The 6 best at-home teeth whitening kits in 2021, according to dentists

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • At-home teeth whitening kits help lift surface stains, but many are expensive and hurt your teeth.
  • We asked six professional dentists to recommend their go-to at-home teeth-whitening products.
  • Our top pick, Crest 3D White Professional Effects, is effective, simple, and fairly affordable.

Wanting whiter teeth in a world of first impressions and social media needs no explanation. But which at-home teeth whitening kits won’t make your pearlies sensitive after one round – that’s much harder.

In actuality, the most effective way to whiten your teeth is at the dentist’s office; however, that’s expensive and inaccessible for many people. Whitening toothpastes can help with daily maintenance, but they won’t create that ‘wow’ factor. At-home teeth whitening kits can save you money, time, and allow you to regularly re-whiten as needed (aka, as your coffee and red wine habit sees fit). The problem: A lot of whitening kits are too strong, causing your gums to become sensitive to pressure and your teeth sensitive to cold after just one use.

To find the most effective at-home teeth whitening products, including options for sensitive teeth, we asked a handful of dentists what the best teeth whiteners are for a brighter smile ASAP. We took into consideration options for sensitive teeth and gums, folks on a budget, and other buying factors. We tested many of their suggestions, as well as leading brands on the market, and combed through research and ratings. Each of the teeth whitening kits below are effective, easy to use, and less likely to irritate your teeth or gums.

Here are the best teeth whitening kits you can buy:

The best teeth whitening kit overall

crest whitening kit

Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips are effective, won’t slide around during treatment, easy to find at any drugstore, and have a less-concentrated formula for minimal sensitivity.

Pros: Produces results in four or five uses, recommended by dentists, low peroxide levels

Cons: May irritate the gums

Pack count: 20 treatments

Easy to put on and with an effective formula, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips offers the most bang for your buck and is a favorite of Neil Hadaegh DDS, a professional dentist in Beverly Hills.

The gel is contained in strips that you press to mold around your teeth — so much so that Crest says you can even drink water and talk while wearing the strips thanks to their “Advanced Seal Technology.”

This formula typically has a lower concentration (10%) of Hydrogen Peroxide so it’s better for people who have sensitive teeth and can’t tolerate higher levels.

The Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips kit comes with 40 strips for 20 treatments (each treatment consists of a strip on the upper teeth and one on the lower teeth.) You are supposed to wear the strips for 30 minutes, once per day. Crest claims that after the 20 daily treatments, you can remove 14 years of tooth stains. 

However, strips don’t offer the custom fit of trays, which means you may notice some increased sensitivity if your gums come in contact with the whitening strips.

The best whitening trays

opalescence

If you’re looking for more precision in your application to avoid gum sensitivity, your best bet is combining teeth whitening gel with mouth trays or guards like in the Opalescence Go 15% kit.

Pros: Effective, greater control over application, potentially less gum sensitivity

Cons: Expensive, may cause sensitivity

Pack count: 10 treatments

The benefit of using a mouth tray or mouth guard with gel is that, unlike white strips, you aren’t as likely to miss spots on the teeth or irritate your gums. 

Opalescence is known for its whitening products in the dental industry. I’ve gotten amazing results with the Opalescence 35% formula, which is a syringe you squirt into your own trays and is slightly more intense. Heather Kunen, DDS, orthodontist and co-owner of Beam Street in New York recommended the Opalescence Go to Insider for how easy and mess-free the process is is to use to get that same high-quality whitening Opalescence is known for.

Dr. Hadaegh also likes this product, adding that the trays adapt to your teeth all the way to your molars. “They have 15% hydrogen peroxide, which means you only need to wear them for 15 to 20 minutes a day for five to 10 days. It also contains potassium nitrate and fluoride to help reduce sensitivity while strengthening enamel.”

However, because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is so high, there’s a chance you may still experience some sensitivity, in which case it’s best to switch to a less concentrated alternative like Crest Whitestrips.

The best for sensitive teeth and gums

zimba white strips

Zimba white strips whiten over 7 to 14 days without causing major tooth or gum sensitivity and come in tasty flavors.

Pros: Affordable, no-slip strips

Cons: Only covers front 10 teeth (upper and lower), takes about a week to whiten, whitening doesn’t last

Pack count: 14 treatments

If you’re looking for teeth whitening strips but have had issues with teeth sensitivity in the past, Kunen suggested Zimba white strips. It’s made with a gentle formula that uses a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide.

One box contains 28 stain-removing strips (14 upper, 14 lower) which cover your front 10 teeth on top and 10 on the bottom. The strips stay on pretty well with anti-slip technology and they’re slick, so there’s no gel or goop. Moreover, you can choose between two tasty flavors, coconut or mint.

Zimba says you’ll see whiter teeth in 14 days, and it truly does take at least one week to start seeing any difference. The major downside here is that the whitening doesn’t seem to last long — most reviewers say you have to use the strips regularly to maintain results. But that’s not surprising considering the formula is gentler, and considering these are about as cheap as you can get for an effective whitening kit, these are a great way to whiten before an event without breaking the bank. –Rachael Schultz, health and fitness updates editor

The best LED kit

smile direct club

If you don’t want to use strips and are determined to use an LED light, the SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit is the way to go.

Pros: Few reports of sensitivity issues, more precise application of whitening gel, reusable mouth guard

Cons: Expensive, dentists agree the LED light will not make a noticeable difference 

Pack count: 14-28 treatments

The idea of LED teeth whitening kits has mixed reviews: Brands claim the light helps make teeth whitening more effective than traditional whitening strips or trays, but there aren’t any studies to support this claim and many dentists feel like they don’t speed up the process. Patrick Campbell, DDS put it succinctly when speaking with Insider: “Frankly, these products are not worth the money.”

That being said, LED whitening kits are probably as effective as the other options so they’re not a waste of money if you can find a well-priced option. Also, they come with whitening pens that allow you a bit more control in terms of the application so you can avoid your gums and any increased sensitivity, and they usually require you to spend less time per day with the formula on your teeth.

If you want to try an LED whitening kit, SmileDirectClub’s Teeth Whitening Kit is one of the most convenient choices and about the same price as non-LED options.

The direct-to-consumer kit includes a LED mouthguard to act as a catalyst for the hydrogen peroxide whitening formula. It only requires 10 minutes a day of use and comes with nine whitening pens (enough for two full treatments). When I tested the device, I found the company’s estimates to be conservative — I got more than double the use out of the pens than expected, which is a great value for the money.

I loved that the LED device just plugs into your smartphone for power. 

SmileDirectClub’s Teeth Whitening Kit is $74 for the LED Light and an estimated 12-month supply of whitening pens, and $40 for the LED Light and 6-month pen supply. You can find them all here.

Read our full review on SmileDirectClub’s LED whitening kit.

The best natural kit

teeth whitening

The Miswak Club Natural Teeth Whitening Kit is your best alternative if you’re looking for a natural, chemical-free approach to whitening your teeth.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use, no added chemicals

Cons: Takes some getting used to, smells weird

Pack count: 40 treatments

Teeth-cleaning sticks known as Miswak have been used for thousands of years in what is now Pakistan, India, many African countries, and other parts of the world. And, a meta-analysis in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found that the Miswak was just as effective for oral hygiene as the toothbrush and toothpaste used by Western cultures.

The Miswak Club Natural Teeth Whitening Kit features two Miswak root sticks with two carrying cases. Each stick will last for three weeks of daily use. Miswak comes from the Arak tree, and this product contains no pesticides or chemicals. Miswak Club offers a 120-day money-back guarantee if you do not have noticeably whiter teeth after using their kit.

