Best Teeth Whitening Products
There's a simple confidence that comes with being able to flash your set of pearly whites. If you’re considering adding a little more sparkle to your smile, there are teeth whitening products and natural whitening remedies that can help you smile toothily, and often.
Latest review: I have been using carbon co products for half a year now and I already see a major difference in the whiteness of my teeth!! this product is amazing and I definitely recommend this to anyone who is
Despite this kit’s packaging having a somewhat clinical appearance, it’s free of hydrogen peroxide, and features a natural ingredient list.
Totally whitening time is 60 minutes
Enriched with fluoride and using calcium carbonate as its main ingredient, this $5.50 toothpaste from WhiteGlo has many fans.
Effective at whitening teeth
Includes toothbrush and dental picks
Doesn’t test on animals
Latest review: After the first use my teeth were sparkling white! I recommend using it for half an hour for optimum results. SmilePro is definitely the best teeth whitening company over other brands and actually
Quick teeth whitening
These 3D White Whitestrips are thin, adhesive whitening strips that stick onto teeth, and contain a whitening gel activated by hydrogen peroxide.
Can effectively whiten teeth
Affordable compared to professional whitening
Can lose stickiness fast
14 hours total whitening time
How do I whiten my teeth?
There are a number of ways to whiten teeth. Which method you choose ultimately depends on a number of factors, including:
A chemical or natural approach
The shade that your teeth are to begin with
If your teeth are just slightly yellow to begin with (rather than heavily discoloured) they’ll whiten to a brighter shade afterwards, which may be achieved using at-home whitening solutions.
If you have teeth that are stained, or grey, brown or black at the start of the process, you’ll probably benefit from higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide applied in a dentist’s chair.
If discolouration is caused by consuming a lot of foods and drink that cause staining, your method of teeth whitening - even done frequently - might not make a difference unless you reduce your consumption of what’s causing the staining.
At-home teeth whitening
- Cheaper than professional teeth whitening. DIY teeth whitening products can cost as little as $5.50 for a WhiteGlo toothpaste.
- Less chemically concentrated than professional teeth whitening solutions, over-the-counter teeth whiteners are legally allowed a maximum concentration of 6% hydrogen peroxide.
- Not all products work the same but this won’t be stated on the label. For example, activated charcoal is effective at removing surface stains, but does little to remove deeper stains under the enamel.
- Might not actually work due to the lower concentration of whitening agents like hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide or sodium perborate allowed in over-the-counter whiteners.
- Can be unsafe as if the bleach makes contact with your gums, skin or eyes it can cause irritation and even burns.
Types of at-home teeth whitening
Teeth whitening kits
Most at-home DIY teeth whitening kits will contain hydrogen peroxide as the bleaching agent. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching chemical that works to whiten teeth. It bleaches surface stains, and should also penetrate deeper into the tooth for a more lasting effect.
Home teeth whitening kits often use a whitening gel with hydrogen peroxide inside it. If not, it may contain carbamide peroxide or sodium perborate instead; both of which release into hydrogen peroxide in a later stage of the process.
How to use a teeth whitening kit
While each product will have different directions, you generally will apply the whitening gel to two trays, which will fit around your top and bottom rows of teeth. The tray should fit tightly but comfortably around your teeth. If it doesn’t, the gel can leak out onto your gums, causing them to become irritated. If you can’t find trays that fit the shape and size of your teeth, getting trays custom-made for you by a dentist may be a better option.
Some teeth whitening kits include a blue LED light. This may speed up the whitening process (as it accelerates the release of hydrogen peroxide), however they don’t make your teeth any whiter.
With over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, it can often take up to two weeks to see results.
Teeth whitening pens
These are designed to look like a pen, but instead of having ink inside, they contain a teeth whitening gel. This gel bleaches the stains on individual teeth - you just have to ‘paint’ it onto them using the pen.
Pens seemingly make less mess than the oozy gel in trays, but they're also a less accurate method of whitening than using trays. Saliva can neutralise the peroxides in the gel, making the whitening agent ineffective.
With this method, the bleaching agent is applied to a plastic strip, which you place over top and bottom rows of teeth.
Whitening strips can also be a less precise method of teeth whitening than using gel and trays. Because the strips are rectangular in shape, they won’t cover your teeth exactly, like the nooks and crevices.
This can cause them to whiten in some places, but be left with their old colour in others.
Professional teeth whitening
There are two types of teeth-whitening treatments that you can get at the dentist, in chair-dentist whitening, and take-home whitening kits.
In-chair dentist whitening
When whitening teeth at the dentist, they'll apply a whitening gel, and then uses a blue UV light to activate the gel and accelerate the whitening process.
