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A Dentist on Natural Teeth Whitening–And Which Procedure to Skip

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen, DDS, FAGD, TNC, CNAS - Updated: March 6, 2024 - - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

A Dentist's Advice on Natural Teeth Whitening

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen is my own holistic dentist, with whom I created the Healthy Mouth, Healthy Life video masterclass. I’m thrilled to have her guest posting today. –Robyn

Who wouldn’t like a whiter smile? And if it can be done without chemicals or damaging your teeth, all the better! That’s what natural teeth whitening is all about. This topic is full of debate and opinion, so let’s talk about some facts and pros and cons of the different whitening methods you can choose from.

In this article:

Why Do Teeth Darken Or Get Yellow?

Why do teeth darken in the first place? There are two very different causes. The first is staining inside the tooth.

Diagram of tooth anatomy from "A Dentist on Natural Tooth Whitening, and Which Procedures to Skip" By Green Smoothie Girl
Each tooth has two layers: the outer enamel that is transparent, and the inner dentin that has the color.

After years of eating dark foods, these stains get deeper into the tooth and don’t come off with brushing.

The second cause is a little harder to correct. Each tooth has two layers: the outer enamel that’s transparent, and the inner dentin that has the color. If the enamel thins from acid erosion or tooth wear or even just use, the dentin is more visible. This is why people say their teeth get more yellow as they get older.

Now that you understand why teeth darken, the teeth whitening solutions will make more sense.

Natural Teeth Whitening Methods

Activated Charcoal

This sounds like a crazy way to whiten your teeth: brush them with black activated charcoal! The charcoal absorbs the stains and whitens the teeth over time.

Oil Pulling

The oil pulling procedure is to put 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the mouth and swish around for 15 minutes (check out the video demonstration here). This “pulls” bacteria and stains out of the teeth.

Hydrogen Peroxide or Baking Soda for Brushing

Both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide alkalize and oxidize, but they work better when allowed to sit on the teeth. When brushing, the contact time isn’t very long, so the effect may be minimal for teeth whitening.

Nutritional Supplements

Strengthening the enamel will make the teeth appear more white. You can rebuild the enamel with herbal horsetail and homeopathic cell salts like Calc Fluor and Calc Phos, and adding Vitamin D3 and K2 will pull calcium into the teeth, making them stronger and more resilient.

Sick & Tired? Dental Work May be the Culprit

Professional Teeth Whitening Methods


Most professional whitening is done with Hydrogen or Carbamide Peroxide gels. The gel stays in contact with the tooth, so it works for a longer time and has more effect. The biggest caveat is the strength of the gel. The higher concentration of peroxide, the faster the teeth whitening and the higher the sensitivity potential.

Whitening Lights

I don’t recommend boosting teeth whitening with lights because it works faster and can lead to a lot of tooth dehydration and sensitivity.

With all of these options, you should be able to find a whitening method that you feel good about for a brighter smile!

Read next: How To Whiten Teeth Naturally and Affordably at Home

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen (DDS, FAGD, TNC, CNAS) is an author, speaker, teacher, biologic/holistic dentist, and health and wellness provider based in Utah. She is the creator of the Total Care Dental Way, a patient-centric, health-focused approach to dental and overall health. After founding her practice, Total Care Dental, in 2001, Dr. Jorgensen and her team went on to win Dental Team of the Year and the Dental Practice of the Year at the Prestigious Crown Council Member’s Choice Award.

Photo of Dr. Michelle Jorgensen with post's title from "A Dentist on Natural Tooth Whitening, and Which Procedures to Skip" by Green Smoothie Girl
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Posted in: Dental Health, Natural Remedies

2 thoughts on “A Dentist on Natural Teeth Whitening–And Which Procedure to Skip”

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  1. Ethan Hansen says:

    I found it interesting how you mentioned how teeth whitening can help strengthen your teeth if the correct procedure is performed. My mother recently recovered from gum disease and she wants to make sure her teeth are white to distract people from her red gums. Because I want her to feel her best, I will keep this in mind as we search for a dentist near us that offers teeth whitening and strengthening services!

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Ethan, definitely have her try the oil pulling. It’s easy and less expensive and may also help her gums as well.

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