Teeth whitening strips, gels, toothpaste, bleaching, and more

Cosmetic Dentistry Teeth Whitening

Modern dental công nghệ has made teeth whitening methods affordable and effective more than ever before. This billion-dollar-a-year- industry claims to help people all over the world happier with their perfect teeth…

But not all teeth whitening methods are safe and/or effective.

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What makes teeth look yellow? Teeth look yellow due khổng lồ smoking, bruxing (grinding your teeth), staining foods & drinks, and aging enamel. If you took tetracycline antibiotics during childhood, you may have yellow teeth.

There are two basic types of teeth whitening:

Extrinsic whitening: Extrinsic whitening is whitening teeth by using mild abrasives to lớn remove stains from the outer surfaces of teeth. This reveals the color underneath but does not actually change the màu sắc of teeth.Intrinsic whitening: Intrinsic whitening is a teeth whitening process that uses a tooth bleaching agent to lớn change the color of the enamel of your teeth. The only tooth whitening agent used widely is peroxide.

Some teeth whitening methods are most beneficial for preventing teeth yellowing or staining.

Let’s look at the best teeth whitening methods of 2020. We’ll break down the cost, type, pros, và cons of each option so you can make the best decision to lớn brighten your pearly whites.


1. Use whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes generally use a combination of ingredients lớn remove stains from teeth, including:

Carbamide or hydrogen peroxideMild abrasives (including activated charcoal, baking soda, silica, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, sodium metaphosphate, zirconium silicate, và calcium pyrophosphate)Hydroxyapatite

According khổng lồ a 2018 review, whitening toothpastes effectively whiten teeth và offer a brighter smile by removing surface stains.

Most whitening toothpastes, however, vày not intrinsically whiten/bleach teeth.

However, hydroxyapatite (HAp) toothpaste is the only whitening toothpaste that can intrinsically whiten teeth from the inside out. It literally “fills in” the space in your enamel for a whiter, brighter appearance.

Cost: $5-30 per tube

Type: Extrinsic whitening & intrinsic whitening (HAp toothpaste only)

Pros of Whitening Toothpaste:

InexpensiveCan intrinsically whiten teeth, in the case of HAp toothpaste

Cons of Whitening Toothpaste:

I recommend only using an abrasive whitening toothpaste for 2-3 weeks at a time khổng lồ remove tooth stains. However, hydroxyapatite toothpastes are safe for long-term use, as they don’t use strong abrasives.

Best Whitening Toothpastes:

The best whitening toothpastes for removing surface stains are Jason Powersmile và Hyperbiotics Charcoal Toothpaste.

The best whitening toothpastes to lớn whiten teeth from the inside out are Boka và RiseWell.

2. Switch lớn an electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes remove surface stains from teeth more effectively than manual toothbrushes.

Oscillating electric toothbrushes are generally the best for teeth whitening compared to lớn sonic-powered toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrush costs range greatly because of the “bells and whistles” they often add. There is no evidence that added features, like Bluetooth or specialized heads, improve brushing in a way that improves teeth whitening effects.

Inexpensive electric toothbrushes have similar teeth whitening benefits khổng lồ those that cost hundreds of dollars.

Cost: $8-$300 (high-quality electric brushes usually cost $25-$80)

Type: Extrinsic whitening

Pros of Electric Toothbrushes:

Associated with no side effects or potential dangers khổng lồ oral healthMay offer better protection against tooth decay than manual brushes

Cons of Electric Toothbrushes:

More expensive than manual toothbrushes

Best Electric Toothbrush for Whitening:

The best electric toothbrushes for whitening are the Goby brush & the Oral-B 7000.

3. Get a professional tooth whitening treatment

For teeth whitening at your dentist’s office, expect 1-3 sessions of 30-60 minutes each.

During each session, a high concentration of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide (20-43%) will be “painted” onto the teeth. A polymerization light is used lớn activate the gel, and it’s reapplied several times over the session.

Although hydrogen peroxide can be used, carbamide peroxide is considered the industry standard because it has a much longer shelf life.

Some dentists will finish by using a UV light to accelerate the chemical reaction & the whitening process. You may also be offered the option to do just one 2-hour session, which will always include UV light.

