It’s normal for your teeth to stain over time. Some of your favorite foods, beverages, and lifestyle habits may cause your teeth to tinge. Teeth whitening is a safe process that removes surface stains from your teeth.
If you’re looking for a brighter smile, there are tons of teeth whitening products available on the market. At-home and in-office teeth whitening products and services have tremendously grown in popularity.
At-home teeth whitening products have become prevalent since they’re so convenient and affordable. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home and spend time at the dentist’s office. They also often cost a fraction of the high in-office price tag that comes with most professional whitening treatments performed by a cosmetic dentist.
In-office teeth whitening treatments yield effective results, but they do come with a higher price tag. These days many comparable at-home teeth whitening products offer a more affordable cost and equally impressive results.
What Are The Best Teeth Whitening Products?
Below you’ll learn about all of the best at-home options and discover the best teeth whitening products for your unique needs. You’ll also learn about professional whitening treatments that dentists perform in-office settings.
Best Teeth Whitening Products Overview
- Best Whitening Kit: Snow Teeth Whitening Kit
- Best Whitening Strips: Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips
- Best Toothpaste: Colgate Optic Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
- Best Whitening Pen: Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen
- Best for Sensitive Teeth: Snow Whitening Toothpaste
- Best Whitening Floss: Dental Floss for Whitening Teeth by Spotlight Oral Care
- Best Natural Floss: Snow Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Floss
- Best Natural Options: Coconut Oil & Baking Soda
- Best Professional Options: In-office teeth whitening + custom-fitted trays
Best Kit: SNOW Teeth Whitening Kit
Founded in 2017, Snow® was formulated with leading cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian Harris. Snow is a premium leader focused on oral care products that deliver professional-level results at home. Though Snow is a new brand, their reviews for their whitening kit have been highly positive due to their product’s effectiveness and accessible price point.
Snow’s complete at-home teeth whitening kit is perfect (and safe) for those with sensitive teeth, bridges, bridges, caps, and veneers.
Snow utilizes award-winning LED activating technology that delivers professional-level dentist quality results with a fraction of the price tag. The combination of light plus gel helps effectively break down surface stains yet is still safe for tooth enamel. This is optimal, especially for those with tooth sensitivity.
The process of using the teeth whitening kit is simple. You brush your teeth first, apply the whitening gel serum, and then insert the LED whitening mouthpiece for 10-30 minutes. Rinse, and you’re done.
Best Whitening Strips: Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips
Crest has been one of the top teeth whitening brands in America for good reason. Their products have been very reputable and whiten teeth effectively. Crest has been brightening teeth and delivering professional-level teeth whitening results for decades.
One of the highest-rated and most popular whitestrips are Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips. Crest 3D Whitestrips are safe for tooth enamel, use the same whitening ingredients as dentists, and remove up to 14 years of surface stains through a no-slip teeth whitening experience. Their Advanced Seal Technology no-slip grip lets you talk and drink water while whitening teeth.
The Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips teeth whitening kit comes with 20 30-minute treatments plus two bonus Crest 3D White 1-hour express treatments.
Best Whitening Toothpaste: Colgate Optic Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
If you’re looking to take your pearly whites to the next level, whitening toothpastes can help give you noticeably whiter teeth. Colgate Optic Renewal toothpaste holds a patented 3% hydrogen peroxide formula that is proven to deeply whiten beneath surface stains, inside and out.
Colgate Optic Renewal whitening toothpaste contains the highest level of hydrogen peroxide on the market while still being safe for tooth enamel.
Hydrogen peroxide is a dentist-recommended teeth whitening agent that is enamel-safe and found in many teeth whitening treatments. Colgate claims to remove yellow stains, coffee, and wine stains within four weeks.
Best Whitening Pen: Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen
A convenient way to spot, treat and remove teeth stains is to use a whitening pen. The Colgate Optic White pen contains a whitening serum in a clickable and easily dispensable vessel. To use the product, you brush and floss your teeth first and then dry your teeth. You’ll then brush a layer of the whitening gel onto your teeth and wait for 10 to 15 seconds for the serum to dry. You’ll then sleep with the whitening agent overnight and brush your teeth first thing in the morning.
Colgate claims to remove 15 years of stains in one week with this product. Each whitening pen contains 35 nightly uses. This whitening pen is also vegan-friendly, gluten, and sugar-free.
Best Whitening Floss: Dental Floss for Whitening Teeth by Spotlight Oral Care
Flossing is one of the most important though often overlooked steps when it comes to a visibly whiter smile. Flossing regularly allows you to remove surface stains in hard-to-reach areas.
Dental Floss for Whitening Teeth contains hydrogen peroxide for effective whitening between your teeth. This floss was formulated by dentists and is also vegan-friendly, ocean safe, and recyclable.
