Can You Brush Your Teeth With Bleach?

This blog post will address the question, “can you brush your teeth with bleach” and cover topics about the safe concentration of sodium hypochlorite for oral use, research backed natural ways to get white teeth, causes of yellowing of teeth and safe ways to use bleaching products to get rid of yellow teeth.

Can You Brush Your Teeth With Bleach?

At-home and in-office bleaching systems can be used but household bleach must be completely avoided.

Household bleach like clorox contains a very high amount of bleaching agent, sodium hypochlorite, that will make your teeth totally porous and dissolve your gums.

So if you are talking about brushing teeth with whitening toothpastes and other products then YES but with household bleach, it is a big NO.

Sodium Hypochlorite Bleach: What Is The Safe Concentration For Oral Use?

Sodium hypochlorite, a bleaching agent, used mainly in dentistry for root canal irrigation as well as in normal household bleach.

According to a study published in the Journal of Endodontics, sodium hypochlorite in concentrations, 5.25%, 2.5%, and 1%  successfully removed pulpal remnants and predentin from the uninstrumented surfaces. 

The same study reported that 0.5% sodium hypochlorite removed the majority of pulpal remnants and predentin from the uninstrumented surfaces, leaving some fibrils on the surface.

Another study reported 0.05% sodium hypochlorite oral rinse to significantly and safely reduce supragingival biofilm accumulation and gingival inflammation. 

A study published in the Journal Of Periodontal Research concluded that 0.25% of sodium hypochlorite when used twice weekly as an oral rinse, decreases dental plaque buildup and bleeding on probing.

All above studies have found that diluted sodium hypochlorite can be an effective and safe management of periodontal diseases.

Natural Ways To Get White Teeth: What Does Research Say?

Oil Pulling

In India, Oil pulling has been practiced traditionally since ages to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body.

The practice of oil pulling involves swishing oil, sunflower or coconut oil, around in your mouth, keeping it for a few minutes and then spitting it out.

Yes it is traditional and now backed by several scientific studies.

A study concluded oil pulling using coconut oil to be an effective procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

Similarly other studies have also found oil pulling to be an effective and safe procedure to reduce plaque accumulation.

As oil pulling controls plaque buildup, it helps to get rid of yellow teeth and give you a safe, bright smile.

Homemade Toothpaste Containing Baking Soda And Hydrogen Peroxide

Homemade toothpaste containing 1 tablespoon baking soda mixed with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, helps to reduce yellowing of the teeth.

A study reported toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to be effective in reducing tooth staining and improving whiteness.

Vitamin C

Some studies have reported vitamin C to reduce periodontitis and thereby reducing discoloration of teeth. However, further research is required to confirm these reports.

Add Fruit Enzymes To Toothpaste

According to a study, papain enzyme from the papaya fruit and bromelain enzyme from pineapples play a significant role in reducing tooth stains when added to toothpaste.

Whitening Effect Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar when used in small quantities may prove to be an effective whitener for your teeth.

However, in large quantities or regular use may harm the tooth by eroding away the enamel.

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Daily brushing your teeth at least 2 to 3 times can help whiten your teeth by reducing or removing plaque accumulation.

Visiting your dentist every 6 months will also help you to keep check of all your oral problems and conditions that can lead to yellowing of your teeth.

Follow the correct tooth brushing technique to get maximum benefits and naturally white teeth:

  1. Use a small amount of water to lubricate your brush. 
  1. Put a small, pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush head.
  1. At about a 45-degree angle to your gums , place the toothbrush into your mouth 
  1. Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth.
  1. Brush the outside surfaces as well as the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces.
  1. Brush the inside surfaces of both top and bottom front teeth by flipping your toothbrush upside down.
  1. Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria or plaque.
  1. Spit out the remnants of toothpaste, saliva, and water into a clean sink. 
  1. Rinse your mouth with cold water and you are done.

What Causes Yellowing Of Teeth?

There are multiple causes of yellowing of teeth, categorised under tooth discoloration.