It has a sweet musky smell (which some people like and others really don’t) and doesn’t make a mess. Some reviewers have noted that it may take a few weeks of daily use to notice effects and that the smell may be a bit off-putting.

The best for professional-level results

linhart

If you want the intenser results of whitening at a dentist’s office, but at home, the Linhart Teeth Whitening Collection uses a formula from cosmetic dentists in New York City.

Pros: Professional-grade results, easy to use

Cons: Expensive, LED has minimal proven advantage

“This whitening system was custom designed by high-end cosmetic dentists in New York City and utilizes the same whitening gel they use in their office on their patients,” Dr. Kunen, who has no affiliation with Linhart, explained.

The kit contains four syringes of 35% carbamide peroxide whitening gel, an LED whitening light to activate the gel, and a milder whitening gel to help maintain your results. It’s a bit pricier than other at-home kits but, as Kunen pointed out, “For those patients looking to replicate a chairside whitening experience, this is closest you will find!” –Rachael Schultz, health and fitness updates editor

What else we considered

What else we recommend

Glowup LED Kit ($35): This direct-to-consumer LED whitening start up will personalize the whitening formula to your level of tooth/gum sensivity and discoloration. The LED light is powered by your phone and requires 16 minutes of use. It only comes with three gel vials and the syringes aren’t the most intuitive to spread on your teeth, so SmileDirectClub is a better choice for most people. But if you have sensitive teeth and want lasting results, Glowup is a great option. (Read our full review here.)

Snow LED Kit ($149): This well-designed LED teeth whitening kit comes with 4 serum pens (no syringes) that are easy to apply precisely to your teeth. All four will last you 75 treatments. The mouthpiece is very comfortable to bite for the suggested 10 minutes and plugs into your phone for power. The kit is quite pricey, but I saw results after two uses, so the included treatments will allow a whole family to whiten regularly for basically all of time.

Opalescence PF 35% Whitening Gel ($45.49): This is a cheaper alternative to the Opalescence Go that Dr. Kunen and Dr. Hadaegh both recommend, delivering the same Carbamide Peroxide formula in a syringe. You’ll need to use your own mouth trays, but we can confirm it delivers whiter teeth after just a few 30-minute sessions.

Lumibrite 32% Whitening Gel($25): Dr. Hadaegh told Insider that Lumibrite causes little to no sensitivity, while also producing excellent whitening results due to its high concentration of Carbamide Peroxide. It does require custom bleaching trays.

Zoom NiteWhite 22% Whitening Gel ($30): NiteWhite is a clinical-grade tooth whitening gel of 22% Carbamide Peroxide. It’s medium strength, so it’s an excellent option for individuals who have some tooth sensitivity but want a whitening gel that’s not too strong or too weak, Hadaegh said.

HiSmile Whitening ($130): If whitening kits have left your teeth or gums sensitive in the past, Kunen suggested this brand which uses Pthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) as its principal whitening agent as opposed to the more traditional and harsher peroxides. It’s definitely more expensive than the other options, but it’s also super easy to use.

What we don’t recommend

GLO Teeth Whitening Kit ($150): Glo Science sells a similar device to SmileDirectClub; both use an LED mouthpiece to reportedly act as a catalyst for hydrogen peroxide. But SmileDirectClub is a better value at half the cost. We still recommend strips over gel and mouth trays over LED light options, though.

FAQs about whitening your teeth

What types of teeth whitening products exist?

There are essentially two types of kits: ones that bleach your teeth to take stains off and ones that physically scrape off the stains. Whitening trays and strips have been the standard for decades and generally rely on carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Activated charcoal powders had a spike in popularity recently, but the dentists we interviewed would tell you to nix the powders. Ira Handschuh, DDS, cosmetic dentist at The Dental Design Center in White Plains, NY and Ania Mohelicki, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Boulder, CO both told Business Insider that they don’t recommend these because they can be abrasive and only remove surface stains. 

There is a third type of teeth whitening product that simply blasts your teeth with LED light, which typically claims to speed up the process and achieve more intense results. However, most of the dentists we interviewed agreed that any gains from this treatment are short-lived or nonexistent. “Most studies show some difference detected by computers, but no visual difference detected by the human eye. For the studies conducted in actual patients (in vivo), most found no added benefit for light-activated systems,” Charles Sutera DDS, FAGD, a professional dentist at Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction in Waltham, MA told Insider.

Only the SmileDirectClub system in our guide uses this technology, but it is used in conjunction with a whitening gel and a mouthguard that may offer better control over your placement and avoid increased gum sensitivity in comparison to strips. 

Which teeth whitening products are most effective?

“Shopping for teeth whitening products is very simple.” Dr. Sutera explained. “There is only one active ingredient in all teeth whitening products: hydrogen peroxide. It’s the same agent whether it’s prescription use or over the counter. Any other ingredients in the product are inactive fillers needed to create the right consistency of the product.” If you see carbamide peroxide on your ingredient list, it’s just a derivative of hydrogen peroxide. 

“The key is to understand that whitening can be effective at any percentage, but what differs is the time of use. A high percentage of hydrogen peroxide typically is only kept on the teeth for 20 minutes maximum, while a lower percentage can be worn for 6 hours or overnight.” Dr. Sutera explains. “Much of the selection comes down to personal preference. If you have a tendency to develop tooth sensitivity or if you want to minimize the risks of irritating your gums, that’s when you’d select a lower concentration.”

A few warnings about teeth whitening kits

Peroxide is effective, but it comes with several warnings. Pregnant or nursing women may want to stop using peroxide-based whitening products. It also isn’t suitable for children under 14 years old. And, you should not use peroxide for longer than two weeks of daily use without the supervision of a dentist.

The FDA does not recommend using any whitening gels with a peroxide concentration of higher than 18%. Two of the kits we recommend use peroxide (Crest Whitestrips and SmileDirectClub) but they should be safe for most people.

Again, you should always consult with your dentist before starting a course of treatment. For instance, if your darkened teeth are due to the natural thinning of tooth enamel that comes with aging, whitening kits will not help you. Also, they cannot whiten fillings, dentures, veneers, crowns, or caps.

Most importantly, Dr. Mohelicki says the biggest concern is wearing whitening kits for the right amount of time. “Over-the-counter options are inexpensive when compared to in-office whitening, but they offer no gum protection. With no gum protection, users can experience increased sensitivity and even burns in severe cases.” 

How to use teeth whitening kits effectively

Before using a teeth whitening kit, brush your teeth so your whitening agent can make contact with the surface of your teeth to improve efficacy, and so it doesn’t accidentally create an uneven white. “Any buildup of plaque or food debris will not allow for the whitening agent to contact the tooth and therefore not allow the whitening agent to do its job,” Dr. Campbell explained. “You could end up with a speckled, uneven whitened appearance.” 

And, after you’ve whitened, try to avoid food and drinks that stain your teeth.”I recommend that my patients stick to a ‘colorless diet’ just after whitening,” Dr. Handschuh told Business Insider. “Meaning, avoid highly-staining food and drink such as coffee, red wine, tea, sauces, etc.” But, if you really want to, he recommends using a straw to bypass your teeth a bit. 

As Dr. Sutera explained, whitening your teeth and then having a glass of red wine is like “two people in a canoe paddling in different directions. The whitening products open the pores and clean them out. If you have coffee, tea, or red wine within 72 hours of whitening your teeth, your teeth are more likely to absorb dark stains and adversely impact your whitening results.”