Best Natural Floss: Snow Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Floss
It’s easy to fall in love with flossing with Snow’s charcoal whitening floss. It’s non-GMO, cruelty-free, 100% bamboo, and coated in biodegradable natural wax. This charcoal floss is also made of naturally expanding bamboo fibers that effectively remove debris between your teeth.
Snow’s organic floss has an activated charcoal formula that removes plaque, eliminates bacteria, detoxes, and whitens your teeth.
Best for Sensitive Teeth: Snow’s Whitening Toothpaste
If you have sensitive teeth or are susceptible to gum irritation, look for specifically formulated products that whiten teeth and that are also gentle. One of Snow’s latest products (with raving positive reviews) designed a whitening toothpaste formula specifically with sensitive teeth in mind.
Snow’s whitening toothpaste comes in two flavors. Morning Frost (AM) lets you kickstart your day with a fresh minty flavor. Midnight Mist (PM) is a soothing lavender mint blend that’s perfect for winding down in the evening.
This formula is gentle on gums and enamel, contains clean and safe ingredients, and is free of fluorides and sulfates.
Best Natural Whitening Options: Coconut Oil & Baking Soda
If you cannot tolerate teeth whitening chemicals found in certain products, there are a few popular natural alternatives. A dental professional can also inform you of gentle or natural products and remedies that may give you a whiter smile.
Oil pulling with coconut oil is an ancient remedy that helps improve oral hygiene, removes toxins from the body, reduces inflammation, and kills bacteria. A few studies have shown that coconut oil pulling may even reduce plaque and gingivitis.
To oil pull, you swish a small amount of coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes daily.
Consistent practitioners of oil pulling have claimed their teeth felt whiter and brighter are using coconut oil.
You’ve probably already noticed that many commercial brands include baking soda in their toothpaste formulas. Baking soda has natural whitening properties and is also alkaline, which helps prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth.
Studies have shown that baking soda may also have a whitening effect. This natural remedy takes time, though, but after consistent usage, you may be able to see a noticeable difference in whiter teeth.
To brush your teeth with baking soda, you’ll need one small part of baking soda to two parts of water.
Best Professional Treatments
Professional in-office teeth whitening treatments are also an effective way to whiten your teeth. These procedures are performed at a dentist’s office under professional supervision.
The bleaching agents used by dental professionals are more intense and yield faster results. However, professional treatments do come with a heftier price tag.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office professional teeth whitening is the most effective way to brighten your smile. After a single visit, you can lighten your teeth by several shades. Professional teeth whitening is safe. However, it is more expensive in comparison to home treatment options.
The reason professional whitening is so fast and effective is because the concentration level of bleaching agents used is a much higher percentage than over-the-counter whitening products.
In-office teeth whitening can take up to one visit or a few depending on your personal goals. A dentist or hygienist will first clean and polish your teeth. A high concentration hydrogen peroxide gel is then put onto your teeth. Many dentists will also use a high-intensity LED, UV, or halogen light.
Your dentist will also ensure that your gums, tongue, and inner cheeks are protected from powerful bleaching agents. Once the whitening treatment is complete, your mouth gets rinsed, and fluoride may be applied. Appointments may take an hour to an hour and a half.
Your dentist will also discuss an aftercare plan with you. You’ll have to refrain from drinking wine and coffee for a short duration of time since your teeth are more porous, they’re vulnerable to staining. Right after your first treatment, your teeth might be super white since they’re dehydrated. After a week, the end result will settle in.
In-Office Custom-Fitted Whitening Trays
Custom-fitted whitening trays can also take your smile to the next level. Custom-made trays are made by your dentist or orthodontist. An impression of your teeth is taken, and then personalized trays are created. Custom-fitted trays are more comfortable since their molded perfectly to your teeth.
A dentist will also give you a hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide whitening gel to place in the trays and use at home. Though most likely, it will be a carbamide peroxide whitening gel with a concentration level of 10% to 40%. Carbamide peroxide is good since it’s more gentle on your teeth, gums, and cheeks. The whitening process may be more gradual but safer and a more comfortable experience.
Custom trays can be worn several hours a day, and a full treatment cycle usually takes 30 days of daily use. Custom-fitted trays are effective since they hold the whitening agent snuggly across your teeth. Over-the-counter trays have bleaching agents that are just as effective, though the fit of the trays may not be ideal.
Personalized trays are also more expensive than store-bought popular brands. On the lower end, they typically start at $400. Your dentist may also recommend custom trays for after an in-office professional whitening treatment as a way to maintain your pearly whites.
What Type of Teeth Whitening Options Are Available?
Some of the most popular teeth whitening products include teeth whitening kits, whitening strips, whitening toothpastes, teeth whitening trays, whitening pens, in-office professional whitening, and in-office custom-fitted whitening trays.