Tooth discoloration is when the color of your teeth change from white to yellow to darker colors, either due to extrinsic or intrinsic causes or ageing. 

Extrinsic causes of tooth discoloration are those caused by objects or factors outside your body. These may include foods and drinks, tobacco use and poor dental hygiene.

Intrinsic causes of tooth discoloration include factors that originate within your oral cavity or body. These may be associated with your genetics, certain types of medications, excessive fluoride intake or any type of dental injury.

Intrinsic tooth discoloration is discoloration within the dentin, has a pulpal or systemic origin and is much more permanent when compared to extrinsic teeth discoloration. 

Some of the potential causes of tooth discolouration or yellowing of teeth are: 

Coffee, Tea And Wine

Coffee, Tea and Wine are known to cause teeth stains and yellowing of teeth.

Tannins, a type of organic substance found in coffee, tea and wine, build up on the tooth enamel and results in yellowing of teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Not brushing your teeth daily after every meal or at least 2 times for two minutes each as recommended by ADA, may lead to plaque accumulation and tartar formation.

Plaque, calculus or tartar causes yellowing of teeth and also increases the risk of periodontal diseases.

Chromogenic bacteria have also been reported to cause stains on your teeth commonly at the gingival margin of the tooth. 

Bad Habits: Tobacco Use

Tobacco in any form causes discoloration of teeth. Discoloration caused by tobacco is not yellow but more dark brown or black. 


Medications like Chlorhexidine, tetracycline and phenolic mouth rinses cause yellow discoloration of teeth.

According to a review published in the International Journal Of Dental Hygiene, Chlorhexidine mouthwash resulted in more significant tooth discoloration compared to chlorhexidine gel.

Tetracycline discoloration occurs below the gum line most commonly involving the anterior teeth, in children exposed to tetracycline during pregnancy or during the early years of tooth development.

Tetracycline also causes tooth discoloration in some adults but these stains are not permanent as in children.

Genetic And Metabolic Disorders

Metabolic disorders like hyperbilirubinemia cause yellowing of teeth.

Genetic disorders like amelogenesis imperfecta, dentin dysplasia and epidermolysis bullosa also result in yellowing of teeth.

Dental Injury

Injury in early childhood may disturb the tooth germ and can be one of the causes of tooth discoloration and yellowing of teeth.

Trauma in adulthood may also lead to discoloration of teeth.

Dental Materials

Dental materials such as composite and GIC lead to yellowish discoloration of the teeth.


As you grow older, the outer layer of teeth called enamel wears and the inner dentin is exposed, revealing an off-white appearance.

Excessive Fluoride

Fluoride in adequate amounts is crucial for healthy and strong teeth.

However, excessive fluoride from environmental sources such as high fluoride content in the local water supply or from excessive use of fluoride containing toothpaste and mouthrinses can cause teeth discoloration.

Orthodontic Treatment

According to a study, tooth discoloration is reported to be associated with orthodontic treatment where the tooth becomes darker.

Initial management can help resolve such types of discoloration.

Safe Ways To Use Bleach To Get Rid Of Yellow Teeth

Take Professional Help

Visit your dentist or dental hygienist and get their help in getting brighter, whiter teeth.

Ultrasonic scaling and cleaning, rotary polishing with an abrasive prophylactic paste, or air-jet polishing with an abrasive powder can help remove some of the extrinsic stains.

Enamel microabrasion along with bleaching can help in removal of superficial intrinsic tooth discoloration that is caused by fluorosis and orthodontic brackets.

In-office bleaching uses a 15-40% hydrogen peroxide solution with careful isolation of the teeth to protect the soft tissues from the harmful effects of the bleaching agent.

Home Bleaching

At-home bleaching is quite popularly known to reduce the yellow stain and help you get whiter teeth.

10-22% carbamide peroxide solution containing custom-made mouthguard can be daily or nightly applied for 2-6 weeks, for best bleaching results.

Whitening Strips And Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening strips containing hydrogen peroxide offer an at-home alternative to whiten the stained teeth.

Whitening toothpastes, containing 1% or less peroxide, are minimally effective.

