One of the easiest ways to look like a million bucks is to whiten your teeth. But don’t worry — achieving a million-dollar, megawatt, pearly white smile doesn’t have to cost you a million bucks or a hundred bucks or even ten bucks. That’s right, for less than the cost of a tube of toothpaste, you can whiten your teeth! Here are three easy and cheap methods to get you showing off a beautiful smile in no time:
Option #1: Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda Teeth Whitener “Toothpaste”
What You’ll Need:
- Hydrogen Peroxide (e.g., Walgreens Hydrogen Peroxide 3% First Aid Antiseptic — 16oz. bottle ($0.99))
- Baking Soda (e.g., Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda — 1lb. box ($1.00))
- Toothbrush (you can use the toothbrush you’re currently using)
- Small bowl
- Wet your toothbrush under the faucet.
- Pour about 1 ounce of hydrogen peroxide on your damp toothbrush bristles.
- Pour about a half ounce of baking soda into a small bowl. Dip your toothbrush in the baking soda.
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes using this toothbrush like you normally would brush your teeth. The hydrogen peroxide/baking soda mixture should quickly react with the water on your toothbrush to form a gritty paste. Pay special attention to the teeth in the front of your mouth that show when you smile. Do not swallow the mixture.
- Rinse your mouth out with lukewarm water and make sure you completely rinse out your toothbrush with water.
- Repeat this process only once every four months since the baking soda/peroxide mixture can be too abrasive on your teeth if used more frequently.
Total Cost: $1.99 for at least 16 uses, which amounts to $0.12 per use
Option #2: Lemon and Salt Teeth Whitener “Toothpaste”
What You’ll Need:
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (e.g., Realemon 100% Lemon Juice from Concentrate — 4.5oz. bottle ($1.45))
- 1 teaspoon of table salt (e.g., Morton Iodized Salt — 26oz. container ($1.00))
- Toothbrush (you can use the toothbrush your currently using)
- Small bowl
- Pour 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of table salt into a small bowl and mix together.
- Wet your toothbrush and then dip into the mixture.
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes using this toothbrush like you normally would brush your teeth. Pay special attention to the teeth that show when you smile. Make sure to avoid swallowing the mixture.
- Rinse your mouth out with lukewarm water and rinse out your toothbrush with water.
Total Cost: $2.45 for at least 27 uses, which amounts to $0.09 per use
Option #3: Lemon and Salt Teeth Whitener “Mouthwash”
What You’ll Need:
- 1 ounce of lemon juice (e.g., Realemon 100% Lemon Juice from Concentrate — 4.5oz. bottle ($1.45))
- 1.5 teaspoons of table salt (e.g., Morton Iodized Salt — 26oz. container ($1.00))
- Small cup
- Pour 1 ounce of lemon juice and 1.5 ounces of table salt into a small cup and mix thoroughly.
- Swish the mixture around in your mouth for 30 seconds like you normally would mouthwash and then spit it out. Do not swallow the mixture.
- If desired, rinse your mouth out with water.
Total Cost: $2.45 for at least 4 uses, which amounts to $0.61 per use
*Important: Do not use any of these homemade teeth whitening recipes without first consulting your dentist.
Simple Ways to Keep Your Teeth White:
So you’ve finally achieved a bright white smile. Here are some basic tips to keep it that way:
- Don’t drink beverages known to stain your teeth, such as red wine, coffee, espresso, tea, colas and other carbonated beverages, and highly acidic drinks (e.g., sports drinks or energy drinks). If you do drink any of these beverages, use a straw so that the beverage doesn’t directly hit your front teeth, and brush your teeth or rinse out your mouth immediately after drinking.
- The same goes for food items that can stain your teeth, such as deeply-pigmented berries and other intensely-colored fruit (e.g., blackberries, blueberries, cherries, pomegranates), deeply-colored sauces (e.g., tomato sauce, soy sauce, curry sauce), and candy or sweets that make your tongue turn a different color. If you happen to eat any of these stain-causing foods, rinse your mouth out with water immediately after eating and then brush your teeth.
- Have good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and floss your teeth daily.
- Get your teeth professionally cleaned at your dentist’s office once every six months. If you don’t think you can afford professional dental care, check out this KCL article on how to save money at the dentist.
- Don’t smoke, chew tobacco, or do drugs.
- Inform your dentist of all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements you take as some of these things may cause your teeth to discolor.