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:

Read the original article on Business Insider

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

32 eco-friendly alternatives for things you use every day

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

Lifestyle Photo Earth Day
  • While climate change has gained mainstream traction, research suggests it remains a partisan issue.
  • Individual responsibility isn’t a silver bullet, but it can help strengthen the environmental movement.
  • If you’re interested in adopting more eco-friendly habits, you can browse 32 ideas below.

Climate change has entered the mainstream conversation. Up 44% from 2009, six out of 10 Americans said in a survey that global climate change is a major threat to the country. In 2019, Time’s Person of the Year was then 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the internationally known environmental activist.

But while more Americans say protecting the environment and dealing with global climate change should be top priorities for the president and Congress – and a majority of them already see at least some local effects of climate change – it remains a deeply partisan issue, meaning grassroots efforts and individual actions take on heightened importance.

And it’s surprisingly simple to make positive changes to your lifestyle just by figuring out where to start. Instead of using a K-Cup, swap it for a reusable coffee filter. Out of laundry detergent? Try one with better ingredients. You don’t have to subsist on whatever your backyard garden grows to make a difference or feel guilty that your trash doesn’t fit in a mason jar. Try to shop local when possible, only buy what you need, bike or walk or use public transportation when able, fix what you own before replacing it, and eat less meat. While individual responsibility isn’t a silver bullet and isn’t effective when it distracts people from the outsized impact of corporate and political responsibility, it can help expand and strengthen the political movement for environmentalist practices.

Read more: B Corps are businesses committed to using their profit for good – these 14 are making some truly great products

Even if you just make one change rather than turning your entire household eco-friendly overnight, you’re working to build better habits in your corner of the world.

If you want to replace everyday essentials with eco-friendly alternatives without any inconvenience, check out the 32 below:

Swimwear made from recycled materials

Everlane swim collection

Clothing retailer Everlane just released its first line of swimwear, and every item in the collection is comprised of 82% regenerated nylon derived from recycled plastic. It’s part of the retailer’s initiative to remove virgin plastic from its supply chain in 2021. The swimwear collection offers seven styles and eight colors that you can mix and match.

The Square-Neck One-Piece (small)
Allbirds footwear

allbirds wool runner

Allbirds gained fame for being known as the “world’s most comfortable shoes” (a claim we find ourselves agreeing with) and their commitment to sustainability.

The cult-favorite startup uses super soft, moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating merino wool for its iconic wool runners and tree fiber for its Tree line (sourced from South African farms that minimize fertilizer and rely on rainfall instead of irrigation).

We’ve tried the tree loungers and runners as well as the wool runners and loungers, and even the newly-launched clothing line, and we don’t think you can really go wrong.

Read our full reviews of nearly every item Allbirds has ever made.

Reusable, organic cotton dish towels

Sur la table ORGANIC COTTON KITCHEN TOWELS

If it doesn’t have to be single-use, it probably shouldn’t be. Using 100% organic cotton dish towels is a great substitute to paper towels, as you can throw them in for a wash in the washing machine repeatedly. 

Reusable grocery bags

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Each year, we use an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags around the world.

Using reusable grocery bags is a simple way to cut down on the habit without missing out on convenience — if you make sure to only buy enough to meet your needs, and remember to bring them every time.

Some grocery stores even offer incentives for people who bring their own bags, and some states have banned plastic bags

Rechargeable batteries

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Batteries are made up of a variety of chemicals, some of which are toxic and can cause soil and water pollution. To prolong the usage of your batteries and keep them out of landfills, you may want to look into rechargeable ones. 

If you need to check how to dispose of electronics you no longer need, check out this list of stores with incentives for recycling or are better equipped to dispose of electronics than the average person. 

A long-lasting toothbrush with a detachable brush head

BoieUSA toothbrush 1

Not only does a Boie toothbrush have silver embedded into the bristles to kill germs, but the startup is also making a much more environmentally friendly option.

All of Boie’s toothbrushes are made out of a rubber-like material that cleans your teeth more gently and effectively than alternatives and is built to last twice as long as a regular brush, so you have to replace it less often. Boie brushes are also designed with detachable brush heads, so you can replace only that without having to buy an entirely new brush every time.

You can also check out Bite’s $12 bamboo brush pack, which comes with two toothbrushes with detachable heads. 