However, darker stains can be successfully removed using a combination of in-office and at-home procedures.

Over-The-Counter Whitening Gels

Whitening gels are peroxide-based gels applied directly to the teeth surface with a small brush. 

Whitening Rinses

Whitening rinses are among the newest whitening products available.

Whitening rinses apart from whitening the teeth, also results in fresh breath and prevention of plaque accumulation.

Tray-based teeth whiteners

Tray-based teeth whitening systems can be purchased either over-the-counter or from a dentist, 

It is similar to a mouth-guard tray but has peroxide as a bleaching agent.

How To Ensure That You Are Using A Safe Whitening Product?

Teeth whiteners are not drugs and therefore not regulated by the FDA. 

Some whitening products have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which confirms that the product meets ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. 

According to the ADA, professional consultation is important to ensure safe and effective use of teeth whitening systems.


This blog post addressed the question, “can you brush your teeth with bleach”. We understood that diluted sodium hypochlorite is safe for dental bleach and about research backed natural ways to get white teeth and causes of yellowing of teeth. The research outlined safe ways to use bleaching products to get rid of yellow teeth.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS): Can You Brush Your Teeth With Bleach

Can you brush your teeth with household bleach?

No, you cannot brush your teeth with household bleach.

Sodium hypochlorite concentration in household bleach is as high as 7.5% and using it will surely damage your teeth and dissolve the gums.

Apart from sodium hypochlorite, there are also other poisonous and toxic components in the household bleach you should not ignore.

How can I whiten my teeth quickly?

To whiten teeth quickly you can use homemade toothpaste containing 1 tablespoon baking soda mixed with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide that helps to reduce yellowing of the teeth.

It is advised to use the homemade paste combination only a few times per week to avoid erosion and weakening of your tooth enamel.

Can Yellow Teeth Become White?

Yes. Yellow teeth can become white by undergoing the whitening process as recommended by your dentist and your dental hygienist.

Are yellow teeth healthy?

Yellow teeth may be due to your genetics and therefore can be perfectly healthy.

Some people have darker dentin genetically that gives their teeth off-white or yellowish appearance.

However, if the yellowing of teeth has gradually occurred or is due to any injury or medications or may be due to continuous enamel abrasion, then it is not too healthy.

What should you do if you brushed your teeth with household bleach?

If you brushed your teeth with household bleach, make sure you rinse it quickly without any contact with the gums and without swallowing any portion of it.

Household bleach contains sodium hypochlorite in dangerously high concentration that damages your teeth and dissolves your soft tissues including gums.

You must avoid brushing your teeth with household bleach and switch to at-home or in-office whitening systems after consulting your dentist or dental hygienist.

Other FAQs about Teeth brushing that you may be interested in.

Can you brush your teeth too much?

Does brushing teeth after eating sugar help?

Why Do I Keep Getting Cavities Even Though I Brush And Floss?


  1. Baumgartner JC, Cuenin PR. Efficacy of several concentrations of sodium hypochlorite for root canal irrigation. J Endod. 1992;18(12):605-612. doi:10.1016/S0099-2399(06)81331-2
  1. De Nardo, Rodrigo, et al. “Effects of 0.05% sodium hypochlorite oral rinse on supragingival biofilm and gingival inflammation.” International dental journal 62.4 (2012): 208-212.
  1. Galván, M, Gonzalez, S, Cohen, CL, Alonaizan, FA, Chen, CT-L, Rich, SK, Slots, J Periodontal effects of 0.25% sodium hypochlorite twice-weekly oral rinse. A pilot study. J Periodont Res 2014; 49: 696– 702.
  1. Rich SK, Slots J. Sodium hypochlorite (dilute chlorine bleach) oral rinse in patient self-care. J West Soc Periodontol Periodontal Abstr. 2015;63(4):99-104.
  1. Peedikayil FC, Sreenivasan P, Narayanan A. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. Niger Med J. 2015;56(2):143-147. doi:10.4103/0300-1652.153406
  1. Natural Ways To Whiten Teeth. (2019)

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