What are Some Teeth Whitening Products?

Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn
People use various products to whiten their teeth.
People use various products to whiten their teeth.

Once available only in upscale dental offices, teeth whitening products have hit the mainstream, and anyone can have a Hollywood smile with one quick trip to the local drugstore. Dentists still provide the strongest whitening agents in their offices, but consumers can now choose from paper-like strips, waxy trays to be worn for brief periods in the mouth, toothpastes, mouthwash, and now even chewing gum when a whiter smile is desired.

Some types of mouthwash are designed to whiten teeth.
Some types of mouthwash are designed to whiten teeth.

Dental offices are the place to go for those who want to go more than a couple shades lighter in a short time period. The teeth whitening products available to professionals are still stronger than anything the average person can pick up, and now dentists have laser procedures for the fastest alteration possible. The term laser is used loosely here, however, as a laser never touches the teeth -- it’s actually a “light activated” altering procedure.

Some over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain trays filled with a bleaching agent.
Some over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain trays filled with a bleaching agent.

The difference between teeth whitening products in a dentist's office, what a dentist gives a patient to do on their own at home, and teeth whitening products any individual can pick up at a discount department store is not as different as one would expect. In fact, the products are almost identical; it’s the concentration of active ingredient that distinguishes some items as professional.

Some brands of toothpaste help whiten teeth.
Some brands of toothpaste help whiten teeth.

Hydrogen peroxide is the oxidization agent typically used in teeth whitening products. This agent penetrates the enamel and oxidizes, or bleaches, the stains. Dentists are allowed to use higher concentrations of an oxidizing agent than manufacturers are allowed to sell in stores, and thus, dentists can lighten teeth dramatically in a shorter amount of time. Home users are using basically the same products, only the teeth whitening products available to home users have a lower concentration of oxidizing agent. Therefore, they are still able to lighten at the same levels, but they must be applied more often, over a longer period of time.

Hydrogen peroxide, whitening strips and mouth rinses are among products used to restore the natural color of teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide, whitening strips and mouth rinses are among products used to restore the natural color of teeth.

Popular options for home users are whitening strips that are left on daily for 30 minutes or so at a time, toothpastes that will help keep new stains at bay, mouth rinses, custom trays fitted by a dentist but used at home, and now some chewing gums are even advertising their whitening properties. If cost is a factor, using gels, strips, or toothpastes at home can be just as effective as dental procedures, but progress is much slower.

Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn

Joining the team has helped to satisfy Hillary’s insatiable curiosity for knowledge. She also manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. Hillary has a passion for satirical writing and enjoys traveling, especially to places of historical importance.

Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn

Joining the team has helped to satisfy Hillary’s insatiable curiosity for knowledge. She also manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. Hillary has a passion for satirical writing and enjoys traveling, especially to places of historical importance.

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Discussion Comments

Raynbow

@heavanet- I have used hydrogen peroxide for years to whiten my teeth, and I think it works very well. It is also good as an oral rinse, because it kills germs and bacteria.

Before you start to use hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth, you should talk to your dentist. Too much peroxide can cause tooth sensitivity, so you should have your teeth evaluated first to make sure you won't cause them any harm by using it.

Once your dentist gives you the approval to use peroxide, using it as an oral rinse twice each day should give you noticeably whiter teeth over time. If at any time you notice that your teeth are becoming sensitive, you should cut back on the frequency in which you are using peroxide to rinse.

Heavanet

I have heard that basic hydrogen peroxide is one of the best home teeth whitening products. Does anyone know if it does work to whiten your teeth, and if so, what is the best way to use it?

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    • People use various products to whiten their teeth.
      By: sanneberg
      People use various products to whiten their teeth.
    • Some types of mouthwash are designed to whiten teeth.
      By: ijacky
      Some types of mouthwash are designed to whiten teeth.
    • Some over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain trays filled with a bleaching agent.
      By: dusk
      Some over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain trays filled with a bleaching agent.
    • Some brands of toothpaste help whiten teeth.
      By: sumire8
      Some brands of toothpaste help whiten teeth.
    • Hydrogen peroxide, whitening strips and mouth rinses are among products used to restore the natural color of teeth.
      By: Stasique
      Hydrogen peroxide, whitening strips and mouth rinses are among products used to restore the natural color of teeth.
    • Human teeth are naturally white, but the can become darker over time.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      Human teeth are naturally white, but the can become darker over time.
    • Some chewing gums now contain whitening properties.
      By: nyul
      Some chewing gums now contain whitening properties.