Bright and Shiny White

I used to love me some Crest Whitestrips.

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As soon as they became really popular (I think it was late high school?), I jumped on the bandwagon. This was before I really paid attention to the ingredients in anything I was using, especially beauty products, and also started my hardcore coffee addiction. I’ve mentioned it before, but at my worst, it was 16 cups a day. The Pilot bought me a 16-cup coffee maker when I was in college –since we met at Starbucks, he would always get cute coffee-related gifts for me while we were dating- and by the end of the night, it was always gone. So the Whitestrips went well with my coffee addiction… I’d stain them, then bleach them to a shiny white.


[Viesa has always had beautiful white chompers]

I followed the directions and did the whole box, and always kept a box to have on hand for touch-ups every now and again.

Even though I don’t drink coffee like I used to, after I broke the habit, I still used the Whitestrips from time to time. They work extremely well to get rid of coffee or wine stains, are convenient (30 minutes to a bright smile!), but I did notice some increased teeth sensitivity from continued use of them.

We have our Christmas photos in front of the Pilot’s jet on Saturday, and next to figuring out what I’m going to wear (still no idea), the next thought on my list was bleaching my teeth. Since I’m not using the Whitestrips at all right now –no coffee or vino for this girl- I did some research on natural teeth whitening options:

From this website:

Baking Soda

Brushing with baking soda is one of the oldest and most effective natural tooth whitening remedies. It successfully removes stains and kills bacteria in the mouth making your teeth whiter and healthier. It’s possible that baking soda can irritate your gums. If you find this to be the case, try mixing it with salt and brush gently. Many types of toothpaste come with baking soda added – you may want to try one of them as well. This method is pretty successful and among the safest. It is worth trying.


This method calls for gargling of hydrogen peroxide (yes, the kind you’ll find in your medicine cabinet) as a way to whiten your teeth. It may work, but you may notice some tooth and gum sensitivity. Even though you may experience some discomfort, whitening with peroxide is safe as long as you don’t swallow it. The concentration of peroxide found in hydrogen peroxide is much lower than the over-the-counter whiteners, so you should be prepared for less drastic results. Peroxide may be a good idea to try once in a while, maybe for a special day or event, just to add that little bit of extra whitening, but it’s probably not strong enough to be used as a primary treatment.

Baking Soda & Peroxide Paste

Perhaps the most effective natural teeth whitener, this formula is a time-tested remedy that works. The ingredients are commonly found in most homes and are not harmful if used properly. This means you should use it in moderation (no more than once a week) and you should not ingest the paste. The paste is made by combining approximately equal parts (2-3 teaspoons) of both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a bowl. Mix them together until they reach a consistency similar to tooth paste. Once you’ve reached a texture you’re satisfied with brush your teeth with it, leaving it on for a couple minutes at least. Next, rinse your mouth, spitting out the paste and re-brush with regular tooth paste. And that’s it! If you’re planning whiten your teeth at home, without purchasing a teeth whitening kit, this combination is your best bet. In fact, you can probably find a tooth paste brand that sells a product with these ingredients.

Something about using peroxide freaks me out (especially right now), but maybe something I’d try in the future? Who knows, I may just go back to the Whitestrips eventually, though 😉


Have you used Crest Whitestrips or bleached your teeth before?

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  1. Dawn @ Blonde on a Mission on October 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    White strips are so harsh on my teeth! I have really sensitive nerves, I guess. I have found that the combination of brushing with Crest 3D White toothpaste + Scope Whitening mouthwash leaves my teeth looking pearly white, despite my coffee addiction =)

  2. Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on October 31, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I totally agree that the whiteners are so harsh! I did a few before my wedding (from my dentist, they were intense) and the pain freaked me out!!

    Ever since I started using baking soda toothpaste (extra whitening or something) I’ve noticed a HUGE difference. It’s definitely a good way to whiten your teeth without the harshness, but it takes a little longer.

  3. Felicia on October 31, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    strawberries whiten teeth! i read it somewhere… try a paste with them! theres also a natural whitening mouthwash that i found at whole foods thats works well and it worked quickly for me

  4. kelli on October 31, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    gosmile lemonade smile besides being one of the only flavor toothpastes I can stand, actually has made my teeth the whitest they have ever been Oh and I ALWAYS use straws for everything I drink 🙂 (lotsandlots of tea, sometimes espresso). Worth the splurge and it tastes like lemonade!

  5. Kaye on October 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    My husband rinses with hydrogen peroxide. I REFUSE! It seems toxic. Like anything, there are differing views, some say rinsing with peroxide will damage enamel, some say it’s better than Listerene. I like natural remedies for anything in my mouth though. Baking soda? GOOD! Rinsing with salt water? GOOD!