Does teeth-whitening damage your enamel?

“Most studies show that whitening does not damage enamel,” Dr. Sutera said. Though, there has been recent research that shows teeth whitening can affect proteins deeper in the tooth, though researchers are not currently sure if the damage is temporary or permanent, according to Dr. Sutera.

How can you prevent tooth sensitivity?

“It is common for the majority of people to experience increased tooth sensitivity after having teeth whitening done.” Dr. Mohelicki says. “However, for those who already have sensitive teeth, I recommend starting out by trying a whitening toothpaste. This takes significantly longer than trying an over-the-counter product or having teeth bleached in-office, but it can be significantly less painful.”

For whitening toothpaste, Dr. Sutera recommends patients with sensitive teeth use a toothpaste with potassium nitrate and fluoride and also use a fluoride mouth rinse. According to Dr. Sutera, potassium nitrate is the primary ingredient that helps with sensitive teeth, and fluoride a secondary option that has also been shown to help.  

If you have sensitive teeth and want to use a teeth whitening agent, you may just want to avoid higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. “The suggestion I would make is to use a lower concentration of whitening agent to get their desired whitening outcome while minimizing the risk of tooth sensitivity.” Dr. Campbell said. “Although anecdotal, I’ve found that brushing with Sensodyne toothpaste before and after whitening has helped me avoid sensitivity.”  

Why do you feel increased sensitivity after you whiten?

The bleaching temporarily weakens your enamel so the bleach can pass through it and further lift those stains, explained Dr. Mohelicki. “When [our enamel] is weakened during the bleaching treatment, many patients find that it can be hard to consume hot beverages, ice-cold beverages, or even eat certain foods. This typically wears off within 72 hours of ending treatment.” 

Our experts

For this piece, we consulted a handful of different dentists for multiple perspectives:

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Crest Whitestrips are on major sale at nearly half off for Prime Day 2021

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

crest whitestrips deal amazon prime day 4x3

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Nearly everyone wants a whiter smile, but at-home whitening strips are not only expensive, but half the time don’t actually work (or wreak havoc on your teeth). Crest’s 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips is one of the top at-home whitening kits recommended by the dentists we spoke to, and our editors love the effectiveness of the kit.

Even better: Right now for Amazon Prime Day 2021, we’re seeing a box of our favorite teeth-whitening kit for nearly half off – just $28, which is $22 off its standard price of $50. This was one of our favorite deals we vetted during last year’s Prime Day event and this time around, the deal is very similar; however, Amazon seems to be the only retailer who’s running the deal this year.

Amazon Prime members can take advantage of the discount through the end of Prime Day (June 22), as can anyone who signs up for a new membership or renews a subscription.

3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips Kit (medium)

Crest’s popular Whitestrips are a frequent Prime Day highlight, with more than 100,000 of the product selling during the annual event in each of the last two years – and seeing as how attractive the deal is this year, it’ll be quite sought-after yet again.

There’s no doubt the product is a runaway success due to the large discount but it’s also because of its promised ease of use and effectiveness. In our guide to the best teeth-whitening kits, the Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips came out on top as the best overall teeth-whitening strips.

The kit comes with 22 treatments and is highly intuitive to use. You need to just peel the strips – one for the top teeth and one for the bottom – from the backing, and then stretch and apply them to your teeth. After 30 minutes, you simply remove the strips, and that’s one session.

We found that results tend to show up in as little as three days and after completing a full 20-day treatment, the results are meant to last for 12 months or more. If you want a quicker, in-the-moment solution, the kit also comes with two treatments of 1-Hour Express strips that remove stains in as little as one hour.

The best Amazon Prime Day Crest Whitestrips deals right now

The Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips are currently on sale for $28 through Amazon during Prime Day 2021, which is roughly $22 off its standard price of $49.99.

Be sure to check out our guide to the best teeth-whitening kits to see why we named Crest’s Whitestrips as our top overall teeth-whitening kit, and why it’s not only recommended by dentists but also great for anyone with sensitive teeth or gums.

Prime 30-Day Free Trial (medium)

What deals were there on Crest’s Whitestrips last year?

Last year, Amazon discounted Crest’s Whitestrips to just under $28, which accounted for a total savings of $22 off the normal price (or 44%). This was the best deal we’d seen on the kits throughout last year and made the easiest and most effective teeth-whitening product a no-brainer to recommend.

Not only was it popular among our readers, but it was one of the most sought-after deals across all of Prime Day.

Why should I buy Crest Whitestrips?

The reasons why one should buy Crest Whitestrips are many. Not only are they an effective and easy-to-use solution for whitening your teeth, but they’re also great for people with sensitive teeth, are widely available, and easy to procure.

During our tests, we found Crest’s Whitestrips to deliver results in as few as four or five uses, and appreciated how intuitive the entire kit was to use. If you’ve been thinking about trying out a teeth-whitening kit for yourself, it doesn’t get better than Crest Whitestrips.

Are Crest’s Whitestrips a reliable teeth-whitening solution?

Yes, we found Crest Whitestrips to be a reliable teeth-whitening solution across various tests of our own. Even after just four or five uses, we started noticing actual results – and there are still roughly 15 more treatments after that.

Crest claims that the full 20-treatment kit can remove “14 years of tooth stains” and while it’s impossible for us to accurately gauge whether that assertion is correct or not, we did notice clear, positive benefits of using Crest’s Whitestrips.

3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips Kit (medium)

Frequently asked questions

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is an annual two-day sale held by Amazon, featuring literally thousands of discounts on everything from fitness trackers and apparel to camping equipment, kitchen appliances, and clothing (among so much more). Amazon offers exclusive sales and discounts on some of its own popular products, as well, including its Kindle e-reader and smart home equipment like the Amazon Echo.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day 2021 starts at midnight on June 21 and runs through the end of June 22. However, some of the featured deals may only be available during either the first or second day of the event, so it’s smart to check back to Amazon’s Prime Day landing page often as new deals and discounts will be posted throughout the event.

Do I need to be a Prime member?

Yes, you do have to be an Amazon Prime member to enjoy any of the sales during Prime Day 2021. If you haven’t yet signed up for Prime, Amazon gives new users a free 30-day trial through its website.

What are the benefits of being a Prime member?

Aside from having access to the annual Prime Day sale, Amazon Prime members are also privy to a slew of benefits that make either the annual or monthly dues well worth the recurring expenditure. This includes free two-day shipping on eligible items (where available) and access to Amazon’s extensive library of movies and television shows via Prime Video.

Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

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The 4 best whitening toothpastes of 2021, according to dentists

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Whitening toothpaste helps remove surface stains from teeth.
  • We spoke to 4 dentists on what to look for in a whitening toothpaste that won’t hurt your teeth or gums.
  • Our top choice, Colgate Total SF, is effective, ADA-approved, and budget-friendly.

Whether you’re a coffee addict, ex-smoker, or just want to polish your smile a little brighter, virtually everyone wants whiter teeth. There are all kinds of intensive options available, from whitening strips to in-office dental treatments. But for most of us, the easiest way is to switch up our toothpaste and ask it to do more than just fight plaque and cavities.

Whitening toothpaste generally works by using enamel-safe abrasives to physically remove surface stains. Many also contain other active ingredients, like peroxide, to dissolve stains and bleach teeth. Some even contain a chemical called blue covarine, which makes teeth appear whiter instantly by canceling out yellow tones – sort of an optical illusion.