A great reusable water bottle

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Even though recycling programs exist, 91% of the water bottles we use every year wind up in a landfill. And we use about a million per minute. Grab a cool water bottle you’ll enjoy using and skip the plastic disposable bottles.

A cycling helmet that raises money for 1% for the Planet

Explore Thousand Helmet

Cycling brand thousand launched a special Climate Collection of its signature Heritage helmet to raise money for 1% for the Planet, a foundation dedicated to raising awareness about climate change and sustainability. The collection features three unique colorways, each symbolizing a specific element of the planet. Coastal Blue represents Earth’s oceans, Terra Cotta Earth’s clay, and Arctic Grey Earth’s polar environments. The helmets sell for $89 with $10 from every purchase going to 1% for the Planet.

Rick Stella, health & fitness editor 

A showerhead that uses 70-75% less water than what you have now

showering

Putting in low-flow fixtures and taking shorter showers can reduce your water consumption by at least 50% and save you about $145 every year.

If you’re looking for the most buzz-worthy and luxe of options making a difference in the space, you’d do well to look at Nebia — a Kickstarter-funded startup that counts some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley as investors (including Tim Cook of Apple and Eric Schmidt of Google). You also might have seen it in the upscale fitness world of Equinox gyms.

The Nebia Spa Shower 2.0 maximizes the water that comes into contact with your skin by atomizing it, and Nebia claims the shower lends twice as much coverage as a standard shower and saves 65% of water. You can read more about it here

Another inexpensive option is a showerhead by Niagra, which the company claims uses up to 75% less water than typical “low-flow” showerheads. It also uses patented pressure compensation technology so there’s always a consistent flow rate regardless of available water pressure — and it’s guaranteed for 10 years. 

Biodegradable trash bags

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These trash bags are 100% compostable, meet the stringent requirements of municipal composting programs, and are BPI certified. For reference, they’re almost half the price of Glad bags (also 13 gallon, also 50-count).

Buy carbon credits to offset your lifestyle

reformation carbon

Feeling guilty about a destination bachelorette trip you took this year? Already live an extremely eco-friendly lifestyle and still want to help? 

Reformation lets you purchase climate credits (carbon offsets) on its site. Its partner, NativeEnergy, will direct your purchase to support projects that actively reduce CO2 emissions.

You’ll also get a $100 Reformation credit when you switch to wind energy.

Face Masks (5-pack) (small)
Reusable straws

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According to the National Park Service, you could fill over 125 school buses with the straws Americans use every single day (500 million in all).

Using disposable utensils of any kind introduces a lot of unnecessary waste into the environment, but straws are a particularly easy fix.

An Earth Day package

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Even if you can’t live a completely eco-lifestyle, you can still offset some carbon footprint by planting trees. Canadian sustainable apparel maker Tentree has an Earth Day package that will plant 50 trees, which can help offset 7.7 tons of CO2. — Les Shu, guides editor

Ballpoint pens made out of recycled water bottles

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Need a couple of pens around the house? Grab a few that were made from recycled water bottles (86% PCR). 

A programmable thermostat that lets you know if you’re saving energy

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Programmable thermostats can save up to $150 a year in energy costs when used properly.

Not only does Nest’s thermostat work with Amazon Alexa voice control, but it was also the first one to earn an Energy Star. Since your thermostat supposedly controls half your energy bill (more than appliances or electronics), it’s a great place to focus your attention if you want to cut down on use and costs. Using the Nest app (yes, there’s an app), you can view how much energy you use and why, so you can make the right decisions for you using your own energy history. 

Plus, since most of us are busy and potentially beginners with this, Nest will display a leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy.

Reusable coffee filters

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With the popularity of instant coffee systems like Keurig, single-serving pods have also seen an uptick.

Instead of popping in a new K-Cup every morning only to toss it into the waste bin, consider saving yourself space and money with your choice of fresh ground coffee and a reusable filter pod

Loose tea infuser

the best tea infuser overall

Love tea? look into a loose tea infuser to cut down on how many tiny disposable packets you rip open and throw away. Here are the best ones you can buy.

Shampoo, conditioner, and lotion

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With over 80 billion plastic bottles being disposed of around the world every year just from shampoo & conditioner alone, things like environmentally-conscious packaging are increasingly important. 

If you’re looking for a single solid beauty routine —pun intended— New Zealand startup Ethique (French for “ethical”) makes sustainable beauty that works exceptionally well. And they’re available at Amazon.