  6. Olivia @ PeanutButterNerd on October 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    When WhiteStrips became super popular there was also a similar whitening paste that came in a nail polish like bottle that you had to brush on your teeth and then keep your mouth in that awkward smiley position til it’s done – they were obviously cheaper than WhiteStrips! I used those, and remember the weird feeling my lips would get – such a weird/unnatural thing!

    I’m all about whitening toothpaste and mouthwash these days – cause I drink a lots of coffee too.

    You may also want to look up Oil Pulling – it’s another natural alternative where you swoosh oil around in your mouth and it apparently whitens your teeth and makes your gums healthier.

  7. Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness) on October 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I use whitestrips occasionally but I really want to try this method – I really love Kandee Johnson and believe everything she says, haha.

    I hope we get to see the Christmas photos! 😀

  8. Lindsay on October 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I used to LOVE whitestrips but now they make my teeth way too sensitive 🙁 My best best now is a sonicare toothbrush and the listerine whitening mouthwash!

    • jen on October 31, 2011 at 11:48 pm

      I love my sonicare and it does whiten teeth, my dentist no longers cleans my teeth every 6 months because there so clean from using one and if you clean, clean teeth with the stuff they use it will weaken enamel.
      I started using toms when I got a sample when I worked at wild oats and have never gone back to reg toothpaste plus it tastes soo artificial it makes me gag so forgetting my toothpaste when I stay at a friends for a night is no fun!

  9. baylee on October 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Ive tried all of it..and I barely noticed a difference with the peroxide, but I did notice a pretty big difference with the baking soda, and the baking soda and peroxide as a paste!

  10. Katheryn on October 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Baking soda works great. I’ve been doing it for years!

  11. Jess on October 31, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I have used crest whitest rips in a long time but I’ve been thinking about it lately. I used to really like them. The baking soda paste sounds really intriguing though.

  12. Mara @ What's For Dinner? on October 31, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve been using the new Optic White toothpaste and notice a huge difference in the whiteness of my teeth…it’s got peroxide but its only 1%

  13. Molly @ the F-spot on October 31, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I get compliments on my white teeth ALL THE TIME and anyone who knows me knows I drink a lot of red wine…

    My solution? I hold hydrogen peroxide in my mouth while I’m washing my face. No gargling. No swishing. After a couple of minutes, I spit it out and immediately brush with regular toothpaste. I just hold it in my mouth for a minute or two while I’m doing something else. It doesn’t taste bad, I haven’t had a canker sore since I started doing it, and my teeth are extremely white.

    I haven’t experienced any sensitivity with it and the two dentists I’ve seen since I’ve been doing it have said it won’t harm the enamel, or my gums, or anything else in my mouth. And neither of them could believe I hadn’t had my teeth professionally whitened!

  14. Heather (Heather's Dish) on October 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    i was actually just thinking/wondering if it would be ok to whiten my teeth with white strips while i’m pregnant and just figured that i would probably wait to partake until after the baby’s born. i like the idea of just using baking soda though, and i would feel better about it than the white strips!

  15. Sarah on October 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    My grandma and grandpa couldn’t afford to take their kids to the dentist regularly, so every six months they’d brush with baking soda. My mom said it tasted terrible, but seemed to do the job.

  16. Amanda on October 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I used to use whitestrips all the time, but then they started to make my teeth unbearably sensitive. It was painful to eat anything with sugar, and even cold weather made them hurt. It wore off after a couple of days, but it freaked me out. I think my sonicare helps a lot, but I’m curious about trying the baking soda!

  17. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on October 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Yes I have done it all. I’ve had in-dental-office laser whitening done, custom bleaching trays made by my dentist, Crest whitestrips, you name it, BTDT. I drink coffee and can use all the help I can get.

    My teeth used to be really sensitive to that stuff but over time…I guess I’ve built up a tolerance and I don’t notice it much anymore. I’ve talked about it all with my dentist, read tons online about it all…and it’s one of those things that to each her own 🙂

  18. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on October 31, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve probably bleached my teeth more than enough throughout the years. I am paranoid about my teeth being white, and it always bugs me when people have really stained teeth. Within the past year or so, I’ve tried to cut back on the whitening strips and go with more of the natural routes such as the ideas you listed.

    • Jenn on November 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      It bugs you when other people have stained teeth? I mean, I’m sure sometimes it is out of their control so that’s kind of sad that you judge them for it 🙁

  19. Molly@This Life Is Sparkling on October 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I tried whitestrips this summer and they worked wonders! I know they have a lot of creepy ingredients, but they were the only thing that worked for me!