But since not every ingredient is equal and some teeth whitening products notoriously cause tooth sensitivity, we spoke to four board-certified dentists to learn which whitening toothpaste really works. They shared the top brands they recommend to patients, as well as some tips for what to look for when shopping. We also personally tested several toothpastes to get a feel for texture, taste, and anything else a consumer might want to know.

Here are the best whitening toothpaste options:

The best whitening toothpaste overall

A box of Colgate Total SF Whitening Toothpaste on a white background

Colgate Total SF Whitening Gel is a top pick among our dentists as it’s a budget-friendly and effective way to whiten and protect the overall health of your teeth.

Pros: Inexpensive, American Dental Association (ADA) approved, provides sensitivity relief

Cons: Taste is questionable to some

Two of our expert sources, Ben El Chami, DMD, a NYC-based dentist and co-founder/chief dental officer of dntlbar and Chris Salierno, DDS, a Melville, NY-based dental practitioner and chief dental officer of Tend, independently named Colgate Total Whitening as a top option they’d recommend to patients looking for a daily whitening boost. It also bears the ADA seal of acceptance, meaning the professional organization support that its efficacy and safety claims are sufficiently backed up by clinical research

It’s a clear winner in the eyes of the pros because, in addition to whitening power, it has antibacterial properties that help defend against gum disease and tooth decay. These effects come from the active ingredient, stannous fluoride, which also helps offset the increased sensitivity some people experience when using whitening toothpastes. 

The minty taste is subtle and not-too-strong without any unpleasant aftertaste. And compared to other toothpaste packaging, we love that Colgate Total has a flat flip-cap for easier access and the option to stand the tube up straight on your sink.

The best natural whitening toothpaste

Tom's of Main Simply White Toothpaste on a white background

From trustworthy natural personal-care-products brand, Tom’s of Maine Simply White Clean Mint Toothpaste delivers on its whitening promises without any harsh chemicals.

Pros: ADA-approved, no artificial flavorings or colorings, brand prioritizes sustainability and ethics

Cons: Some users dislike the taste, some complain that it’s less effective than traditional toothpastes in keeping breath fresh, price

Tom’s of Maine Simply White is one of very few toothpaste brands in the “natural” sector to earn ADA approval with proven whitening effects. If you prefer to steer clear of traditional toothpastes because of their ingredients, production process, or simply personal preference, Tom’s Simply White is the best bet for whiter teeth, vouched for by dentists and customers. 

Like most whitening toothpastes, Tom’s Simply White uses abrasives — in this case naturally-derived silicas — to scrub off surface stains. It’s flavored with peppermint oil which delivers a mild, not overpowering fresh flavor. The tube is recyclable, which we love, and it has a smaller cap and opening which, in our experience, makes for less of a mess but also means you can’t store it upright on your bathroom counter.

Tom’s also contains fluoride. There are oft-debated but largely unproven or debunked arguments against the naturally-occurring mineral, but it’s an ingredient the ADA and every dentist we spoke with strongly encourage people to look for in their toothpaste thanks to decades-long body of evidence that make it the gold standard in cavity prevention.

The best whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth

A box of Crest Pro-Health Gum and Sensitivity Sensitive Toothpaste Gentle Whitening on a white background

Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening is a science-backed plaque remover and a rare combination of sensitivity relief and whitening power.

Pros: ADA-approved, relieves sensitivity

Cons: Some users dislike taste and texture, not enough relief for extremely sensitive users, whitening effects are subtle

There aren’t too many whitening toothpastes on the market that specifically cater to those with sensitive teeth. Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening, however, does and it’s the only ADA-approved toothpaste that offers both sensitivity relief and whitening effects. The stain removal is provided by hydrated silica, which acts as a gentle abrasive. This isn’t as extreme as some other products, both in terms of removing stains and causing sensitivity, so it’s a real trade off. But it’s the best-researched option out there for sensitivity sufferers looking for stain removal action.

The minty-sweet taste is mild but pleasant, and users say that, compared to other leading brands of sensitive toothpaste, it both tastes better and relieves sensitivity better. Like the Colgate Total SF Whitening Gel, we like that this tube has a flat flip cap for easy closure and the ability to stand vertical on a countertop to save space.

The best intensive whitening toothpaste

A tube of Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling White toothpaste on a white background

Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling White is formulated with hydrogen peroxide and abrasives to provide a double-whammy whitening effect.

Pros: ADA-approved, extra-strength whitening ability

Cons: May leave a filmy mouthfeel after using

Colgate Optic White Advanced, like the other products on our list, contains gentle abrasives to scrub stains and polish teeth. But it also uses hydrogen peroxide for its natural lightening properties, giving you a one-two punch of whitening techniques – sort of like washing your white laundry with not just a strong detergent, but bleach too. 

It’s the only bleaching toothpaste (not merely stain-removing) that the ADA has granted approval to, and like all ADA-approved pastes, it includes fluoride for cavity prevention. Despite its powerful whitening ability, Optic White is safe for enamel and many people report less sensitivity and irritation than with other whitening toothpastes.

The toothpaste works by creating a sort of film on the surface of your teeth so that the hydrogen peroxide can continue to work for more than just the two minutes you spend brushing. As a result, some people don’t like the feeling it leaves after you brush.

How I tested

A pink toothbrush over a bathroom sink with toothpaste on it

In researching this piece, I consulted four dental professionals (see Expert Sources, below)  as well as several published, peer-reviewed articles testing the efficacy and safety of various whitening toothpaste and active ingredients. 

I also personally tried several kinds of toothpaste to take note of:

  • Taste: Toothpaste is toothpaste, not candy, so we don’t want to oversell the flavor of any of the products as “delicious” – but some pastes have strange, chemical, or overly-powerful flavors and aftertastes. Most of the pastes I tried had a simple, fresh taste that contributes to the overall clean feeling you want after brushing, but a few tasted mildly metallic or just plain unusual due to non-traditional flavoring ingredients.
  • Texture:  Generally, toothpaste is either a gel or a paste and is pretty thick. I paid mind to see if any felt chalky, runny, or gritty, as well as how well they lather and spread around the mouth. Items that didn’t make the cut usually felt weird in one of these ways.
  • Packaging/ease of use – It’s not terribly common, but some toothpaste tubes are somewhat difficult to use because of poorly-designed packaging. For example: one of the toothpastes I don’t recommend, the Plus Ultra, is in a metal tube similar to what artists’ paint comes in and was kind of a pain to squeeze. Conversely, all our picks have easy-to-open or -close caps.

What to look for in whitening toothpaste

There are two major categories of whitening ingredients in toothpaste: abrasives and bleaching agents. Most whitening toothpastes rely on gentle, enamel-safe abrasives that work to scrub off stains caused by eating and drinking. Technically, they’re not changing the color of your teeth, just cleaning off any gunk that might make them appear more yellow. This is going to be the vast majority of whitening toothpastes available, and is why most people need to use at-home whitening kits to see a truly brighter smile.

Bleaching agents (like peroxide), on the other hand, can actually lift the color in the outermost layers of your enamel. However, they’re less common in toothpastes because they usually need more than two minutes of contact to really work (hence, why whitening strips work – they hold the bleaching agent on your teeth for several minutes). Additionally, bleaching agents can be irritating and cause sensitivity for some. The only bleaching toothpaste that made our top picks, Colgate Optic White, actually creates a film that sits on your teeth, keeping them in contact with the hydrogen peroxide for longer than the few minutes you spend brushing.