- More effective for darker teeth or heavy stains as dentists in Australia are allowed to use a concentration of 35% hydrogen peroxide.
- Speedy results as appointments usually take around an hour, after which you should be able to notice a visible difference.
- Longer lasting whitening, as the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide deeply penetrates the enamel, rather than just bleaching the surface of the tooth.
- Professional assessment can lead to more effective whitening as a good dentist should select a whitening plan targeted to the cosmetic condition of your teeth, getting rid of guesswork.
- Use of UV light is effective and can often lead to teeth that maintain their whiteness for longer (especially compared to the blue light in at-home kits, which is ineffective).
- More expensive than at-home whitening. Some health fund providers cover some of the cost of cosmetic dental whitening, on an extras plan, but check your policy to be certain.
- Can be uncomfortable if you have sensitive teeth, as the high chemical concentrations in the gel can cause ‘zingers’ - or pangs of pain.
- Often requires maintenance sessions in the form of periodically using a take-home whitening kit supplied by your dentist. This means in-chair whitening isn’t necessarily a one-off session, like you might expect.
These whitening kits provided by a dentist are similar to . The main difference is that dentists take impressions, or moulds, of your teeth. They'll then create trays that are custom-fitted to the shape of your teeth and mouth. This means that trays fit more snugly, and gel is less likely to spill out.
As a result, you'll need less gel - and the gel won't overflow and cause gingivial irritation (irritated gums).
Is teeth whitening bad for you?
There are some side effects that come with whitening teeth. Unfortunately, the most effective products are also likely to be the most damaging to your teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide is the most commonly used bleaching agent. However, in high concentrations it pentrates through to the dentin (the layer of teeth underneath your enamel) and agitates the fibres there.
This can cause sensitivity in teeth, leading to pangs or zaps of discomfort. aIf you already have sensitive teeth, it can cause pain when eating hot or cold foods or drinks.
Hydrogen peroxide in high concentrations can be abrasive to the enamel in teeth. While it does whiten teeth, the effect will be impermanent if it erodes your tooth enamel, as you'll have less enamel available to whiten in future.
To avoid this, don't order home teeth-whitening kits online from the US. The amount of hydrogen peroxide allowed is unregulated, and often high - potentially damaging teeth.
Also watch out for other harmful ingredients that can wear away the enamel on your teeth, such as citric acid (which is added as a whitening accelerator) and chlorine dioxide, which is used as a pesticide.
Natural teeth whitening
If the thought of putting hydrogen peroxide on your chompers doesn't really appeal to you, you may want to explore the safer realm of natural whitening options.
Apart from ready-made products on the shelves, you can also experiment with some DIY. Popular home whitening methods include oil pulling, whitening with banana peels, baking soda mixed with water, and emptying a capsule of food-grade activated charcoal powder, and brushing with it.
- Natural ingredients are free of chemicals, and the side-effects of teeth whitening than can occur as a result.
- Better for sensitive teeth as the peroxide-free ingredients mean you won't have an unexpected pain sesh brought upon after applying chemical whiteners.
- Convenient and cost-effective as these natural whiteners can often be found in an everyday household pantry, or an a supermarket shelf.
- Results are less pronounced and take longer to witness, than if using a product containing hydrogen peroxide.
- Not usually effective for darker teeth or stains that occur deeper than the enamel.
What causes discoloured teeth?
While teeth discolouration often happens naturally in the aging process, as tooth enamel - the strong, outer covering of teeth - naturally thins over time.
Here are some other contributing factors that can lead to discoloured teeth or staining. They can be helpful to know, as a large part of keeping your teeth white is identifying the reason they stopped being a white you like in the first place.
- Drinking caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea (which also has dark tannins in it, leading to staining)
- Smoking tobacco can lead to yellow or stained teeth
- Taking certain medications like antibiotics, antihistamines or blood pressure medications over a prolonged period
- Consuming foods, drinks or supplements high in sugar or acids. This includes soft drinks, alcohol (particularly wine), fruit juice and citric fruit
- Poor dental hygiene which happens over time as the result of neglecting to brush or floss regularly. This can lead to a build-up of plaque and tartar (a hard film of bacteria) which changes the colour of teeth.
Overall, teeth whitening at home can be a quick and easy way to achieve a brighter, whiter smile. The best teeth whitening method for home use is using whitening kit, with teeth trays custom-made by a dentist. However, approach whitening with care if you have sensitive teeth, any existing tooth erosion or other conditions, as the bleaching agents in most whitening products can aggravate these. Otherwise, there are also more gentle natural teeth whitening options available.