Many people with yellow-ish or stained teeth are turning to teeth whitening kits because they're effective and affordable for most people.
For the “pearly white” effect, there's teeth whitening kits.
Today, effective teeth whitening treatments are no longer limited to the dentist’s office. Here are the ten best teeth whitening products you can get your hands on.
1. Crest 3D White Vivid Strips
Crest is the pioneer of easy to use, at-home teeth whitening treatments, and they are still the best option on the market. Their adhesive strips make dental trays and syringes a thing of the past. Instead, you just attach the strips to your teeth once per day.
The 30 minute wait time can be a bit of a pain, but the advantage is the lack of messy cleanup and extra equipment that comes with more traditional whitening treatments. If your teeth are extra stained, you might need a more powerful solution, but for many people, this will be the place to start.
2. Active Wow Teeth Whitening Premium Kit
When it comes to a tray-based system, Active Wow has it figured out. This kit comes with two syringes of a potent teeth whitening treatment, a UV light that can boost the rate at which it whitens your teeth, and two syringes of remineralizing gel, which helps keep your tooth enamel in good shape, and reduces sensitivity.
On top of that, it comes with an extra tray in case one in the set of two gets damaged, lost, or warped. The trays even come with a storage case to prevent them from getting dirty when you aren’t using them. If you need the serious whitening power of a full whitening kit, Active Wow is the way to go.
3. Opalescence Mint
Opalescence Mint is a high-concentration teeth whitening product that, as a result of its potent concentration, does not need to be left on for very long.
Just 30 minutes is enough to get a strong whitening effect. As with other very potent whitening agents, Opalescence Mint does run the risk of causing tooth sensitivity when used too often, or in people prone to getting sensitive teeth.
Without a remineralization formula, this problem is compounded, making this product good for people with resilient teeth who haven’t seen the whitening they want with other products, but not the right call for everybody.
4. Active Wow Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder
For many people, the harsh, chemical nature of teeth whitening is a major turn off, as is the risk of teeth sensitivity following treatment.
An attractive, natural alternative is using activated charcoal to scrub and absorb the compounds that are staining your teeth.
Active Wow’s coconut charcoal powder is one of the best, thanks to its simple, natural ingredients. Though it will take longer for charcoal based treatments to work, they don’t involve the caustic chemicals that could damage your enamel.
5. Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste
Crest 3D White Brilliance is a toothpaste replacement–unlike charcoal based toothpastes, this two-part kit actually functions as a regular toothpaste as well as a teeth whitening solution.
The first tube is a deep cleaning toothpaste that preps your teeth to be whitened, and the second tube is a mild teeth whitening solution that gradually increases the whiteness of your teeth.
It’s not as fast-acting or as potent as a tray-based teeth whitening product, but it’s also a lot less likely to cause sensitivity. It may be used in conjunction with whitening strips, too, for extra whitening power.
6. MagicBrite Complete Teeth Whitening Kit
MagicBrite offers an at-home version of dental tooth whitening, and it even includes an ultraviolet light to speed the effects. Their tooth whitening formula is likely to be effective, but what’s missing is a true remineralizing solution for afterwards.
There’s a vitamin E swab included, but a simple swab is not likely to be as effective as a a full remineralizing gel like other products offer.
7. Cool Teeth Whitening Kit
This teeth whitening kid uses a high-strength carbamide peroxide solution to bleach teeth to a much whiter shade, but the main drawback is that there is no remineralization solution provided, so unless you are more resistant to sensitivity that can come along with using peroxide teeth bleaching kits, you might have to slow down the teeth whitening process to allow your enamel to recover more.
People who have not had sensitive teeth problems with other kits, but need a stronger teeth whitening solution might opt to try the Cool Teeth Whitening Kit, but it shouldn’t be the starting place for most people.
8. Essy Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder
Essy offers an activated charcoal teeth whitening powder, but it just doesn’t quite measure up to other charcoal based teeth whitening products on the market.
It’s still a solid choice, but it could do without the sorbitol sweetener. The mint and stevia flavoring are a nice touch; it will make it seem slightly less like brushing your teeth with black powder and more like using a real toothpaste. But ultimately it gets beat out by other natural teeth whitening solutions.
9. Majestic Pure Teeth Whitening Activated Charcoal
Majestic Pure offers an activated charcoal toothpaste to whiten teeth, but it's got a lot of ancillary and unnecessary ingredients. It's not at all a bad product; it's made with pure and natural ingredients like bentonite clay and peppermint oil, but if you want the teeth whitening power of activated charcoal, you should aim for a toothpaste whose main constituent is actually charcoal.
10. Auraglow On the Go Teeth Whitening Pen
Auraglow’s angle with this product is that it is a more mobile and user-friendly way to whiten your teeth compared to traditional tray systems.