According to Drs. El Chami, Hain, and Springs, the number one thing to look for when shopping for new products is the ADA seal of acceptance. Brands can choose to submit their products to the American Dental Association, a non-profit advocating for safe dental practices, for review to obtain its seal which signals that the dental community agrees there is enough research to substantiate that a product is safe and effective. This is especially important when it comes to whitening toothpastes, as they tend to use abrasives like silica (the same stuff that makes up most of sand) to scrub off stains. The ADA review ensures those abrasives aren’t doing more harm to your enamel than good. 

The other thing you need to look for is fluoride, a mineral that strengthens enamel and helps prevent cavities. The naturally-occurring mineral has been demonized by phony science, but the ADA, all our experts, and a whole body of research deem it not only safe in your toothpaste, but also necessary for preventing cavities. Learn more in our FAQs.

The only ingredients dentists recommend you avoid are sugars, which improve the flavor of toothpaste but can cause adverse effects including tooth decay. Fortunately, the majority of toothpastes utilize tooth-safe sugar alternatives like xylitol or stevia.

What else we considered

an open box of toothpaste products sitting on a bed

Relatively few products on the market bear the ADA approval seal, which our sources overwhelmingly told us was the best way to know a product’s claims have been substantiated by research and thus the ones we can recommend to you most confidently. That said, a product without the seal isn’t necessarily ineffectual or bad — it just likely didn’t undergo the organization’s optional review process (which does cost money, so is difficult for smaller companies to obtain). Here are some other, non-ADA-approved products that came up in our research:

What else we recommend

  • BURST Fluoride ($10): This brand’s fluoridated toothpaste also boasts a lack of sodium lauryl sulfate, along with parabens and artificial flavors and colors, but it tastes and feels perfectly normal. 
  • Smile Direct Club Premium Fluoride Whitening ($5): The brand you probably know from their subway ads also sells a whitening toothpaste, and it happens to be relatively inexpensive compared to other new-wave brands. It also tastes really good, in this writer’s opinion. 
  • Spotlight Oral Care Toothpaste for Whitening Teeth ($10): This dentist-designed product contains fluoride for healthy teeth, as well as hydrogen peroxide for a quick kick of whitening. 
  • Sensodyne Pronamel Mineral Boost with Gentle Whitening Action ($6): While not currently bearing the ADA seal, this new product could be a helpful whitening option for those with sensitive teeth. It purports to help your teeth better absorb minerals such as calcium and phosphate, thus strengthening your enamel. 

What we don’t recommend

  • PLUS ULTRA Mint Toothpaste ($10): This toothpaste takes “natural” to another level, starting with its unique leafy green appearance. It doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate, and its plant-derived ingredients are organic — but it also lacks fluoride, so we can’t recommend it. 
  • Huppy Peppermint Toothpaste Tablets ($12): Frequent travelers may appreciate that this paste comes in the form of tablets, complete with a little storage tin. Fluoride is left out, instead including a substance called nano-hydroxyapatite. But these tablets also contain charcoal, the safety of which is still hotly contested among dentists.
  • Luster Premium White Pearl Paste ($7): This paste doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens, but it does contain fluoride (important) and one other notable ingredient: pearl extracts, which purportedly work as abrasives to buff off surface stains. There’s no published clinical research on pearl as a tooth whitening agent, but telling people you brush your teeth with pearls will make you sound very fancy.

FAQs

Do whitening toothpastes actually work?

Yes — just maybe not as well as you might hope. Dr. Salierno explained to Insider that over-the-counter whitening toothpastes are best at removing surface stains, but for a more dramatic whitening effect, professional methods are your best bet

“The true whitening effect that patients are typically after is the result of the removal of intrinsic stain, or stain that is more deeply embedded in the tooth surface,” Salierno said. “In order to get a great whitening result, patients would do well to have a professional cleaning first, and then use a prescription-strength whitening agent as directed by their dental team.”

Bottom line: Whitening toothpastes are safe and can be effective at removing surface stains — just don’t expect a dramatic transformation from over-the-counter toothpaste alone.


Is charcoal toothpaste safe to whiten teeth?

Glad you asked. Charcoal is a trendy ingredient right now, making its way into food, cosmetics, and yes, toothpaste. The idea is that charcoal is able to absorb impurities and thus whiten teeth, but the clinical evidence isn’t great: Reviews of laboratory studies suggest that charcoal isn’t particularly effective as a whitening agent, despite its mildly abrasive properties.  What’s more, it has the potential to damage your enamel, discolor it permanently, and damage your gums, according to a 2019 study in the British Dental Journal. 

More recent research supports the safety of charcoal toothpastes, but dentists and researchers caution consumers that the charcoal actually runs the risk of scratching enamel or getting stuck in the gums and other crevices. Those with fillings should especially steer clear.


Is whitening toothpaste safe for my teeth?

For the most part, yes. While many whitening toothpastes use abrasive agents to scrub away stains, dentists and researchers generally find them safe and non-damaging to the enamel of your teeth. There are a few exceptions — see about charcoal, above — but for most people, whitening toothpastes don’t pose a threat to dental health. Dr. El Chami does caution, however, that those with sensitive teeth may want to avoid whitening toothpastes in favor of something gentler. 

Paul Springs, DMD, a prosthodontist who practices in Queens, New York, elaborated, adding, “Some brands contain grit particles that are too large, which irreversibly wears down tooth enamel. This is often an issue with charcoal or baking soda toothpastes made by unrecognizable brands, so I strongly recommend patients only use toothpastes with the ADA seal of approval to avoid that issue.”

Just because a product doesn’t bear the ADA seal doesn’t mean it’s unsafe, but lesser-known brands may use questionable ingredients (or even questionable forms of ingredients that are generally considered tooth-safe) that are too gritty and can wear down your enamel. The ADA seal is your confirmation that everything in the tube is safe for at-home use.


What’s the big deal about the ADA Seal of Acceptance?

As we mentioned earlier, the ADA seal program is an optional review process in which companies may choose to submit a product to the professional organization for independent review to determine if there is sufficient research backing up the safety and efficacy of the product. 

Because the review process is optional and potentially cost-prohibitive to smaller companies, there are many toothpastes and other dental products on the market that don’t bear the ADA seal. This doesn’t necessarily mean the products aren’t up to snuff — but the dentists we consulted with highly recommend sticking to ADA-approved products to ensure you’re getting a product that actually works and is safe. 

As Dr. Springs put it, “Not having the seal isn’t enough to condemn a product, but there is enough that [damage enamel] that I wouldn’t risk chancing it.”


Is fluoride really safe?

Fluoride has been demonized by oversimplified health information and conspiracy theories for decades for supposedly causing dental staining and even cancer. While this is technically true of the chemical, it would need to be ingested in very large quantities to have these severe negative effects, far more than fluoridated water and toothpaste are likely to provide. 

The dental community is at a consensus that not only is fluoridated toothpaste safe, it’s strongly recommended for the purpose of preventing cavities and strengthening enamel throughout your life. In fact, the ADA will not grant its seal of acceptance to any toothpaste which does not include fluoride. This goes for standard as well as whitening toothpastes — ideally fluoride is going to be included in any toothpaste you use daily.

Expert sources

Dr. Ben El Chami, DMD is a dentist and the co-founder and chief dental officer of dntlbar, a family of Manhattan dental practices. 

