If you’re a caffeine lover, you might stress over the stains that coffee has been leaving on your teeth. Regular brushing might not get the job done if you’re using the wrong kind of product or remedy. Solutions for a whiter smile range from cheap to pricey, natural to chemical-laden. What they have in common, though, is ability to remove stains and make teeth whiter.

Whitening Pens

Whitening pens are effective and allow you to control how their formula — a gel — is applied. You can avoid applying too much onto your gums this way, and that’s important because teeth whitening pens often use carbamine peroxide, which releases a hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent. A potential danger is that some whitening pens contain 35 percent carbamide peroxide, and according to the American Dental Association, this has the potential to be corrosive to your gums. If you feel a lot of irritation when using a whitening pen, it may not be worth the health risks.

Whitening Strips

Like most teeth-bleaching products, whitening strips contain a hydrogen peroxide-based gel. This gel can come pre-applied onto a plastic whitening strip that you briefly stick to your teeth. Applying these strips can be an effective, albeit gooey, experience; the big downside is that hydrogen peroxide-based gels can irritate your gums. They can be very damaging if the gel’s concentration is higher than 10 percent. Check the percentage concentration on a product’s ingredients, and avoid prolonged use if irritation occurs.

Whitening Toothpastes

You might want a cheaper teeth-whitening product that contains less intensive chemicals. If so, when you’re out shopping for a new toothpaste, look for ingredients such as silica and blue covarine. These have been shown to give your teeth a whiter appearance. Toothpastes containing these ingredients won’t be as good as a more drastic bleaching gel, but they do remove surface stains such as those from drinking coffee.

Home Remedies

An easy do-it-yourself formula can whiten teeth so you won’t need to purchase an expensive whitening product. It’s a simple blend of baking soda and fresh lemon juice. After wiping away saliva and plaque off your teeth with a cotton swab, rub the remedy on your teeth for one minute. Don’t leave it on any longer than that, though, because citric acid erodes enamel. While it’s not as fast-acting as expensive whitening products, it is a cheaper way to get your coffee-stained teeth whiter and cleaner in a more natural way.

Diode Lasers

If you want a teeth whitening method that won’t affect your teeth and gums negatively, diode lasers are an FDA approved cosmetic dental option. Applied by a professional, the process involves laser energy emitted onto your teeth. The best part about going this route is how safe it is. While it is used for cosmetic whitening purposes, the same procedure is used to treat oral soft tissue and to repair gums. This can be a much better alternative to bleaching gels that can damage gums.