DIY Whitening Toothpaste At Home: Do They Work?

If your teeth are stained or yellow, you probably feel self-conscious when taking photos (as your friend urges you to “smile for the camera”). Probably the thought of tooth whitening has broached your mind.

And you have heard of tooth whitening toothpaste you can make at home. You are hesitant. It sounds too good to be true. Are DIY whitening toothpastes genuinely effective? Let’s find out.

Examples of DIY Whitening Toothpastes

There are many toothpaste recipes you can make at home. A few examples are:

  • Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut oil and peppermint leaf
  • Strawberry and baking soda
  • Banana peeling-Charcoal paste

Different recipes will have varying levels of success at whitening your teeth. I will look at a few of these methods to see just how effective they are.

Strawberry and Baking Soda

The strawberry and baking soda formula is highly popular. But can it whiten your teeth as many people claim?

Researchers beg to differ. Strawberries, they point out, have a high citric acid concentration, plus traces of malic acid. High citric acid concentration gives strawberries the opposite effect: potentially eroding the teeth rather than whitening them.

Experiments have demonstrated that brushing your teeth with the strawberry and baking soda will not have any whitening effect on them. At best, the concoction can remove superficial debris from your teeth.

The key ingredients of tooth whitening are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. And since strawberries and baking soda lack these compounds, the toothpaste made from their mixture does not work as a tooth whitener.

Charcoal Paste

Activated charcoal is just one of the DIY toothpastes bloggers and vloggers have been pushing. So, should you blacken your teeth with charcoal dust in the quest to attain that sparkly glow on your teeth?

Dr. Kim Harms, a dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, says that there is no evidence of charcoal having the promoted effects. She goes on to point out that charcoal is abrasive and may damage the gums and enamel.

The safety and effectiveness of charcoal paste is, as yet, unverified. Dr. Harms’ advises not to replace daily teeth cleaning habits and visits to the dentist with charcoal paste. I suggest using an water flosser right after you brush with charcoal paste.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

This homemade toothpaste doesn’t work either. Baking soda will not make your teeth white. Instead, it will only disrupt the ratio of helpful to harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide is also potentially harmful to your teeth. When the compound interacts with the tissues, it causes free radical reactions which can cause living tissue to start aging.


Some people are also fond of lemons as a means to whiten their teeth. However, just like strawberries, lemons contain a high concentration of citric acid.

The acid eats away at the teeth enamel. The method may have a slight effect, but it will be at a significant cost, as the acid may eventually cause permanent damage to your teeth.


Most of the much-touted do-it-yourself whitening toothpastes are not effective. As we have seen, there is no evidence that they work. And if they do work, however slightly, it may be at a cost.

They may even damage your teeth, which is opposite to the reaction you are targeting. It’s best to stick to the methods approved by trained dentists.

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