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Home Home Oral Health Choose the Best Tooth Whitener
Choose the Best Tooth Whitener
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Most people will see a difference in about 2 to 3 weeks. The treatment only works if you use it, though, so you have to be motivated to follow through with it, Ryoo says.

Aside from cost, the main drawback is tooth sensitivity. While any kind of whitening can cause it, stronger products are more likely to bring it on, Hewlett says. "It’s a balance between getting the job done and having it being comfortable."

Switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth a week before you start the whitening. Keep using it during treatment. Once you stop whitening, the problem goes away.

Option 3: Do It Yourself

If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly option, consider buying whitening strips at the drugstore. Kits range from about $30 to $65.

They do work, Hewlett says. He suggests you see a dentist first to:

  • Rule out cavities and gum problems.
  • Make sure the color of your teeth would benefit from the process.

Whitening mouthwashes, on the other hand, probably won’t do much. And whitening toothpastes are designed to remove stains on your teeth, not to make them whiter. Some have a small amount of peroxide, but not enough to change tooth color. If you’ve already whitened your teeth, these products can help you maintain the color. Be sure to choose one with fluoride.

How to Keep Them White

Once your teeth are dazzling, you’ll need to whiten them every 6 months or once a year to keep them looking the way you want.

Even after a professional whitening, your choppers can still get stained on the outside from drinking coffee, tea, and red wine, and from smoking. If you light up, kick the habit. Also, rinse out your mouth with water after you sip a dark drink to lower the chances of stains. You can also pass a damp toothbrush over your teeth.

And while it may be tempting to want a blinding movie-star white smile, Li says dentists advise against bleaching too much. Your teeth won’t look natural if they’re lighter than the whites of your eyes.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on January 29, 2016



Edmond R. Hewlett, DDS, professor of restorative dentistry, UCLA School of Dentistry; associate dean, outreach and diversity.

Yiming Li, DDS, MSD, PhD, professor of restorative dentistry, Loma Linda University School of Dentistry; associate dean, research; director, Center for Dental Research.

Victor K. Ryoo, DDS, Ryoo Dental, Fullerton, CA.

American Dental Association: “Statement on the Safety and Efficacy of Whitening Products.”

Boston University: “The Truth About Teeth Whiteners.”

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