5 solutions for teeth whitening (that actually work)

Pearly whites coming right up

March 23 2022

While a slick of a blue-based red lipstick can create the illusion of whiter teeth, there are still stronger ways to permanently brighten your smile at home or through a professional treatment.

But first up… how do our teeth get stained in the first place?

“Staining can be either extrinsic (outside the tooth) or intrinsic (inside the tooth),” says Maria Lucas, oral health therapist and dental hygienist. “Extrinsic staining can be from coffee, red wine, herbal tea and green juices, while intrinsic staining can be from genetic, traumatic or pharmaceutical causes like antibiotics taken as an infant.”

While staining can differ from person to person (Lucas tells us that a lot of patients just need a good hygiene clean and polish to reveal whiter teeth!), these teeth whitening solutions may be able to help. But as always, consult a dentist or specialist to see if each product is right for you.


Try a teeth whitening toothpaste

To remove surface stains, try a toothpaste packed with teeth whitening abilities both day and night. Colgate Optic White High Impact White Toothpaste ($9.99 at Priceline) features hydrogen peroxide in its formula to whiten teeth up to four shades. Talk about a bathroom essential.


Try whitening strips

Whitening strips are also a good at-home option to visibly brighten your smile. Oral-B 3D White Whitestrips ($26.99 at Chemist Warehouse) are thin plastic sheets coated in hydrogen peroxide that wrap around your top and bottom teeth, and can remove stains in as little as 14 days if used for 30 minutes, twice a day.


Try mouthwash

A whitening product that you may not have thought of but will definitely want to add to cart/your stash? Mouthwash, in particular this snazzy Hismile PAP+ Mouthwash ($59 at Hismile). Designed to be used after your evening brush, it features a trio of fancy whitening ingredients that'll leave your pearly whites looking as fresh as your breath smells post-rinse (spoiler alert: very fresh).


Try trays

Another way to whiten teeth is with a whitening pen and mouthguard-like tray that allows the formula to penetrate deep within your teeth. For example, the Advanced Whitening Teeth Whitening Kit ($96 at Advanced Whitening) comes with a hydrogen peroxide whitening pen to coat your teeth, a tray to prevent the gel from moving, and an LED device that attaches to the mouthguard to activate the whitening process. Teeth tech at its finest.


Try a professional teeth whitening treatment

If you’re looking for more dramatic results, a professional treatment may be better suited to you. The Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening Treatment starts off with a coating of peroxide gel over teeth, then a blue LED light is shone onto the teeth to activate the formula. For best results, this is performed four times (and takes about an hour to complete the entire process). Incredibly, it can whiten up to eight shades in one visit. Pricing varies per dentist, but you can inquire here.


Main image credit: Getty Images

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