There are tons of effective teeth whitening products designed to whiten your teeth. When it comes to deciding the best product for you, think about your budget and desired results. The at-home whitening process is more affordable. However, if you have the funds and are willing to splurge, in-office treatments yield more instantaneous results.
Also, consider the application method, ponder if you’re okay with a longer, more gentle whitening time, or are looking for super fast results for a special event. Both have their pros and cons. It’s a great idea also to consult your dentist if you need help choosing the right teeth whitening product.
Most frequent questions and answers
Yes. Teeth whitening is safe. Hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient (and bleaching agent) that brightens teeth, has been around for decades and is also used by dentists. The American Dental Association has stated that hydrogen peroxide whiteners are safe and effective. When looking for teeth whitening products, look for the ADA seal of approval and always follow the instructions according to the product for optimal safety.
If you have more sensitive teeth and teeth whitening products that cause discomfort, talk to your dentist to discuss the best way to get rid of tooth stains. Gum irritation and teeth sensitivity ranges from person to person.
There are many reasons for teeth stains. The most common causes are lifestyle habits such as tobacco usage, cigarettes, and food and drink. However, genetics, poor oral hygiene, age, disease, past traumas, and certain medications also may cause discolored teeth.
There are three common types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related teeth stains.
Extrinsic tooth discoloration is commonly caused by food and drinks such as coffee, tea, wine, etc. This type of stain can usually be fixed with a whitening toothpaste.
Intrinsic stains are beneath the surface of the tooth and may be more difficult to remove. These types of stains may be removed with stronger at-home products, or may require in-office whitening for more severe cases.
Age-related stains happen naturally as we age. The dentin, which is the core tissue inside of your teeth, becomes yellow through the years. As you get older, your tooth enamel also naturally becomes thinner, which in turn exposes the yellow dentin even more.
The best way to keep your teeth white is to practice excellent oral hygiene. Brush your teeth two to three times a day, floss daily, and use a good mouth wash. Consider investing in effective gadgets such as an electric toothbrush or a Waterpik, an oral irrigator that works to blast out food particles from in between your teeth. These devices do a great job of polishing your teeth and keeping them white.
Another way to prevent tooth discoloration is to brush your teeth and floss immediately after eating dark-pigmented foods. Food and drinks such as coffee, wine, soda, dark berries, balsamic, and vinegar stain teeth if they linger on the surface for too long. If you cannot brush your teeth, swish and rinse water in your mouth until you can properly clean your teeth.
Lastly, if you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit. Tobacco products stain teeth and also cause tooth decay. The nicotine and tar in tobacco seep into the tooth’s enamel, causing your teeth to turn brown or yellow.
When shopping for tooth whitening products, consider what you’re looking for. Are you looking for natural products? Are you going for maximum effectiveness? Knowing what you want helps you in the decision-making process. Here are some common ingredients to look for when searching for the right product.
- Hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an active ingredient found in many teeth whitening products. The right concentration of hydrogen peroxide works as a bleaching agent that lifts surface stains off the teeth. Most over-the-counter at-home products have a hydrogen peroxide percentage of 3% to 15%. In-office treatments have a percentage of 15% to 40%.
- Carbamide peroxide. This is a whitening agent made up of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide or urea. A study by the American Dental Association showed that carbamide peroxide may produce more dramatic results in the beginning. Carbamide peroxide is just as powerful as hydrogen peroxide. However, it does have a slower release time in comparison, making it ideal for those with sensitive teeth.
- Fluoride. Fluoride is widely considered nature’s natural cavity fighter. It’s a natural mineral that helps remineralize weak tooth enamel, reverse early tooth decay, and prevent the growth of invasive bacteria. Fluoride also helps prevent cavities. Look for toothpaste and mouth wash that contains fluoride. Ideally, look for one with the American Dental Association seal of acceptance.
For natural options, look for ingredients such as coconut oil, baking soda, and activated charcoal. If you’re sensitive to fluoride, there are plenty of fluoride-free alternatives.
There are several side effects that may occur after whitening your teeth. Common side effects include:
- Teeth sensitivity. Your teeth may be sensitive during or after the whitening process. You may also experience a heightened sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
- Gum irritation. Your gum tissue could become temporarily inflamed and irritated if you’re sensitive to the chemicals in whitening products. Gums may turn white or red. It may also take a few days for your gums to heal fully.
- Intense tingling. During the whitening treatment, you may experience an intense tingling sensation. If you feel a burning sensation, it’s best to try another product if the pain becomes intolerable.
Undesired results. If you have deep intrinsic tooth discoloration, whitening products may not whiten your teeth at all. These products also do not whiten caps, crowns, or veneers.
If you experience any abnormal pain, gum sensitivity, tooth sensitivity, or irritations, it’s best to cease usage of the product you’ve been using and visit your dentist’s office. The quest to whiten your teeth does not need to be a painful one.