Cost: $650-1250 for each session

Type: Intrinsic whitening

Pros of Professional Teeth Whitening:

Whitens teeth from the inside outWhitens teeth fast (you’ll see whiter teeth after just one treatment)Treatment and supervision by your dentist reduces the risk of damage khổng lồ your teeth or gums compared to home teeth whitening systems

Cons of Professional Teeth Whitening:

Some of the whitening effect goes away 2-7 days after treatmentAdded whitening effect of a UV light rebounds after 7 days or fewerExpensiveRequire a visit khổng lồ your dentist (can’t be done at home)

Best Professional Whitening System:

No one professional whitening system is particularly better than another. Just avoid UV light!

Find a dentist you trust who is concerned about the health of your teeth as well as the aesthetics.

4. Get a custom whitening gel tray

The best, longest-lasting, most sustainable way to whiten your teeth is with custom whitening gel trays. These whitening gel trays are made & custom-fitted by your dentist based on quality impressions of your teeth.

You can keep your tray indefinitely, as long as your teeth stay in the same place. You’ll purchase whitening gel lớn use at trang chủ (it keeps in the fridge) anytime you want to lớn whiten your teeth.

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To use a custom whitening gel tray:

Remove the whitening gel from your refrigerator.Squirt the peroxide gel into the tray.Gently place the tray over your teeth, being careful khổng lồ allow the fit lớn protect your gums from being exposed khổng lồ the gel.Leave the tray on for 1-3 hours. Vị not leave it on overnight, which may cause tooth sensitivity.

Take care of a whitening tray like you would a retainer, night guard, or any oral appliance — store it in water with baking soda when not in use. (Find more details here.)

Most people achieve the results they want within 2-3 weeks of daily use, although it may take 6-8 weeks for more stubborn yellowing. Don’t whiten for multiple weeks more than once per year.

Don’t purchase over-the-counter gels above 10% concentration khổng lồ use at home. Otherwise, your teeth may become very sensitive.


$250-500 for custom tray$20-40 for each peroxide gel refill

Pros of Custom Whitening Gel Trays:

Best professional results at a much lower cost than professional whitening systemsWith 10% peroxide gels, you shouldn’t experience tooth sensitivityWon’t damage your sensitive gum tissue because the tray protects soft tissue in the mouth

Cons of Custom Whitening Gel Trays:

Higher peroxide gel percentages (over 10%) may result in tooth sensitivity or even damage to lớn the tooth pulpRequire 2 initial visits khổng lồ your dentist

Best Custom Whitening Gel Trays:

Most trays are made with similar materials. The best bleaching products to use in your custom whitening tray are Venus trắng or Opalescence.

5. Apply whitening strips

Whitening strips are small pieces of a flexible plastic coated with a whitening gel.

To use these products, like Crest Whitestrips, a strip for the bottom và one for the đứng top are molded around the teeth and left for 5-30 minutes. Most whitestrips are intended for use over a few weeks, but some Crest Whitestrips can whiten teeth at trang chủ in one day.

Because peroxide & the adhesives in most whitestrips can damage or irritate sensitive gum tissue, it’s best to lớn cut the strips down before use.

Some more “natural” whitening strips vì not use bleaching products but use other whitening agents to lớn remove stains. These other agents bởi vì not whiten teeth intrinsically.

The gel in whitestrips shouldn’t come into tương tác with tooth decay, so it’s best lớn use these teeth whiteners shortly after a dental visit lớn ensure you have no untreated cavities.

Cost: $13-60, depending on strength & brand

Type: Intrinsic (peroxide-based whitestrips) and extrinsic whitening (non-peroxide whitestrips)

Pros of Whitening Strips:

Readily available at drugstores & on AmazonEasy lớn useCreate results within a few days or weeks

Cons of Whitening Strips:

May cause uneven whitening results if not applied perfectly (especially if your teeth aren’t straight)Can increase tooth sensitivityMay cause excruciating pain if applied to lớn a tooth with an open cavity

Best Whitening Strips:

For intrinsic whitening, try Crest Whitestrips. Vày not use more than once every 3-5 years lớn reduce the potential for soft tissue damage.

