Everything You Should Know about Tooth Whitening Products

A dazzling pearly white smile is everything that people want these days. That is one of the prime reasons why teeth whitening products are high in demand. There is a wide range of teeth whitening products available in the market. Most of the teeth whitening products are simple, non-invasive, and effective in improving the color of your teeth.

Moreover, it is a hassle-free technique for anyone who wishes to brighten their smile at home. Some of the common teeth whitening products used by people worldwide include whitening gels, pens, strips, toothpaste, and whitening trays. The ease of application and affordability are two main attractions that people prefer to have over professional teeth whitening techniques.


However, it is essential to keep in mind that teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy teeth with no sign of tooth decay, gum disease or previous dental restorations that may affect the result. Today’s article will highlight the different varieties of tooth whitening products available in the market. Moreover, we will discuss the safety measures of these products as well.

What is tooth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental treatment which helps to remove the stains from the tooth surface and enhance the natural color of the teeth. As a result, the patient receives a clean, uniformly white smile. Teeth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures these days.

Usually, teeth whitening is performed under the supervision of a dentist. However, with the increasing demand in the market for affordable teeth whitening products, people can effectively change their smile at home. (1) Whatever the products a person may choose, the active ingredient in most of the teeth whitening products is hydrogen peroxide.

The primary purpose of hydrogen peroxide is to react with the surface stains on the enamel and oxidize them to create uniformity between the teeth. Additionally, the bleaching property of hydrogen peroxide enhances the natural color of the teeth and brightens the smile.

How to select the best tooth whitening product?

It is essential to understand that every tooth whitening product does not provide the same result. The first thing is to decide whether you want a professional whitening kit or compare some over-the-counter effective teeth whitening products.

The professional tooth whitening kit

These products are specifically prescribed by a dental professional. Professional whitening kit usually consists of a custom-fit dental tray with syringe or tubes of bleaching gel. The dentist gives put a list of instructions that are to be followed to get the desired result. (2)

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products

These products come in a wide variety ranging from toothpaste, gels, and strips. Most of the teeth whitening products vary in the strength of the bleaching agent. There are some key points that you must keep in mind while choosing the best over-the-counter teeth whitening products –

  • The concentration of the bleaching agent – hydrogen peroxide is one of the most popular bleaching agents used in tooth whitening products. Usually, the tooth whitening products used at home consist of a lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide. However, this percentage may vary in different products.
  • Application time – choose a product that has a suitable application time and does not clash with your daily schedule. Some tooth whitening products like toothpaste take two to five minutes, while other products take around 30 minutes of application time.
  • Commitment – it is better to know the total time a particular product takes to provide the desired results. Usually, the period of teeth whitening products varies from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Other factors that you should keep in mind while selecting the best whitening product are dental health, cost of the product, and a trusted brand. Discuss these points with a dentist to get clarity on the type of tooth whitening product you want.

What are the types of tooth whitening products?

There are several tooth whitening products available in the market, some of the standard whitening products are listed below –

Whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is one of the best and affordable tooth whitening products. The abrasives used in the toothpaste are effective in removing the surface stains from the tooth enamel. Some whitening toothpaste contains polishing agents that provide a smooth and polished tooth surface. (3) Bleaching agents like carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide helps to lighten the color of the teeth. This helps to enhance the natural smile of an individual.

Typically, whitening toothpaste used two times in a day can take around two to six weeks to whiten the teeth.

Some whitening toothpaste contains chemical agents like blue covarine, which creates an optical illusion on the tooth surface and makes it appear whiter. This toothpaste usually has an immediate effect as compared to traditional whitening toothpaste. (4) The best way to choose a trusted brand of whitening toothpaste is to look for an ADA seal of acceptance. This seal ensures the safety and efficacy of the product.

Cost of whitening toothpaste usually ranges from $1 – $15.

Whitening strips

Whitening strips are yet another cost-effective product that can effectively whiten your teeth. This treatment utilizes two whitening strips per application. Every piece is loaded with bleaching gel that reacts with the tooth enamel and whitens the teeth.

Typically, during this process, the first strip is placed on the upper front teeth, and the second strip is placed on the lower front teeth. It is essential to know which piece should be used on which set of teeth to get effective results. Whitening strips are very convenient to use for people who multitask. The strips are usually left in place for at least 30 minutes after which the gel can be wiped from the tooth surface. (5)

Whitening strips claim to provide amazing results within 3 to 7 days of application. However, this time duration may vary from person to person. The effects of whitening strips last for a good amount of six months to one year. The cost of whitening strips can range from $15 – $30 for the one-week kit, which is much more affordable than professional tooth whitening treatment.

Whitening pen

Tooth whitening pens consist of portable thin plastic tubes of whitening gel. The effects of the whitening pen are instant like whitening strips. The compact size makes it portable and easy to use immediately after eating or drinking stain producing food substances.