Everything — from shampoo to lotion — comes in bar form. The bars last 2-5x longer than their bottled counterparts, dissolve completely, and come in entirely eco-friendly packaging (even the sleeves they arrive in are 100% dissolvable and compostable, so there’s zero consumer waste). 

Overall, Ethique has prevented the manufacture and disposal of more than 350,000 plastic containers worldwide. 

Natural laundry detergent

Method Laundry Detergent

If you want to introduce fewer chemicals to the water supply and your skin, you might look for a laundry detergent alternative. 

Method’s detergent is made from naturally derived, plant-based ingredients and has a hypoallergenic formula. Its transparent bottle is recyclable and made from 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) materials. It’s tough on dirt and stains, but you won’t be introducing more chemicals to the environment or wearing traces of them next-to-skin.

You can also use the all-natural Nellie’s powdered laundry soda that comes in a reusable metal tin (which is what I personally use). Nellie’s is biodegradable, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, non-GMO, lasts for forever, and, of course, works really well also. You can find it on Amazon, but it’s typically cheaper at Walmart

Reusable notebooks

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The US uses about 69 million tons of notebook paper each year. If you want to cut down on your own paper waste (and add some convenience and savings to your own life) you might be interested in Rocketbook’s forever reusable notebooks. This one can be written on with a special pen and wiped clean to be used new with moisture. It got rejected on Shark Tank, but I use my own many times throughout the day. Plus, you can use the app to digitize the notes you take — making it easier to keep a digital archival. 

Buy and gift secondhand clothes and accessories

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Instead of buying something new, look for something that already exists first — like previously owned designer goods on The Real Real. It’s also a great way to save money on premium goods.  

Eco-friendly sheets

Cloud Brushed Organic Flannel Minimalist Set1

Coyuchi is a San Francisco startup that makes luxe, modern sheets that are also eco-friendly. The company has a partnership with Fibershed that supported closed-loop carbon farming practices at the local ranches that produce its Climate Beneficial Wool, and has now announced a partnership with White Buffalo Land Trust that supports regenerative agriculture. 

A shower timer

Shower timer 1

This shower timer helps you keep an eye on how long you spend zoned out under gushing hot water. It can help you monitor yourself, so if your goal is to cut down on water and heating energy, you’ve got an easy way to adjust. You can also just set a timer on your phone, but if you’re looking for a shower radio, you can knock out both with this. 

Solar powered phone charger

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Made of eco-friendly silicone rubber and ABS + PC material, this #1 best-seller solar charger is an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional rechargeable battery pack. It’s water-resistant and shock-proof, so it can go where you go (and soak up solar power while at it). 

The company notes that it is comparatively slow for the solar charger to recharge via solar power, but if you’ve got the time to wait or hang it on a backpacking pack on a day trip, you can get the convenience of a charger without the guilt. 

Compostable cutlery and bowls

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If you absolutely need disposable cutlery and can’t carry a reusable metal kit everywhere you go, why not grab some that are compostable? 

FirstChoice makes a great option, and donates 10% of its annual net profits to non-profit environmental organizations. The utensils are FDA approved and are 100% biodegradable. 

Outlets that actually draw zero energy when turned off.

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This energy-saving power switch draws zero energy when the switch is flipped off. 

An eco-friendly air dryer brush

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This brush is designed to act as a diffuser, drying hair 40% faster for less heat damage and faster prep time. It’s also made from recycled aluminum and plastic.

The packaging is made of 100% Tree-Free paper (20% cotton and 80% bamboo fibers), and the handles are made from bamboo, which is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world — making it a convenient naturally renewable resource.

An e-reader

Kinle

While the feel of a great paperback in hand is satisfying in and of itself, you might have an opportunity as an avid reader to cut down on a production cycle that uses ample paper and transportation. Unless you’re a regular patron of the library, an e-reader can help diminish the carbon footprint of someone who frequently buys new books.

We’ve got a guide to the best e-readers you can buy if you’re looking into one, and here’s a list of what each Kindle does to figure out which best fits your needs.

Eyewear made from natural materials

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Shwood makes premium wood sunglasses and prescription eyewear that’s handcrafted using sustainable materials in the US. 

Natural cleaning products

blueland cleaning review 2

The cleaning products you use around the house can be full of environmentally harmful chemicals, and they may be some of the plastic products you throw away most frequently. If you want the same result but with less potential collateral damage, there are effective options to consider.