Dr. Chris Salierno, DDS is a dentist and the chief dental officer of Tend, a family of dental practices with locations in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Courtney Hain, DDS is a dentist who owns and operates her own practice, Smile San Francisco.

Dr. Paul Springs, DMD, is a prosthodontist who practices with Dr. Mondshine and Associates, a dental practice in Forest Hills, Queens, NY.

Check out our other oral health buying guides

oral b 1

The best toothpaste you can buy

Nobody likes going to the dentist, but if you take good care of your teeth between visits, the cleaning will go easier. We researched and tested many kinds of toothpaste to find the best ones you can buy.


The best natural toothpaste you can buy

Natural toothpaste formulas don’t have to be lacking in powerful ingredients or great flavor.


The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth you can buy

Don’t let tooth sensitivity make that hot cup of coffee or cold glass of water a misery to drink. You can treat your pain with a great toothpaste for sensitive teeth.


The best electric toothbrush you can buy

We want you to keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime. That’s why we’ve done the research to bring you five electric toothbrushes that we feel are the best choices for the most people.

We visited the top consumer websites, listened to actual product owners, and considered advice from dentists and dental hygienists when making our decisions. So go ahead and break out your favorite toothpaste. Healthy, clean white teeth are on their way.


The best toothbrush you can buy

There’s plenty to be said for the classic manual toothbrush: It can’t run out of batteries and it’s compact, lightweight, and portable.

We chose a wide array of manual toothbrushes, from the low-cost disposable brush you keep on hand for guests to the Cadillac-level manual toothbrush that the classic oral hygiene aficionado will appreciate to unique options, like charcoal-infused toothbrushes that might just help bring out your brightest, whitest smile ever.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best teeth whitening kits for a brighter smile and minimal irritation

  • The best teeth whitening kits are easy to use and cause minimal irritation to your gums or teeth.
  • Our top overall pick, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips kit, is effective, simple, and fairly affordable.
  • We interviewed four dentists to inform our choices and explain the ingredients and efficacy of each pick.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Dr. André V. Ritter, DDS, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at the NYU College of Dentistry.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Some of the most delicious and beloved foods – red wine, coffee, soda – are not the best for keeping your pearly whites spotless. And that’s exactly why teeth whitening is a $3.2 billion worldwide industry. Consequently, there are thousands of options out there, including expensive services at your dentist’s office.

If you’re interested in whitening your teeth at home but don’t want to drop serious cash, there are several effective at-home teeth whitening kits. (You can also try a whitening toothpaste.) Below, we rank a few of the best options on the market with insight from four dentists: Dr. Ania Mohelicki DDS, Dr. Ira Handschuh DDS, Dr. Patrick Campbell DDS, and Dr. Charles Sutera DDS, FAGD.

Experts say that whitening kits are safe when used as directed. However, gum irritation and tooth sensitivity are common side effects even when you follow the directions. For more input on how to whiten sensitive teeth, see the FAQ section at the end.

We undertook hours of research combing through both consumer and expert reviews and ratings and did personal testing before settling on the whitening kits we’ve included in this guide. Each of the teeth whitening kits below are effective, easy to use, and less likely to irritate your teeth or gums.

Here are the best teeth whitening kits you can buy:

Best teeth whitening strips overall

crest whitening kit

If resting a tray on your teeth doesn’t sound appealing, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips are an effective, dentist-recommended way to get whiter teeth.

Pros: Produces results in four or five uses, recommended by dentists, low peroxide levels

Cons: May irritate the gums

The Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips kit comes with 40 strips for 20 treatments (each treatment consists of a strip on the upper teeth and one on the lower teeth.) You are supposed to wear the strips for half an hour once per day.

Crest’s “Advanced Seal Technology” offers a no-slip grip, which allows you to drink water and talk while wearing the strips. Crest claims that after the 20 daily treatments, you can remove 14 years of tooth stains. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the active ingredients in the Whitestrips.

The Reviews team interviewed Dr. Hadaegh DDS to get his recommendations for the best whitening products. He recommended Crest’s strips because the hydrogen peroxide levels are relatively low yet still effective.

But, one drawback of using strips is that they don’t offer the custom fit of trays, which means you may notice some increased sensitivity if your gums come in contact with the whitening strips.

Best for sensitive gums

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If you’re looking for more precision in your application to avoid gum sensitivity, your best bet is combining teeth whitening gel with mouth trays or guards like in the Opalescence Go 15% kit.

Pros: Effective, greater control over application, potentially less gum sensitivity

Cons: Expensive

The benefit of using a mouth tray or mouth guard with gel is that, unlike white strips, you aren’t as likely to miss spots on the teeth or irritate your gums. 

If you don’t have whitening trays and want as close to professional results as possible, Dr. Hadaegh DDS has recommended Opalescence Go 15% to Business Insider in the past. “Like Crest 3D Whitestrips, the whitening gel comes in ready-made trays that adapt to your teeth all the way to your molars,” he wrote. “They have 15% hydrogen peroxide, which means you only need to wear them for 15 to 20 minutes a day for five to 10 days. It also contains potassium nitrate and fluoride to help reduce sensitivity while strengthening enamel.” Because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is so high, there’s a chance you may still experience some sensitivity, in which case it’s best to switch to a less concentrated alternative like Crest Whitestrips.

The prefilled trays can be worn right out of the package, but the kit is more expensive than other reusable options on this list. It’s convenient, but you could save yourself money by buying reusable trays (or asking your dentist’s office to make you some) and replenishing your whitening pens when they run out. 

Best LED kit

best teeth whitening kit

If you don’t want to use strips and are determined to use an LED light, the SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit is the way to go.

Pros: Few reports of sensitivity issues, more precise application of whitening gel, reusable mouth guard

Cons: Expensive, dentists agree the LED light will not make a noticeable difference 

SmileDirectClub, like many of the more expensive direct-to-consumer teeth whitening kits on the market, includes a mouthguard with an LED light inside that’s meant to act as a catalyst for the hydrogen peroxide that whitens teeth — ideally, giving you professional results faster than other options. It also only requires 10 minutes of use each day.

However, studies don’t seem to agree with the marketing claims that LED lights make teeth whitening more effective, and most of the dentists we interviewed agreed that they don’t speed up the process. Dr. Campbell DDS put it succinctly: “Frankly, these products are not worth the money.” But, they do come with whitening pens that allow you a bit more control in terms of the application so you can avoid your gums and any increased sensitivity. There’s also the option to buy only the whitening pens and invest in whitening trays for safe and precise application.

If you don’t want to deal with whitening strips or buying gel and trays separately, or you’re committed to trying the LED light system, then SmileDirectClub’s Teeth Whitening Kit is one of the most convenient choices. 

It’s built to last you through one full year of treatments and includes nine whitening pens (enough for two full treatments, according to the company’s estimates, plus one bonus pen) and the LED light mouthguard. Unlike most LED options that need to be plugged in overnight before you can use them, SmileDirectClub’s version can plug right into your smartphone (Android or iPhone) and requires minimal battery power. 

The company recommends using the device for five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening every day for a week, once every six months. I tested the device and found the company’s estimates to be conservative — I got more than double the use out of the pens than expected. 

SmileDirectClub’s Teeth Whitening Kit is $74 for the LED Light and an estimated 12-month supply of whitening pens, and $40 for the LED Light and 6-month pen supply. You can find them all here

Best natural kit

teeth whitening

The Miswak Club Natural Teeth Whitening Kit is your best alternative if you’re looking for a natural, chemical-free approach to whitening your teeth.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use, no added chemicals

Cons: Takes some getting used to, smells weird

Teeth-cleaning sticks known as Miswak have been used for thousands of years in what is now Pakistan, India, many African countries, and other parts of the world. And, a meta-analysis in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found that the Miswak was just as effective for oral hygiene as the toothbrush and toothpaste used by Western cultures.