It contains carbamide peroxide at a fairly potent 35% concentration, meaning it could be pretty effective at whitening your teeth. However, the practical implementation and use of the whitening pen is pretty awkward–you have to apply it, then hold a smile for 60 seconds before relaxing.
Plus, once you do that, you’ve got the teeth whitening solution swishing around in your mouth. It’s a nice concept, but the execution isn’t practical for most people.
Teeth whitening benefits and side effects
When your teeth are stained and discolored, a teeth whitening treatment can do wonders for your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Teeth whitening treatments are one of the secret weapons of public personalities everywhere–you can be virtually certain that all of your favorite movie stars, politicians, and newscasters have had their teeth whitened to help improve their public image.
There are a variety of ways to whiten your teeth. These can range from simple toothpaste upgrades to more complicated teeth whitening systems.
Generally, the most effective whitening systems are based on carbamide peroxide, a bleaching compound that has been used in dental offices to whiten teeth.
A 2014 article in the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice evaluated a range of at-home teeth whitening treatments and highlighted their benefits and potential drawbacks (1).
The authors concluded that at home teeth whitening systems are both safe and effective, with the caveat that there is the potential for sensitivity in the teeth, especially if manufacturer directions are not followed.
More serious adverse effects, like damage to the enamel surface of the teeth, seems to occur when people do not read or do not follow the directions on a teeth whitening treatment.
This is especially salient advice today, given that there are many high-strength teeth whitening treatments available that do not need to be (and indeed, should not be) left on the teeth as long as the lower-concentration formulas that used to be the de facto market standard.
Follow the directions that come with your specific product exactly, as this is what is most likely to lead to a positive result.
Research published in the journal Operative Dentistry even suggests that at home whitening may be as effective and more preferable to in office treatments (2).
When a group of patients was given either in-office or at home teeth whitening, the results were similar, and patient preference leaned towards recommendations at home treatments over the dental office treatments, likely because of the ease and convenience.
One potential alternative to harsh chemical treatments that has become more popular recently is activated charcoal toothpaste for teeth whitening. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s not actually a toothpaste at all, nor does it function to reduce cavities like a standard dental toothpaste does.
Instead, the purpose of activated charcoal toothpaste is to gradually and gently wear away the first layer of staining on your teeth, and take advantage of the unique properties of activated charcoal to absorb organic compounds. Since it’s such a new trend, there is a lack of good scientific research on the topic.
Dentists are understandably concerned; a review article in 2017 published in the Journal of the American Dental Association noted that some dentists are worried that patients will use activated charcoal as a replacement for a standard fluoride toothpaste, which could lead to cavities (3).
Still, the authors called for more research, and did not outright recommend avoiding activated charcoal toothpaste.
When using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth, it’s important to know that it doesn’t function as a replacement for your regular toothpaste.
You still need the enamel-strengthening and plaque-removing capabilities of a standard dental toothpaste. Compared to peroxide-based whitening systems, which have known side effects, activated charcoal formulas might be an attractive alternative.
The primary side effect of teeth whitening is increased sensitivity. To characterize the chances of getting teeth sensitivity from a teeth whitening treatment, a 2002 article in the Journal of the American Dental Association tested a 15% carbamide peroxide teeth whitening treatment against a placebo treatment that had no teeth whitening compounds in it (4).
The study used fifty adults split into two groups. The authors found that about half of the subjects in the teeth whitening treatment group reported mild sensitivity, but strangely, so did about half of the subjects in the control group!
There were apparent differences in terms of moderate and severe tooth sensitivity, though: 10 percent of the teeth whitening group reported moderate tooth sensitivity, compared to only 4% of controls, and 2% (one person) reported severe tooth sensitivity in the treatment group, and none in the control group.
This suggests that mildly sensitive teeth are not as frequent of a problem as you might think, and that there is a strong placebo effect at play. However, there does seem to be an increased risk of moderate to severe tooth sensitivity in peroxide-based teeth whitening treatments.
One important note about this study is that newer treatments on the market are up to three times stronger than the 15% carbamide peroxide treatment used in this study, so the incidence of sensitive teeth could be higher in these more powerful formulations, especially if they are not used as directed.
If you choose the right teeth whitening treatment, you can get a safe and effective outcome. While there is some risk of moderate to severe tooth sensitivity, the odds are low, and sensitivity tends to improve over the course of treatment.
The most effective route to whiten your teeth involves carbamide peroxide-based whitening solutions, but if you want to limit or avoid your exposure to harsh chemicals, using activated charcoal toothpaste could be a possible alternative.
Just make sure if you go this route that you are still using a normal toothpaste for optimal tooth health.