Uniquely J is an affordable, comprehensive option that spans the cleaning gamut and is comprehensive and affordable. 

Blueland is a buzzy startup that makes reusable bottles and dissolvable cleaning tablets with non-toxic ingredients so you can cut down on your plastic waste and chemical exposure. While Blueland products are effective for general cleaning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using alcohol-based products to disinfect surfaces as they’re effective in killing viruses.  

For tough cleaning, we’d recommend looking at CleanWell’s Disinfectant Spray. It’s EPA-approved for use on surfaces to protect against the novel coronavirus. It’s a botanical formula that cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes multi-surfaces and kills 99.9% of household germs, including cold and flu viruses. The package is also recyclable.

Reusable, non-plastic meal prep containers

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Instead of adding more plastic, grab some glass meal prep containers for a non-toxic solution. 

You may also want to look into U Konserve for their low-impact, reusable lunch containers with moveable and/or removable dividers. You can also pick up reusable sandwich bags, like these from ChicoBag or unbleached paper sandwich snack bags.

Sustainable clothing

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Instead of buying new every time you have an event, consider renting from Rent the Runway and get designer names at a much lower rate, without contributing to a huge pile of textile waste from a $20 fast-fashion dress you didn’t love. Or, if you do buy new, take a look at stores that repurpose recycled materials, like Cotopaxi and Girlfriend Collective, or companies reducing their overall footprint through eco-friendly practices like Everlane’s denim factory

Read the original article on Business Insider

What happens if you grind your teeth too much

  • Thirty to 40 million Americans grind their teeth at night. Chronic grinding is known as bruxism in the medical community.
  • Every time you grind your teeth, you’re exerting as much as 200 pounds of pressure per square inch.
  • All that pressure isn’t good for your teeth and can eventually lead to damage that requires root canals, implants, or dentures.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Thirty to 40 million Americans grind their teeth at night. That’s roughly 10% of the US population, and chronic teeth grinding can lead to painful issues from tooth fractures to changes in facial appearance. But the worst part is you could be a teeth grinder and not even know it.

Every time a grinder gnashes their back molars together, they exert as much as 200 pounds of pressure per square inch. That’s 10 times the force you exert on your teeth when you chew normally. This pressure can crack and fracture teeth and eventually even wear them down to stumps, which can then require root canals, implants, or dentures. But it’s not just your teeth that take a beating.

If you suffer from chronic grinding, also called bruxism in the medical community, you could be grinding your teeth for up to 40 minutes for every hour you’re asleep. That’s enough to cause headaches and a sore jaw in the morning, and if you keep it up night after night, it could permanently damage your jaw. Researchers estimate that 20% of teeth grinders have symptoms of a painful jaw condition called TMD. TMD affects the movement of your temporomandibular joints. These joints connect your jaw to your skull, helping you eat, chew, and talk. But when you grind your teeth incessantly, you can overwork these joints.

One study found that when these muscles work overtime, they become tender and enlarged, making your face look more square and masculine. What’s more, the sound of grinding teeth could be enough to damage your hearing. Researchers who examined 400 university students found a strong correlation between grinding and tinnitus. Tinnitus is a hearing condition that causes ringing in your ears and can lead to hearing loss.

But perhaps the scariest part of all of this, unless your roommate or a partner hears you grinding your teeth at night, you might not even realize you’re doing it until your dentist notices the damage. And chances are, you’ve probably done it yourself. An estimated 85 to 90% of the population will grind or clench their teeth to some degree. And while there’s no simple cure for bruxism, there’s still hope. A mouth guard, for instance, won’t stop you from grinding altogether, but it will stop your molars from wearing your teeth down to stumps. And since grinding is often caused by stress and anxiety, some doctors recommend counseling and meditation. So maybe a solution to your teeth-grinding problem is a nice long vacation. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

11 clean, eco-friendly, and sustainable beauty brands you can find at Target – and what to buy from each

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

Target Clean Beauty 4x3

In recent years, Target has made a massive effort to bring on clean, natural, sustainable, or otherwise eco-friendly brands – so you can worry less about buyer’s remorse on your next shopping spree.

From the recycled packaging of Love Beauty and Planet to the botanical-based makeup from W3LL People, the store carries ethically made beauty products at prices we love. Consider it the new “triple threat” – safe ingredients, sustainable packaging, and accessible pricing.