The Miswak Club Natural Teeth Whitening Kit features two Miswak root sticks with two carrying cases. Each stick will last for three weeks of daily use. Miswak comes from the Arak tree, and this product contains no pesticides or chemicals. Miswak Club offers a 120-day money-back guarantee if you do not have noticeably whiter teeth after using their kit.

Several expert sites reviewed the Miswak Club kit because of the novelty of it. Bustle liked that it comes with two sticks in the kit, doesn’t make a mess, and is easy to bring along when traveling. Subaholic found that the root works great, but thought the taste was terrible. And, Apartment Therapy was put off by the “sweetly musky” smell of the root but found that when you soak it in water with some peppermint oil, it is much more bearable.

Some reviewers have noted that it may take a few weeks of daily use to notice effects and that the smell may be a bit off-putting.

What else we considered

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  • GLO Teeth Whitening Kit: Glo Science sells a similar device to SmileDirectClub; both use an LED mouthpiece to reportedly act as a catalyst for hydrogen peroxide. But SmileDirectClub is a better value at half the cost. We still recommend strips over gel and mouth trays over LED light options, though.

FAQs about whitening your teeth

What types of teeth whitening products exist?

There are essentially two types of kits: ones that bleach your teeth to take stains off and ones that physically scrape off the stains. Whitening trays and strips have been the standard for decades and generally rely on carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Activated charcoal powders had a spike in popularity recently, but the dentists we interviewed would tell you to nix the powders. Dr. Handschuh and Dr. Mohelicki told Business Insider that they don’t recommend these because they can be abrasive and only remove surface stains. 

There is a third type of teeth whitening product that simply blasts your teeth with LED light, which typically claims to speed up the process and achieve more intense results. However, most of the dentists we interviewed agreed that any gains from this treatment are short-lived or nonexistent. “Most studies show some difference detected by computers, but no visual difference detected by the human eye. For the studies conducted in actual patients (in vivo), most found no added benefit for light-activated systems,” says Dr. Sutera.

Only the SmileDirectClub system in our guide uses this technology, but it is used in conjunction with a whitening gel and a mouthguard that may offer better control over your placement and avoid increased gum sensitivity in comparison to strips. 

Which teeth whitening products are most effective?

“Shopping for teeth whitening products is very simple.” Dr. Sutera explained. “There is only one active ingredient in all teeth whitening products: hydrogen peroxide. It’s the same agent whether it’s prescription use or over the counter. Any other ingredients in the product are inactive fillers needed to create the right consistency of the product.” If you see carbamide peroxide on your ingredient list, it’s just a derivative of hydrogen peroxide. 

“The key is to understand that whitening can be effective at any percentage, but what differs is the time of use. A high percentage of hydrogen peroxide typically is only kept on the teeth for 20 minutes maximum, while a lower percentage can be worn for 6 hours or overnight.” Dr. Sutera explains. “Much of the selection comes down to personal preference. If you have a tendency to develop tooth sensitivity or if you want to minimize the risks of irritating your gums, that’s when you’d select a lower concentration.”

A few warnings about teeth whitening kits

Peroxide is effective, but it comes with several warnings. Pregnant or nursing women may want to stop using peroxide-based whitening products. It also isn’t suitable for children under 14 years old. And, you should not use peroxide for longer than two weeks of daily use without the supervision of a dentist.

The FDA does not recommend using any whitening gels with a peroxide concentration of higher than 18%. Two of the kits we recommend use peroxide (Crest Whitestrips and SmileDirectClub) but they should be safe for most people.

Again, you should always consult with your dentist before starting a course of treatment. For instance, if your darkened teeth are due to the natural thinning of tooth enamel that comes with aging, whitening kits will not help you. Also, they cannot whiten fillings, dentures, veneers, crowns, or caps.

Most importantly, Dr. Mohelicki says the biggest concern is wearing whitening kits for the right amount of time. “Over-the-counter options are inexpensive when compared to in-office whitening, but they offer no gum protection. With no gum protection, users can experience increased sensitivity and even burns in severe cases.” 

How to use teeth whitening kits effectively

Before using a teeth whitening kit, brush your teeth so your whitening agent can make contact with the surface of your teeth to improve efficacy, and so it doesn’t accidentally create an uneven white. “Any buildup of plaque or food debris will not allow for the whitening agent to contact the tooth and therefore not allow the whitening agent to do its job,” Dr. Campbell explained. “You could end up with a speckled, uneven whitened appearance.” 

And, after you’ve whitened, try to avoid food and drinks that stain your teeth.”I recommend that my patients stick to a ‘colorless diet’ just after whitening,” Dr. Handschuh told Business Insider. “Meaning, avoid highly-staining food and drink such as coffee, red wine, tea, sauces, etc.” But, if you really want to, he recommends using a straw to bypass your teeth a bit. 

As Dr. Sutera explained, whitening your teeth and then having a glass of red wine is like “two people in a canoe paddling in different directions. The whitening products open the pores and clean them out. If you have coffee, tea, or red wine within 72 hours of whitening your teeth, your teeth are more likely to absorb dark stains and adversely impact your whitening results.”

Does teeth-whitening damage your enamel?

“Most studies show that whitening does not damage enamel,” Dr. Sutera said. Though, there has been recent research that shows teeth whitening can affect proteins deeper in the tooth, though researchers are not currently sure if the damage is temporary or permanent, according to Dr. Sutera.

How can you prevent tooth sensitivity?

“It is common for the majority of people to experience increased tooth sensitivity after having teeth whitening done.” Dr. Mohelicki says. “However, for those who already have sensitive teeth, I recommend starting out by trying a whitening toothpaste. This takes significantly longer than trying an over-the-counter product or having teeth bleached in-office, but it can be significantly less painful.”

For whitening toothpaste, Dr. Sutera recommends patients with sensitive teeth use a toothpaste with potassium nitrate and fluoride and also use a fluoride mouth rinse. According to Dr. Sutera, potassium nitrate is the primary ingredient that helps with sensitive teeth, and fluoride a secondary option that has also been shown to help.  

If you have sensitive teeth and want to use a teeth whitening agent, you may just want to avoid higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. “The suggestion I would make is to use a lower concentration of whitening agent to get their desired whitening outcome while minimizing the risk of tooth sensitivity.” Dr. Campbell said. “Although anecdotal, I’ve found that brushing with Sensodyne toothpaste before and after whitening has helped me avoid sensitivity.”  

Why do you feel increased sensitivity after you whiten?

The bleaching temporarily weakens your enamel so the bleach can pass through it and further lift those stains, explained Dr. Mohelicki. “When [our enamel] is weakened during the bleaching treatment, many patients find that it can be hard to consume hot beverages, ice-cold beverages, or even eat certain foods. This typically wears off within 72 hours of ending treatment.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best whitening toothpastes of 2021 that help remove surface stains from your teeth

  • Trading your regular toothpaste for the whitening kind lifts surface stains while also cleaning.
  • While studies show charcoal toothpaste doesn’t actually whiten teeth, other ingredients are proven to work.
  • Colgate’s Optic White Express White Toothpaste is our top choice because results show up in just three days.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Unless your smile is already blinding, pretty much everyone wants whiter teeth. Our smile is one of the first things other people notice when meeting us, and considering most of us indulge in teeth-staining compounds like coffee, red wine, maybe even cigarettes, there’s ample opportunity for pearly whites to be brighter.

