Everybody wants a white smile. To have sparkly teeth is a very common goal. But how many of those teeth whiteners actually work? Plus, it seems like a lot of on-the-shelf whitening products have a bunch of ingredients that I can't pronounce. I decided to take matters into my own hands and create homemade teeth whitener. I tried it for two weeks to see if I'd notice any difference in my smile.

The Ingredients

Kaitlyn Mulligan

To make your own homemade teeth whitener, you'll need coconut oil and peppermint extract for flavor. Coconut oil is a natural mouth cleaner that many people (even celebrities) use for a process called oil pulling. Swishing the oil in your mouth sounds gross, right? Well, supposedly this whitens teeth, freshens breath, and can even clear up your skin.

For the record, there are other ways to make your own teeth whitening paste. I chose this one because I thought it would give me the best result and I liked the idea of an all natural fix. 

The Process

Kaitlyn Mulligan

1. Mix about 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil with a teaspoon of peppermint extract (or however much you prefer).

2. Put the mixture on your toothbrush and start brushing.

3. Keep brushing and start swishing the oil in your mouth for 10 minutes or more. 

4. Spit it out in the toilet or trash. Remember that the oil can clog your sink.

5. Repeat every day or a few times a week.

This is just one of the many ways you can use coconut oil to whiten your teeth and clean your mouth.

My Experience

Kaitlyn Mulligan

I began my teeth whitening journey on October 9, 2017. I used the method every day for two weeks. Here are my teeth before using any whitening products (besides toothpaste, of course). I would say that my smile isn't too yellow, but definitely could be whiter. Another important thing to note is that I don't normally drink coffee, red wine, or other things that typically stain your teeth.

On the first night I tried the paste, I didn't put enough peppermint in the mixture, and let me tell you, coconut oil is disgusting. I legitimately couldn't hold the oil in my mouth for more than a few minutes. What a fail.

So, lesson learned, the next day I used more peppermint and it was so much better. I swished the mixture around for about 10 minutes and it was fine. Again, not the best tasting, but much better with more peppermint.

The third night I honestly didn't mind it at all. I swished for about 15 minutes and really didn't pay any attention to it.

#SpoonTip: Distract yourself with a TV show or homework while you're oil pulling. It makes it easier and distracts you from the taste.

Kaitlyn Mulligan

After the first week, I started getting annoyed with the routine. I didn't feeling like doing it anymore, but I stuck it out for the sake of this article. I'm not sure why such a simple process got old so quickly, but it did. 

I also realized that I had been using SO much of my peppermint extract. That first disgusting try had haunted me for the rest of my experiment. Sometimes I felt like I was using too much peppermint and yet, I was nervous to try it again with less.

The rest of the experiment was pretty much the same. Swishing the oil around for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I did it every night right before I brushed my teeth. On the last night, I was relieved. Even though I had gotten used to the process, I was excited to be done with it simply because it was annoying. 

The Results

In the end, I found it difficult to see a huge change between what I started with and after my last whitening. However, I do think some of my front teeth look a bit whiter. With that said, the two teeth toward the side that have always been a little yellower didn't seem much different.


Kaitlyn Mulligan
Kaitlyn Mulligan
(Keep in mind that I tried to get the lighting the same for both photos, but it probably isn't perfect).

I would still say that it's pretty effective. If you want a brighter smile, this might be worth it. But if your goal is a whiter smile (yes, I think there's a difference between whiter and brighter), you might want to try something else.

The pros of making this homemade teeth whitener are: it's a natural substitute for chemicals, isn't expensive, is easy to make and use, and it works to make your teeth brighter.

The drawbacks of this method are that, it doesn't taste good, it feels unpleasant, and 10 to 15 minutes is a long time to have oil in your mouth.

Ultimately, you have to make the decision for yourself. Weigh the pros and cons. I didn't really love having to hold oil in mouth for such a long time. If I want to whiten in the future, I would rather choose whitening strips or something else. But if you enjoy the natural fix, go for it! This homemade teeth whitener is easy and won't break the bank. Plus, it sort of works.

This whole process actually made me feel better about my smile. It made me really look at my teeth and think about their whiteness. Originally, I thought this analysis would make me feel bad about myself, but I actually realized that I have a whiter smile than I thought I did. 

Just remember that most people don't have pure white teeth. You're not alone if you have a little color. While it can be easy to pick on yourself, it's important to recognize that you're beautiful either way!