Teeth whitening has become commonplace and affordable gels, washes and kits can be found in most drug stores. With all the available options, choosing the best whitener can be confusing. Here, we’ll take a look at different teeth whiteners and examine their pros and cons.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products
One of the best-known over-the-counter products is the Crest Whitestrips line, which has four separate products ranging in price from $24.99-$44.99. The “strips” are tiny pieces of plastic that are coated with gel peroxide and placed on the teeth for a few minutes a day. Online reviews for the products are mixed. While most agree that the strips whiten, some have developed tooth sensitivities and tender gums after using the products. Others have experienced pain when using the strips.
Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening Gel is getting better reviews. The product retails for $6.00 and consists of 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. Because it is pH neutral, there are fewer instances of sensitivity and pain. The whitening program lasts for two weeks, but many have seen results within days.
Drugstores offer a variety of whitening gums, toothpastes and mouthwashes. These products don’t promise dramatic effects but they are good for maintenance. Over-the-counter whiteners tend to be cheaper than those administered by a dentist but the results don’t usually last as long. Most dental professionals do not recommend using over-the-counter teeth whiteners.
Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening
Believe it or not, strawberries are great for whitening teeth. Simply mash 1 ripe strawberry into a paste and spread on teeth as you would a toothpaste. For better results, add 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda. The acidity of the strawberry will loosen and remove stains. This, however, should be used in moderation. Over time the acid from the fruit can wreak havoc on tooth enamel, leaving teeth susceptible to chips, cavities and sensitivity. Lemon juice and salt will provide another short-term fix but exercise caution, as lemons are also acidic.
One of the most effective home remedies is baking soda, which cleans teeth in addition to whitening them. A mixture of baking soda, water and salt can be used in lieu of, or in combination with, toothpaste but should only be used once a week as the concoction is abrasive. Arm and Hammer has a line of baking soda infused toothpaste that is safe for everyday use.
Teeth Whitening at the Dentist’s Office
One of the most popular bleaching-tray products administered by a dentist is Nite White. Nite White retails for $300-$500 and is used at home. The kit includes a custom-made tray and the product lasts for three years. I am currently using Nite White and I highly recommend it. I have experienced no tooth or gum sensitivity, my enamel is intact and the results have been incredible.
Dentists can also whiten teeth with lasers. This procedure is quick and painless but it is costly, ranging in price from $500-$2,000. Laser whitening is one of the most effective means of teeth whitening, typically brightening teeth up to 8 shades. It also has the longest-lasting results.
Before undergoing any teeth-whitening procedures, it’s best to consult with a professional. Remember: cheap whiteners cost less upfront, but if complications occur, they may end up costing far more in the long run.