For a less toxic, extrinsic whitening alternative, try Lumineux’s peroxide-free strips. They use natural ingredients to gently remove stains, và while the results won’t be as drastic, they don’t cause any of the same risks listed above.

6. Use baking soda toothpaste

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an effective home remedy for yellowing teeth.

Research indicates that toothpastes that contain baking soda remove stains from yellowing teeth more effectively than other pastes. The higher the concentration of baking soda, the better the results.

While you can look for toothpastes that include baking soda, the easiest way khổng lồ implement this is khổng lồ DIY it:

Mix 2 teaspoons of water with a teaspoon of baking soda.Dip your brush in the mixture.Brush your teeth as normal.

Cost: $1-$30, depending on the brand of baking soda or baking soda toothpaste

Type: Extrinsic whitening

Pros of Baking Soda:

InexpensiveWidely available for purchaseNon-toxic khổng lồ the mouthOnly mildly abrasive, especially compared khổng lồ most whitening toothpaste abrasives (contrary khổng lồ popular belief)

Cons of Baking Soda:

Best Baking Soda:

Most brands of baking soda will work effectively in DIY toothpaste. Many brands of toothpaste contain baking soda for its whitening and plaque-busting benefits.

7. Try oil pulling

Oil pulling may remove some surface stains from teeth, but it isn’t a very effective teeth whitener. However, it will balance the oral microbiome & reduce inflammation of bleeding gums/gingivitis.

Coconut oil does have the ability to bind to bacteria on the teeth and, therefore, remove some surface stains. But oil pulling will not “whiten” teeth any more than swishing your mouth regularly with water.

However, since oil pulling is so good for oral hygiene in general, I include it on this list as a bộ combo method of stain removal & stain prevention.

Cost: $3-18

Type: Some extrinsic whitening, preventative

Pros of Oil Pulling:

Beneficial lớn overall oral healthReduces the risk of plaque buildup on teeth, which could cause teeth yellowingNo known common side effects

Cons of Oil Pulling:

Can’t actually whiten teeth; more a “preventative” measure to lớn avoid plaque buildupCan clog water pipes if spit into the sink (always spit used coconut oil into the trash can)

Best Oil for Oil Pulling:

Coconut oil is, by far, the best oil for oil pulling. Georganics oil pulling mouthwashes are great for a positive oil pulling experience, especially if it’s new to lớn your oral hygiene routine.

8. Practice good oral hygiene

Everyone’s teeth yellow somewhat over time — it’s a normal part of aging. However, the best way khổng lồ prevent your teeth from changing màu sắc rapidly is good oral hygiene.

A word of caution: Any oral hygiene routine that involves antibacterial products is bad for the oral microbiome. Avoid or greatly limit your use of antibacterial mouthwash, antibacterial toothpaste, essential oils, & hydrogen peroxide mouth rinses.

The best oral hygiene routine involves:

Flossing at least once a dayOil pulling with coconut oil

Type: Extrinsic whitening, preventative

Pros of Good Oral Hygiene:

Healthy teeth age slower than unhealthy teeth with weakened enamel, which means they yellow at a slower rate.Brushing teeth not only keeps them healthy on the inside, but the outside (preventing surface stains from forming).

9. Don’t skip dental checkups

Getting a teeth cleaning every 6 months is a very important part of preventing tooth stains and yellowing.

Your hygienist will remove tartar from your teeth, which can’t be removed at home. This tartar could otherwise lead lớn cavities, gum disease, và even painful tooth abscesses. Plus, removing tartar improves the color of your teeth.

In addition to your bi-yearly cleaning, your dentist will examine your teeth for issues. He or she isn’t just looking for trắng teeth — they’re making sure you have no oral disease that could age or otherwise harm your dental health.

Cost: $100-200 per visit, depending on your location (usually covered by dental insurance)

Type: Extrinsic whitening, preventative

Pros of Dental Checkups:

Important for overall oral healthRemoves yellow tartar và plaque buildupAllows your dentist to lớn catch oral disease that could otherwise yellow or damage teeth