While whitening strips can be expensive, painful, and require effort, incorporating whitening properties into your toothpaste helps you get more out of something you’re going to do twice a day, regardless. 

Contrary to occasional misconceptions, most whitening toothpaste is safe and suitable for daily use – but you have to choose the right product. While whitening toothpaste generally doesn’t cause tooth sensitivity, some harsher whitening toothpaste can cause damage to tooth enamel if used for weeks or months at a time. In fact, one of the most popular of-the-moment toothpaste ingredients, activated charcoal, is not only useless when it comes to whitening teeth, but it also has the potential to damage your enamel, discolor it permanently, and damage your gums, according to a 2019 study in the British Dental Journal. 

What’s more, not every ingredient is equal: A 2019 study in the Journal of Applied Oral Science found that whitening toothpaste with blue covarine and microbeads (like that in Oral B 3D White Perfection – 3DW) were the most effective at whitening teeth after just one brush, and ones with hydrogen peroxide made pearly whites pearlier when used over time.

This kind of toothpaste helps remove surface stains, showing off the natural appearance of the exterior of your teeth. It will not actually whiten the enamel itself, but merely reveal its true color. For deep stains and/or for teeth that are yellowed or otherwise discolored, talk to your dentist about professional whitening.

And before you start even a DIY tooth whitening program, it’s a good idea to see a dentist and get a deep cleaning. That way, your at-home whitening efforts can be more of a maintenance approach than an attempt to tackle the issue of stained, discolored teeth. 

As for which whitening toothpaste is right for you, that depends on factors ranging from tooth sensitivity to ingredient preference to how much time you’re willing to invest daily. 

Here are the best whitening toothpaste options:

Best whitening toothpaste overall

colgate

Colgate Optic White Platinum Express White Toothpaste is safe for daily use, affordable, and you’ll see results in three days.

Pros: Works quickly, safe for long-term use, includes fluoride to prevent cavities

Cons: Slightly more expensive 

The job of toothpaste is, first and foremost, to clean your teeth. While white, bright teeth look great, actual cleaning is more important than cosmetics, as far as oral health is concerned. So it’s good to know that Colgate’s Optic White Platinum toothpaste protects tooth enamel and can help prevent cavities thanks to the inclusion of fluoride along with the other ingredients.

As for the whitening effects of this potent toothpaste, those come thanks to hydrogen peroxide. The toothpaste has two times more hydrogen peroxide than most other kinds of whitening toothpaste. According to the many buyer reviews online, you really can see whitening results in just a matter of days, especially if you are generally careful about what foods and beverages you ingest and how you consume them.

After a month of using Colgate Optic White Platinum Express White Toothpaste twice daily, you can expect a marked lightening of your teeth. Results will probably plateau at that point, and you can shift into a maintenance mode.

Best for a deep clean

Crest

If you’re serious about oral hygiene, committing to the Crest 3D White Brilliance Teeth Whitening Two-Step System will give you very pearly whites.

Pros: Effective and long-lasting, provides excellent cleaning, breaks up stubborn stains

Cons: Requires double brushing, may lighten gums as well

The Crest 3D White Brilliance Teeth Whitening Two-Step System requires brushing your teeth twice — once with Step 1: Deep Cleansing Toothpaste, then with Step 2: Whitening Finisher — but it’s highly effective for whitening your teeth.

The first part of the two-step system is all about cleaning. The toothpaste contains a 0.454% concentration of stannous fluoride which helps fight cavities and gingivitis (gum disease, e.g.) and that will break up plaque and freshen breath. When you move to the second step, a gel that features hydrogen peroxide, you are applying a whitener to freshly cleaned teeth. 

The 3D White Brilliance system will cost you more than you’ll pay for most whitening toothpaste, and the process is a bit more involved, but it will dramatically whiten most teeth over time.

Best budget

arm and hammer

Not only does Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste leave your mouth fresh and your teeth white, but it’s also affordable.

Pros: Great low price choice, baking soda acts as safe abrasive, suitable for perpetual use

Cons: Some people dislike taste

I’ve been an Arm & Hammer toothpaste user for more than a decade, and every time I switch brands (say during travel or when we forgot to restock and I have to dip into the reserve mini tubes collected from dentist’s visits) my mouth never feels quite as clean.

Arm & Hammer uses baking soda in all sorts of products, and in this case, that’s the ingredient that provides safe, gentle abrasion to help break up plaque and tartar (hardened plaque, essentially) and remove surface stains. Fluoride is on hand to help prevent cavities and to kill off bacteria, and peroxide helps whiten your teeth.

I was tempted to make this product the number one pick, as it’s surely number one in my book, but while many people love the feel and the aftertaste of this baking soda-based toothpaste, an equal number of people hate the taste, so it’s not right for everyone. 

Best for sensitive teeth

Sensodyne

Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste will whiten your teeth and make them less sensitive at the same time.

Pros: Ideal for sensitive teeth, rebuilds enamel over time, gently lifts stains

Cons: Whitens slowly

If your teeth are sensitive, it most likely means is that you have weakened enamel which is leaving the sensitive interior of your teeth overexposed. This is usually caused by exposure to the acids found in everything from citrus fruit to coffee to wine — the very same things that leave stains and damage the appearance of your smile.

For sensitive teeth that are also not as white as you’d like, Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste is a great choice. The formula is designed to help re-harden tooth enamel damaged by acids and to actively strengthen each tooth and prevent future damage. It is a low abrasion toothpaste, thus it won’t cause any enamel wear and tear itself, and it features fluoride to help fight off bacteria.

What this toothpaste does not feature is hydrogen peroxide, so it will not whiten as quickly as many other options. Rather than bleaching stains away, Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste takes a longer approach to whitening, helping restore and refresh your teeth and to slowly but reliably remove stains and prevent new ones from forming.

If you get your teeth to a healthy, resilient state in which they are ready for more intense whitening, go ahead and switch brands. If you have always had sensitive teeth, then consider makingSensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste your lifelong go-to choice.

Check out our other oral health buying guides

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The best toothpaste you can buy

Nobody likes going to the dentist, but if you take good care of your teeth between visits, the cleaning will go easier. We researched and tested many kinds of toothpaste to find the best ones you can buy.


The best natural toothpaste you can buy

Natural toothpaste formulas don’t have to be lacking in powerful ingredients or great flavor.


The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth you can buy

Don’t let tooth sensitivity make that hot cup of coffee or cold glass of water a misery to drink. You can treat your pain with a great toothpaste for sensitive teeth.


The best electric toothbrush you can buy

We want you to keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime. That’s why we’ve done the research to bring you five electric toothbrushes that we feel are the best choices for the most people.

We visited the top consumer websites, listened to actual product owners, and considered advice from dentists and dental hygienists when making our decisions. So go ahead and break out your favorite toothpaste. Healthy, clean white teeth are on their way.


The best toothbrush you can buy

There’s plenty to be said for the classic manual toothbrush: It can’t run out of batteries and it’s compact, lightweight, and portable.

We chose a wide array of manual toothbrushes, from the low-cost disposable brush you keep on hand for guests to the Cadillac-level manual toothbrush that the classic oral hygiene aficionado will appreciate to unique options, like charcoal-infused toothbrushes that might just help bring out your brightest, whitest smile ever.

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