
    Thanks for sharing your tips
    I was going to actually get my teeth whitened as well thanks for letting me know the disadvantages


  16. Oh don't get me started on this subject I HATE my teeth.

    Allie of ALLIE NYC

  17. really helpful!! <3 have been thinking about getting my teeth whitened so this post was perfect!
    Chloe xx

  18. These are really great tips! I hate how yellow my teeth can look, but I'm afraid of damaging them through whitening. Thanks for sharing these!
    xo Kiki

  19. These are actually great tips! I must try oil pulling sometime.


  20. Great tips, I never use over the counter stuff either but have used baking soda in the past (which I will now stop). I need to try oil pulling but the thought of doing that just puts me off x

    Beauty with charm

  21. Very interesting post -thank you for sharing your tips :) I have heard of oil pulling but have never actually done it myself xx

    Brenda BusyBee

  22. Good post! You very cool!
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  23. I'm actually planning on whitening my teeth over the next week but I'm a little nervous now haha! I've heard oil pulling is good though, if all else fails I'll give that a shot!


  24. I had no idea about blue based lipsticks but I'll have to check them out!

    Corinne x

  25. Some really great tips! I've never heard of oil pulling. I'll have to look into it.


  26. This is a very informative post. Thanks!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  27. Great tips! I have never heard of using blue based lipstick, but it definitely seems like it would help create that "white" contrast with the teeth
    Dresses & Denim

  28. lovely post darling <3




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  29. Oh this is very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    The Bandwagon Chic | Instagram | Bloglovin

  30. I've always stayed away from whitening products that you can get in regular drugstores - which was apparently for a good reason, now that I've read your warnings about them!
    I'm also glad that I never tried the baking soda method that so many people recommended ... it has just always seemed a little scary to me ^.^''
    Your whitening alternatives are so helpful, though!


  31. Interesting post and very cute photos)

  32. Great post!! I had never thought of blue based lipsticks giving the illusion of having whiter teeth!! Lovely pics xx

  33. thanks for the amazing post dear....


  34. These are some great tips. Ever since I got my braces off I've been obsessed with my teeth looking good- it's bad! xo

  35. Very nice pictures and tips! You look very beautiful and it's so good that you take care of your teeth, they look great! I don't like soda or coffee, tea! Well done, keep the healthy habits, it's always good! I am following you on bloglovin now!

  36. Very interesting post, thanks for sharing.

  37. I'm not a fan of over-the-counter whitening solutions either but I've never had it done professionally. I just try to take good care of my teeth so thanks for your helpful tips!


  38. Very informative!! Thanks for sharing. I'm contemplating on starting oil pulling!! Thanks for the visit.

  39. Very informative!! I hate those whitening strips, they are hard to use and sloppy. Thanks for all the tips.

    ~ xo Sheree
    IG: @poshclassymom

  40. Great post, lady! I've definitely noticed a difference in my teeth if I drink too much dark tea/red wine- you have to be careful!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  41. these tips are so handy! Love them. Especially the ones about blue based lippies and the insta filters :)

    Pam Scalfi♥

  42. I used to use white strips all the time but it makes my teeth so sensitive now. Cutting back on the coffee has really helped keep my teeth white. Great tips!


  43. This is a great post and especially as you've drawn from your own experiences! I had braces for about four years and have only now got my teeth back to looking how I'd like them to - having said that, I'm keen to try teeth whitening soon, although after reading this I may just go via my dentist as opposed to over-the-counter routes.. thank you! :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice


  44. what a great tip! i drink lots of coffee so this was very helpful :)

  45. Thanks for the tips! Contrast and lip color definitely help teeth appear whiter and brighter.
    I used whitening strips a few years ago and they definitely made a difference. I just maintain with whitening toothpaste with fluoride now and am happy with that routine. I have to grab a few tubes of blue based lipstick now!

    little luxury list formerly Chic 'n Cheap Living

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