Teeth whitening: what methods are safe and the most effective

Get a brighter, whiter smile faster with these quick and easy ways to whiten your teeth at home. Prepare to dazzle with your pearly whites...

Teeth photo

There's no doubt a brilliant smile is the ultimate anti-ageing accessory. The question is how to whiten your teeth without spending hundreds of pounds at the dentist?

"The lower third of your face is the most important anti-ageing tool."Dr Uchenna Okoye, a dentist to the stars and Clinical Director of London Smiling Dentist Group says, "If teeth are whiter, you instantly appear younger.

"We invest in cleansers and moisturisers for our skin but we don't always look after our smile so well. Using the right dental products is like having a deep facial then using creams to keep skin healthy."

How can you whiten your teeth?

Professional whitening is a guaranteed way to knock out staining and bring you teeth back to their sparkling best. However, not all professional whitening was created equal.

A recent investigation by the BBC revealed that reports of illegal teeth whitening procedures have gone up by 26%. The untrained or under-qualified beauticians using teeth whitening kits have been known to cause tooth loss, burns and blisters to their patients.

If you do want to opt for a professional treatment, there are some great alternatives out there that don't include bleach. Polish & Perfect by Dr Reena Wadia uses airflow polishing, a deep-cleaning treatment that uses a mixture of powder particles and water to blast away stain build up.

And while most teeth-whitening treatments will cost you upwards of £500, this treatment is more affordable, coming in a £250 for both a consultation and treatment, so you'll go away with some sound advice on how to brighten your smile.

But how do you go about teeth whitening at home?

There are plenty of DIY whitening kits around that can be very effective at lifting your teeth by a few shades. Simple-to-use at-home teeth whitening trays and bleaching products are becoming more sophisticated all the time so you can save time and money, and still get great results from the comfort of your own home.

MORE:Research reveals brushing your teeth can actually make your heart healthier

As well as specific dental products, we've found a few easy tweaks you can make to your lifestyle to see impressive results, too. Sometimes, simply changing your diet or adding an everyday product into your beauty regime can make all the difference to your smile.

Follow our guide for how to get white teeth with the best DIY techniques that are both safe, effective and won't break the bank either.

Prepare to dazzle with a killer white smile...

Spotlight Teeth Whitening Strips, £39.95

Spotlight Teeth Whitening Strips, £39.95

As far as at-home whitening goes, strips are by far the most convenient method - and least icky, no saliva-filled trays here. Of all the strips we've tried, these have had the best effect. The secret is hydrogen peroxide, an ingredient normally only found in American whitening strips (hence why many pearly white fans ship theirs over via Ebay). We wore ours for an hour a night on both sets of teeth and noticed a difference after one week (you can keep going for two) try and avoid red wine and coffee during your course and for as long as you can after for the sparkliest results.

Foreo Issa Play, £39

Foreo Issa Play, £39

Holidays are a classic danger zone for keeping our teeth looking their best, how many times have you left your bulky electric toothbrush at home and ended up cleaning - ineffectively - with a cheap plastic manual for a fortnight? Enter the FOREO Issa Play! This cute design combines sonic pulses, which travel through flexible silicone nodules to gently clean teeth and massage gums, with a more traditional brush head in the middle for for heavy-duty work. The dinky size is ideal for your travel wash bag, it's battery operated and lasts for around 6 months without needing re-charged.

Buy a blue-tinged lipstick

Buy a blue-tinged lipstick

Blue lip glosses or blue-tinged lipsticks have the optical effect of making teeth, and the whites of eyes, appear brighter. No7's Stay Perfect Lipstick, £9.95 in Claret is great too.

Chew sugar-free gum

Chew sugar-free gum

Xylitol is a sweetener found in most sugar-free chewing gum. It's not just there for taste though, xylitol combats the harmful acid found in food so chew on a stick after every meal.

Snack on strawberries

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Snack on strawberries

Malic acid found in strawberries has been found to naturally clean teeth. Choose a ripe strawberry and rub it on your teeth like you would a skin exfoliator to remove superficial debris. Similarly, rubbing the inside of a banana peel can act as a buffer on the teeth, giving them a white appearance.

Bicarbonate of soda

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Bicarbonate of soda

This pantry staple is commonly found in teeth-whitening products, but for a fraction of the price you can create your own whitening paste. Mix 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with 1/2 a teaspoon of water to create a paste. Dip in your toothbrush and brush for 1-2 minutes. The bicarbonate of soda removes plaque and gives teeth a whiter appearance, as well as neutralising acid in the mouth. Avoid using too much as it can weaken the enamel.

Up your calcium-rich foods

Up your calcium-rich foods

Cheese, milk, yoghurt and butter won't whiten teeth but they do provide the essential calcium needed to strengthen and protect. Low-fat versions won't ruin your diet.

Cut back on coffee

Cut back on coffee

Along with tea and red wine, coffee will stain teeth. Stick to herbal tea or hot water instead. White wine is a much better option than red. And if you can't get through the afternoon without a fizzy drink, sip it through a straw to protect your pearly whites.

Floss

Floss

The easiest way to get a gorgeous smile? Floss - and not just when you remember. Flossing between teeth everyday is essential for lifting the plaque and food debris that leads to decay. It's often the stains between teeth that ruin a lovely smile.