Target currently carries nearly 2,800 beauty products tagged with a Target Clean symbol, so you can make a more informed buying decision quickly and easily. These products meet Target’s own clean standards, so you won’t find formulas with parabens, sulfates, and other ingredients included on the retailer’s “No List.” Read more about this in our clean beauty FAQ, below.

Here are the 11 best clean beauty brands and products you can shop at Target:

Honest Beauty

Honest Beauty EXTREME LENGTH MASCARA + LASH PRIMER

Why we love it: Founded by Jessica Alba, The Honest Company hits the two main components of clean beauty: transparency and safe ingredients. Each product follows a “no list” which is an evolving list of over 2,500 chemicals the brand chooses not to use. Honest also avoids listing fragrance as an ingredient because it can be used as an umbrella term to hide harmful ingredients. We love the Hydrogel Cream and 2-in-1 Mascara that’s won several beauty awards. 

Products you should try:

Hydrogel Cream with Hyaluronic Acid (small)Extreme Length 2-in-1 Mascara and Lash Primer (small)
Function of Beauty

FOB Target

Why we love it: Function of Beauty has changed the world of beauty forever with its line of customizable haircare. (We love it so much we’ve recommended it several times over) Not only is it effective for different hair types but it contains safer ingredients. The formulas are 92% naturally-derived, sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan. Even the bottles and cartons are made with recycled materials that are 100% recyclable.

Take the Function of Beauty hair quiz here

Products you should try:

Wavy Hair Shampoo Base with Fermented Rice Water (small)Wavy Hair Conditioner Base with Argan Oil (small)Deep Condition #HairGoal Booster Shots with Apple Extract (small)
Bliss

bliss Bright Idea Moisturizer

Why we love it: Along with being vegan and cruelty-free, Bliss products are thoughtfully formulated to be free from over 1,300 harmful substances you don’t want on your skin. The brand follows the European Union’s standards, considered to be the highest in the world for skincare safety. And, Bliss does your skincare game justice with its products. Powered by clinical-grade vitamin C and peptides, the Bright Idea line boosts brightness and elasticity in the first use.

Products you should try:

Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum (small)Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Moisturizer (small)
Native

Native Plastic Free Deodorant

Why we love it: Native creates clean bodycare products that are both paraben- and aluminum-free. And, the brand recently launched its fan-favorite deodorant in plastic-free packaging. (We’re big fans of the Coconut & Vanilla scent for its refreshing tropical smell) As a member of 1% for the Planet, Native donates 1% of Plastic Free sales to fight plastic pollution. Switching from the Classic packaging to Native Plastic Free will help reduce plastic waste by about 169 tons each year. 

Read our full review of Native deodorant here

Products you should try:

Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant (small)Coconut & Vanilla Body Wash (small)
Method

Method Men Body Wash

Why we love it: Method makes cleanliness, well, clean. Popular for its gentle yet effective cleaning products, Method lets you clean your home sans the breath-holding side effects. The same can be said for its body washes, deodorants, and haircare, all of which are made without parabens or phthalates. The formulas are packed with plant-based cleansers that can be used by both families and their pets.

Products you should try:

Body Wash Energy Boost (small)Men Aluminum Free Deodorant (small)
Versed

Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

Why we love it: Versed ingredients aren’t all natural, but they are all proven safe for the skin and body. “Not all natural ingredients are good for your skin — like poison ivy —  and not all synthetic ingredients are bad for your skin — like hyaluronic acid — so our ‘no list’ is informed by what the leading regulatory bodies are doing and what’s important to our community,” Melanie Bender, the president of Versed, told Insider.

Similar to Bliss, Versed formulates to EU standards, avoiding over 1,300 chemicals in their products. In addition to clean, safe formulations, Versed offers sustainable packaging. About 60% of the brand’s bottles, tubes, and boxes are recyclable.

Products you should try:

Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream (small)Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm (small)
Love Beauty and Planet

Love Beauty and Planet Soothe and Nourish Hemp Seed Shampoo

Why we love it: Personal-care company Love Beauty and Planet is all about the little things, making small tweaks to the sourcing, formulating, and design processes for its products (which include haircare, deodorant, and even dish soap), to cut down on waste in more ways than one.

For starters, every bottle is made from 100% recycled materials and can be recycled (by you) once they’re empty. The ingredients are ethically sourced and organic; and while that’s great for your skin and hair, it’s also great for the fair-wage workers that harvest said ingredients. Love Beauty and Planet’s haircare products feature something they call “fast-rinse technology,” which means you can take shorter showers and save water. 

