How to Get Rid of Yellow Teeth: Natural Teeth-Whitening Home Remedies

The key to getting rid of stains on your teeth might already be in your pantry or medicine cabinet. Learn which simple ingredients you can use for teeth-whitening purposes. 

Some of the best things in life stain our teeth the most. So, if your coffee, red wine, and chocolate are all nonnegotiables, try these home treatments to keep your teeth shining between dentist visits. 

Cropped image of a man smiling with white teeth

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Baking soda is another researched-backed ingredient for teeth whitening.

Rather than making your own baking soda paste to brush your teeth with, you can purchase toothpaste with added baking soda. In fact, most studies on baking soda and teeth whitening focus on dental products that contain baking soda. A 2017 research review suggested that baking soda is a safe and effective ingredient for teeth whitening. 

Hydrogen peroxide has teeth-bleaching capabilities, and many over-the-counter (OTC) teeth-whitening products contain this ingredient.

You may also get a whitening effect by using it as a mouthwash. Hydrogen peroxide works through its oxidizing properties that cause the molecules responsible for staining to fall apart. 

However, the American Dental Association (ADA) warns that tooth sensitivity can be a side effect of hydrogen peroxide, since it can permeate through your dental hard tissues. The sensitivity typically resolves in 4 days. 

Contact your dentist if you experience tooth sensitivity or other dental symptoms after using whitening products.

Teeth-whitening strips are an OTC option to help remove yellow stains and whiten teeth. They are plastic strips treated with whitening agents that you apply directly to the front surface of your teeth.

A 2021 review suggested that strips are more effective than other OTC whitening agents, like toothpaste, rinse, or paint-on gel. One theory is that strips give your teeth a more prolonged exposure to the active whitening ingredient, like hydrogen peroxide.

However, the same research advises working with a dentist when using whitening strips to monitor for any side effects, such as gum irritation or tooth sensitivity.

Not every home remedy for teeth whitening is safe or effective.

The practice of oil pulling is a centuries-old Ayurvedic tradition that uses coconut oil for oral health. This process involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes in the morning. 

Proponents of oil pulling cite brighter teeth as one of the benefits. However, both the ADA and a 2018 research article noted that there is no scientific evidence of coconut oil pulling having a whitening effect on teeth or improving oral health.

Activated charcoal has risen in popularity as a DIY dental treatment, and some manufacturers include it in their products. However, research does not suggest that it has teeth-whitening capabilities. 

Acidic or abrasive treatments

Additionally, avoid any DIY treatment that uses anything highly abrasive or acidic, including:

  • salt
  • apple cider vinegar
  • citrus fruit or juice

It’s important to get dentist approval before trying a new home remedy. Home remedies should also not replace professional dental care or dentist-recommended products, like toothpaste containing fluoride. 

If you have extensive staining on your teeth, you may need a professional teeth-whitening treatment from your dentist.

Keep in mind that teeth-whitening products only work on natural teeth. If you have discoloration on your tooth-colored restorations, your only option may be to replace the filling. 

According to the ADA, bleaching agents can make your teeth feel sensitive for about 4 days post-treatment. If you have tooth sensitivity that lasts longer or your gums experience prolonged irritation, contact your dentist. 

Your tooth’s enamel is permeable, so staining agents can sink inside. Common culprits of teeth staining include food and drinks with tannins, such as:

  • wine
  • coffee
  • tea
  • dark chocolate

Nicotine products also cause a brownish-yellow film to form on your teeth. In some cases, yellow teeth are hereditary or an indication of the natural aging process. 

Enamel loss is also another cause of yellow teeth, and stain-whitening methods are not useful in this situation. Your tooth’s enamel covers dentin, which is a naturally yellow tooth component. If your enamel becomes too thin, you can see the dentin more clearly. 

These are some questions people often ask about getting rid of yellow teeth. Jennifer Archibald, D.D.S., reviewed the answers.

Can yellow teeth become white again?

Whitening agents can lift stains on natural teeth. Yellowing from enamel loss is
typically irreversible. Additionally, stains on tooth restorations, like fillings or caps, do not respond to teeth-whitening agents. 

Why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?

Yellow teeth aren’t necessarily an indication of improper dental health hygiene. Yellow teeth are sometimes genetic or an antibiotic side effect. The types of food and beverages you consume could also be playing a role. For example, starting each day with a cup of coffee or tea can lead to tooth staining.

If you’re trying to whiten your teeth at home, stick to home remedies that are safe and research-backed. Some examples include hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

You can also use OTC teeth-whitening strips, which are more effective than whitening mouthwashes, toothpastes, or paint-on gels. You may experience tooth sensitivity if you use products with bleaching agents, but the sensitivity should subside in a few days. 

When opting for home remedies for yellow teeth, avoid anything that can cause enamel damage. Enamel erosion can actually cause irreversible yellow teeth. Examples of ingredients that are harmful to your enamel include acidic ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, and abrasive products, like salt. 

If you are interested in natural methods for teeth whitening, find a dentist who can offer you safe at-home suggestions. In-office treatments can help more severe cases of teeth yellowing or assist you in getting faster results.