For application, you can remove the cap, twist the bottom of the pen to let the gel come out and brush the tip on the tooth surface. Do not rinse after application as whitening pen solution takes a few seconds to settle on the tooth surface.

Usually, the whitening pen contains carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient. Carbamide later breaks down into hydrogen peroxide which helps to improve the color of the teeth. Typically, the breakdown of carbamide peroxide allows oxygen to enter the enamel and react to lighten the color of the teeth.

It is essential to understand that tooth whitening pens are best for instant use. The effects of this product last for only two days. Therefore, if you are looking for a product that has long-lasting whitening effects, the whitening pen may not be the best product to buy. The cost of tooth whitening pen ranges from $15 – $40.

Whitening gel

Whitening gels mainly contain carbamide peroxide, calcium phosphate, and potassium nitrate. The amalgamation of all these ingredients makes whitening gel effective in improving the color of the teeth. Moreover, potassium and calcium help to reduce tooth sensitivity that is considered as a side effect of tooth whitening. (6)

Typically, there are two types of whitening gel –

  • Slow acting whitening gel – a dentist usually recommends these gels for tooth whitening at home. The whitening gel is applied on a custom fit tray and placed and placed in the mouth for at least 30 minutes.

Slow acting whitening gels contain 10% carbamide peroxide which breaks down on application and produces around 3.5% of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide acts as an active ingredient to lighten the color of the teeth. Slow acting whitening gels are an excellent choice for everyday use. The results are generally evident in a duration of two to four weeks when it comes to the usage of slow-acting whitening gels.

At-home whitening gel kit usually costs around $500 – $700.

  • Quick-acting whitening gel – quick-acting whitening gels contain high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. These gels are typically used for professional tooth whitening procedures. Quick-acting whitening gels contain around 25-40% of hydrogen peroxide. The results of professional tooth whitening gels are instant and require a single visit of one to two hours.

Professional tooth whitening procedures can cost from $500 – $1000 per session.

Whitening mouth rinse

Whitening mouth rinse is mouthwashes that effectively reduce the plaque and bacteria in the mouth and freshens the breath. Additionally, these mouth rinses contain hydrogen peroxide, which adds the benefit of tooth whitening.

Usually, whitening mouth rinse takes a long time to provide the desired results. This time may vary from six to twelve weeks. Unlike regular mouthwash, tooth whitening mouth rinse should be switched in the mouth for at least 60 seconds.

Usage of whitening mouth rinse two times a day increases the efficiency of tooth whitening.

Tooth whitening mouthwash is cost-effective and range from $5 – $30.

Whitening trays

Teeth whitening trays are one of the popular products used by the majority of the population. This product is categorized under custom bleaching procedure. A dental professional usually recommend whitening trays for at-home bleaching of the teeth. First, the dentist takes an impression of both the dental arches and sends it to the lab for fabrication of custom-fit trays. The whitening kit consists of a bleaching gel with a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide. (7)

The patient is asked to apply a uniform layer of bleaching gel on the tray and place it over the teeth for at least four hours a day. The gel is then wiped off from the tooth surface. Usually, it takes around two to four or six weeks to get the desired results. Whitening trays are an effective way of teeth whitening at home. The cost of whitening trays ranges from $150 – $600 per kit.

How safe are tooth whitening products?

Tooth whitening products are generally safe to use daily. However, you can always consult a dentist to get professional recommendations for a particular whitening product. Some over-the-counter bleaching gels that contain a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide may cause certain side-effects. Some of the common side-effects associated with whitening products are listed below –

  • Toot sensitivity – tooth sensitivity is one of the common symptoms that people complain about after the whitening procedure. Depending on the intensity of tooth sensitivity, you can stop the whitening system and consult a dentist. (8)

Desensitizing toothpaste can be used as an adjunct to reduce tooth sensitivity while you continue the whitening process. Moreover, you can look for whitening products with lesser concentration of hydrogen peroxide. These solutions are gentle to the tooth surface.

  • Gum and throat irritation – bleaching solutions usually act aggressively against soft oral tissues. Improper use of bleaching gel can lead to gum or throat irritation. In most cases, irritation of the soft tissue resolves on its own. However, if you feel persistent discomfort, it is better to stop the whitening treatment and consult a dentist immediately.

Overview of tooth whitening products

Tooth whitening is one of the top cosmetic dental treatments in demand. It is prevalent among adolescents and young adults. While professional tooth whitening may be the best means of getting a bright smile, there are several whitening products that you can choose from. Some of the whitening products that are popularly used include whitening toothpaste, gel, strips, and whitening trays.

It is essential always to have clarity about your dental needs. This can help you to select the best whitening product. Some essential criteria to keep in mind while selecting the best whitening product include the ease of application, time commitment, and strength of the bleaching gel. You can also consult your dentist to get professional recommendations for the best whitening product.


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