Products you should try:

Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner (small)Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner (small)
Hello

hello Activated Charcoal Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

Why we love it: Toothpaste may be an afterthought for some, but many traditional formulas feature less-than-natural ingredients and potentially harmful chemicals, like parabens and peroxide. That’s where oral-care brand Hello comes in. “Our products are free of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, dyes, SLS/sulfates, parabens, microbeads, triclosan, and peroxide,” Craig Dubitsky, the founder of Hello, told Insider. 

Its Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste (our top choice) is a must since it leaves your mouth feeling fresh and is sourced from sustainable bamboo. “Our products are vegan and cruelty-free, and our pastes and rinses are made in the US,” Dubitsky added. 

Products you should try:

Activated Charcoal Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste (small)Sensitivity Relief Fluoride Toothpaste (small, Preferred: Target)
W3LL People

W3LL People Expressionist Pro Mascara

Why we love it: All of W3LL People’s formulas — from foundation and highlighter to mascara and lipstick — are formulated with hydrating, plant-based ingredients and contain no toxic chemicals, fillers, or preservatives. Basically, the brand is all about the power of botanicals. Its favorite is aloe vera, which was known as “the plant of immortality” by the ancient Egyptians, and can be found in almost every product W3LL People makes. Plus, one of the founders is a professional makeup artist, so you know the formulas hold up.

Products you should try:

Expressionist Pro Mascara (small)Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer with SPF 30 (small)
Saalt

Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup   Regular

Why we love it: “In the US alone, 20 billion menstrual products are disposed of annually,” Cherie Hoeger and Amber Fawson, the founders of menstrual cup company Saalt, told Insider. Traditional pads and tampons are among the most polluting products on the planet, turning women toward alternatives like the Saalt Cup.

Saalt’s medical-grade silicone menstrual cups are inserted like a tampon to collect menstrual fluid. They can be reused for up to 10 years, making menstrual cups “one of the simplest ways to divert massive amounts of waste,” said the founders. It’s a safe, hassle-free period experience, too. It’s pretty comfortable (I promise), can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, and it also translates to over thousands in savings, since you no longer have to buy tampons or pads every month.

Products to try:

Soft Menstrual Cups (small)Citrus Menstrual Cup Wash (small)
Rael

Rael

Why we love it: These feminine products use a natural pulp core and non-toxic adhesive, making Rael’s products as clean and eco-friendly as possible, said Yanghee Paik, a co-founder of organic, feminine-care company Rael

“The traditional pads I’d been using contained not only chlorine, fragrance, and pesticides, but also carcinogens and irritants such as styrene (used in car tires), chloromethane (used in petroleum refining), and acetone (nail polish remover), which can often cause cramps, allergic reactions, and skin irritations,” Paik said.  

The brand’s organic cotton pads are now available at Target, making them “easily accessible to all women around the country,” as Paik says. They’re also priced in line with non-organic options ($4.99-$6.99).

Products you should try:

Organic Cotton Regular Menstrual Pads (small)Organic Cotton Regular & Super Tampons (small)

Reviews Style and Beauty FAQ Banner

What does Target Clean mean?

Target Clean is a new, easy way to identify products formulated without harmful ingredients. Look for the Target Clean symbol in store and online to find over 4,000 products that meet their clean standard.

All beauty products certified as Target Clean are formulated without the following: propyl-parabens, butyl-parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-donors, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), Oxybenzone, SLES, retinyl palmitate, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, BHA & BHT.

  • Deodorant: Additionally formulated without aluminum.
  • Oral care: Additionally formulated without artificial sweeteners.

What is considered clean beauty?

Clean beauty follows two simple standards: transparency and safe ingredients. You should know exactly what you’re getting with a glance at the label. As for safe ingredients, the Good Face Index ranks every cosmetic ingredient based on safety and toxicity. But some general ones to avoid are parabens, sulfates, oxybenzone, and formaldehyde.

Just because a product is organic, natural, or green, doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic. Manmade ingredients are clean as long as they’re safe and non-toxic. This also means that clean beauty doesn’t have to be all-natural, preservative-free, etc.

In Europe, over 1,300 potentially harmful chemicals are banned from cosmetics. In the United States, that number is just 11. Unfortunately, clean beauty products are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s up to the brand’s discretion. 

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

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