  20. megan on October 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    As a dentist, please use the baking soda carefully. It’s very abrasive and I personally wouldn’t recommend using it. If you do decide to use it regularly, let your dentist and/or hygienist know so they can monitor your teeth and make sure no damage is being done.
    Getting off my soapbox now!

  21. Emily on October 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    My coffee addiction also called for the Crest White Strips remedy. I should’ve been tipped off when they would burn my gums and make my teeth feel like they were going to fall out…
    Now I’ve kicked the coffee addiction and use a peroxide/baking soda once a week. I try not to use that combo too often because I’ve read that it’s an abrasive and can harm your teeth? Not quite sure, but I’ve had good results!

  22. Brittney on October 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    My mom used to make my brother and I brush with baking soda sometimes when we were younger for a “good clean” and we hated it! It tasted so awful but I think I might give it another shot because my teeth could use some sparkle!

  23. Melissa @ Hot Chokolate Girl on October 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I used to use Crest Whitestrips all the time! That’s when I didn’t pay attention to the ingredients either. They always made my teeth so sensitive, but at the time I tolerated the pain for the results. I’ve tried both baking soda (the aluminum-free kind) and peroxide. They both seemed to work, but the taste always left a lot to be desired. And like Emily, I’ve heard the same thing about not using it too often. Now I just use Nature’s Gate Fluoride-Free Whitening Gel Toothpaste. I’ve been very happy with the results so far.

  24. Nancy @ Beyoutiful Fitstyle on October 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I’ve used the Crest whitestrips, but never remembered to do it for the consecutive days. So then I switched to the 2 hour rembrandt whitening. It works pretty well in my opinion. I think I might try that DIY paste though. Teeth whitening kits can be costly. Thanks for the info!

  25. Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife on October 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    My hubs and I both used Whitestrips before our wedding and they really do work. But they’re so darn expensive–we didn’t think it was worth it after that to buy them again! I use a toothpaste with baking soda and peroxide and I think it keeps my teeth pretty white.

  26. Leslie Wingate on October 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    My mom used to make me brush with peroxide and baking soda! Wow, it’s coming back. 😉

  27. kalli on October 31, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    these are all some great tips! why are some of you worried about peroxide though? i use it for everything. i swear by it. in fact, when i get a sore throat feeling like i am getting sick i gargle with hald peroxide half water and i swear it makes it go away and i never get sick! i am going to have to try that idea with holding it in your mouth for teeth whitening.

  28. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on October 31, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I remember being little and brushing my teeth with my grandma using baking soda and water on occasion. Maybe my grandma was using it as a whitener?

  29. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty on October 31, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    The last time I used them I got the most painful shooting pain in my front tooth. It was so bad that I actually knelt down on the ground… it was terrible. I haven’t used them since, now they scare me… and that tooth isn’t the same still…

  30. Cait @ Cait hates Cake on October 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    I use NiteWhite ACP, which is what you can get from your dentist’s office. You can actually buy the same stuff on Amazon for like $25 and I find it works a million times better than any Whitestrip type things.

  31. jrm on November 1, 2011 at 12:23 am

    If you google “health effects of hydrogen peroxide” you can learn about acceptable uses and concentrations/precautions. The concentration of HP one would buy OTC at a drugstore is highly diluted, say less than 3% solution. Add to that — the fact that you aren’t swallowing the HP or huffing the vapors, the health effects are basically none Now, If you were to drink a high concentrated solution (say 40% solution or greater) then yah, definately not good for you. But diluted hydrogen peroxide and baking soda with a good water rinse should be fine even with baby.

    As a disclaimer, I work with toxocologists everyday so hope I haven’t lost you

  32. Ellen on November 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I do oil pulling with coconut oil everyday. Not only has it whitened my teeth, but it actually has made my teeth LESS sensitive. It’s a win-win.

  33. Ali on November 1, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I love to brush my teeth with baking soda! It works awesome!

  34. Marci on November 1, 2011 at 5:31 am

    I used to work in private practice for an oral surgeon. He was always telling the patients with perio disease to make a mixture of 50/50 peroxide and water, then add a splash of mouthwash so it wouldn’t taste aweful. Rinse for a minute and then don’t eat or drink for a half hour. But only does it kill anaerobic bacteria but it whitens beautifully. If you look on the bottle if peroxide it will say oral debriding agent.

  35. G.G.R on November 1, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I wanted to try crest whitestrips long before I had access to them. I live in Sweden so they aren’t very easy to get. Luckily, my husband’s from America so I got his parents to send me some for Christmas last year. I had brushed my teeth with baking soda before (to whiten my teeth for our wedding. I cannot tell you how many gallons of pepsi I’ve chugged through the years….. but my teeth could haha) and it had been so irritating and painful for my gums that I couldn’t believe how comfortable the whitestrips were. I’ve only done one round of it so far, to much success!, and I have another pack ready to go for me and my husband (who recently quit smoking) to share.

