Safest Teeth Whiteners
The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
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Do you wish your smile was brighter? You’re not alone. 80% of Americans aged 18 to 49 want whiter teeth.1 And they’re willing to pay for it. Collectively, they spend over 1 billion dollars on whitening each year.1
There are several options for teeth whitening treatments. But for those of you in a rush for whiter teeth, you’ll want to know which ones are the fastest (and safest).
Professional whitening treatment from your dentist will give you the fastest, safest results in one or two sessions. However, it will cost you around $400 to $1,500 per treatment session.
For those who want to whiten their teeth at home, the options include over-the-counter whitening products and DIY remedies.
Learn about the safest ways to whiten your teeth.
Here are some common types of tooth discoloration and their causes:
Extrinsic stains are on the surface of your tooth. They are caused by substances coming in contact with your teeth. Often, plaque will build up on your teeth, giving these substances a sticky surface to stick to.
The most common causes of extrinsic stains are from certain foods and drinks, including:
This is not a complete list. Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also common causes of extrinsic stains.
Extrinsic stains are easier to remove than intrinsic stains. They can be removed via mechanical whitening (i.e. brushing and cleaning your teeth) or chemical whitening.
Intrinsic staining happens inside the tooth. It can be caused by:
Intrinsic staining is harder to get rid of. Chemical whitening is the only way to get rid of this discoloration.
As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears down. This exposes the second layer of your teeth, called dentin. Dentin has a yellowish tint and gives your teeth a discolored appearance.
Unfortunately, dentin cannot be whitened. If the cause of your discolored teeth is worn enamel, neither mechanical nor chemical whitening will help. You’ll need to explore other cosmetic treatments, such as veneers.
If you want to change the appearance of your teeth quickly, here are some popular options:
At-home whitening kits are surging in popularity. They are affordable, easy to use, and produce great results in less than two weeks.
These kits include a mouthpiece with LED lights and a whitening gel. Be sure to choose one with a hydrogen or carbamide peroxide-based serum.
If your teeth are prone to sensitivity, use a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide (5 percent hydrogen peroxide or 20 percent carbamide peroxide).
If you do not experience sensitivity, or want faster results, use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide (up to 15 percent hydrogen peroxide or 45 percent carbamide peroxide.
Teeth whitening strips are another affordable and effective at-home whitening treatment. If used correctly, they are safe and produce minimal side effects.11, 12, 13
Whitestrips are made from a thin, flexible plastic coated with a tooth bleaching agent. They are less expensive than LED whitening kits.
However, we recommend LED kits because whitening strips are difficult to place on your teeth. They cannot cover the tight spaces between your teeth. This can result in uneven whitening results.
Whitening toothpastes with an ADA Seal of Acceptance can help remove extrinsic (surface) stains from your teeth.14
However, they do not remove intrinsic stains and are much less effective than LED kits, whitening strips, and in-office treatment.
Whitening mouthwashes containing hydrogen peroxide can also help remove or prevent extrinsic stains. However, they are not as effective as LED kits, whitening strips, and in-office treatment.14, 15
Whitening toothpastes are best used in addition to another whitening method such as an LED whitening kit, whitening strips, or in-office treatment to help prevent new stains on your teeth.
Read our review of the 9 Best Teeth Whitening Products.
Baking soda-based pastes are effective and safe for tooth stain removal and whitening. Many clinical studies have shown that baking soda pastes are more effective in stain removal than some highly abrasive, non–baking soda whitening mixtures.5
Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water, and then apply it to your teeth with a toothbrush. Leave it on for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse your mouth thoroughly. Your teeth should look brighter.
Note: Baking soda can only remove superficial stains (extrinsic). Deeper stains (intrinsic) typically require professional teeth whitening.
The majority of DIY whitening home remedies lack any scientific backing. Most of the “evidence” is anecdotal, meaning someone has shared their personal experience. This is an opinion, which is not the same as scientific evidence.
DIY home whitening remedies that do not have any scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness include:
See NewMouth’s top 10 teeth whitening products of 2022.
The best, safest, and most effective way to whiten your teeth in one day is with professional teeth whitening treatment. Some options include:
While these treatments are effective and produce instant results, they are expensive (up to $1,000 per treatment). However, you only need to undergo professional whitening every six months to a year.
Professional in-office whitening treatment is the only way to see significant whitening results in one day.
At-home whitening treatments, including LED whitening kits and whitening strips, will give you the same results as professional treatment, but it will take up to two weeks to see significant results
Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are best used as a preventative treatment once you have achieved your desired whitening results.
DIY treatments such as charcoal, acidic fruits, vinegar, fruit peels, and coconut oil have no scientific research behind them and aren't recommended.
Baking soda may have whitening effects but is not as effective as hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.
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