    It’s lovely not to be self concious about the colour of my teeth.

  36. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups on November 1, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I’m a former white strips addict too. My teeth stain easily so even though I only drink one small cup of coffee a day, it looks like I drink coffee all day long. My teeth also got way too sensitive so I backed off. Now I’m engaged and I’m sure I’ll be busting them out again before the big day.

  37. Cait @ Beyond Bananas on November 1, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I’ve used white strips before.. but both my mother and I had a similar sensitive reaction. Perhaps we were just using it wrong.. but when the extra gel would squeeze through and tough out gums, it would be extremely painful. My mother actually had ot have biopsies done because of the reaction that she had!

  38. Ashley @ The North Carolina Cowgirl on November 1, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I’ve tried the Crest White strips and I really liked them. They did make my teeth a little sensitive so I’d stop for a few days and then use them a few more days. I loved how white my teeth got using those. I think I’ll try the baking soda method though. I’m up for anything that is less costly.

  39. Pinky on November 1, 2011 at 8:40 am

    My mom had us using baking soda and peroxide when we were in high school to whiten our teeth. She wasn’t a fan of the $$$ for whitestrips or how harsh they were on teeth. I used Whitestrips for awhile but now have much more sensitive teeth (waaaaaaaay bummer) so I gave them up. Thanks for reminding me about this great and cheap way to keep my chompers clean!


  40. Natasha on November 1, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I used those once and I was crying 1/2 way through the whitening, it hurt so bad. It continued hurting until the next day. Never again! I have done the peroxide and baking soda in the past….no pain….much better 😀

  41. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on November 1, 2011 at 9:39 am

    They definitely work! I used them right before my wedding and on and off all through college. I stick with the original 30 minute ones (and only once a day) because the faster ones definitely make my teeth hurt!

  42. Ashley @ Good Taste Healthy Me on November 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I used it when they first came up so it was the 7 day whitening. OMG they killed my teeth. It was painful to even eat. I’m totally turned off by them now.

  43. Sarah @ See Sarah Eat on November 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I have never used the strips or anything which is probably good because I have enough issues with my teeth that I don’t need to add increased sensitivity to the list! If I’m worried about stains, I will use a whitening toothpaste for a while and any time I eat or drink something that would stain them, I make sure to swish around with water right after. 🙂

  44. sarah on November 1, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I bleached my teeth back in 2002, using trays from the dentist. It worked really well (maybe too well – my teeth were a little too white), but my teeth were extremely sensitive.
    I just had my teeth bleached at the dentist’s office two weeks ago. It hurt like MAD. I had shooting pains that would come out of nowhere and make my whole body spaz out.
    Brushing with Sensodyne helps a LOT. It even gives immediate relief.
    That said, I think I am done with professional bleaching. Luckily, I don’t drink colored drinks very often.
    (My teeth hurt now that I’m thinking about this again!)

  45. fiannafritz on November 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I use hydrogen peroxide for sores / blisters (pizza too hot!) diluted with water. I always chase it with a swish of a non-alcohol based mouth wash, because it tastes pretty bad (reminds me of the way moth balls smell) It works pretty well for that, but I’ve never tried it for whitening.

  46. Jen @ luck&funny on November 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Great alternatives. The gel my dentist gave me makes my teeth so sensitive! I’ll give the baking soda a try. I don’t really need whitening, just a little brightening once in a while.

  47. Kristen on November 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I use hydrogen peroxide at least once a day and it’s amazing! My dentist recommended it to me when I was asking about whitening methods. She said “Well, not everyone can handle it, but I rinse with peroxide at least once a day.” She said it’s also really great for your gums. I just rinse with a cap-full for about 20-30 seconds (I never time it, I just wait until it starts fizzing in my mouth!), spit, and brush! Love it!

  48. Destini on November 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Right before my wedding I started using the advanced 10 day crest white strips + the 3D crest advanced toothpaste! I have pretty sensitive teeth. But I found it wasn’t bad. I felt a slight tingle that was different then normal, But not uncomfortable. And they worked great.

    I would be nervous about peroxide, the whole idea freaks me out a bit.

  49. Molly on November 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I brush my teeth with Baking soda and it really helps get the stains out. It tastes a little weird so I usually mix it with toothpaste to make it minty. Using it twice can show a dramatic difference!

  50. liz kaczmarek on November 10, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I use Crest White Strips, and they definitely get my teeth whiter than any other product I’ve tried. But they do make my teeth much more sensitive than normal, especially right after you take them off. I only use them from time to time now, but they still work great!

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