Q&A: Teeth Whiteners That Work

By Erin Donnelly

Q: Can you give me a few suggestions for in-home teeth whitening products compared to dentist treatments?
A: Absolutely. While many dentists and spas offer teeth whitening services, the cost can sometimes be prohibitive. Fortunately, there are some effective at-home teeth whitening kits and polishes that deliver fantastic results at a much more affordable price. (Bonus: not having to wear those scary protective glasses.) Plus, a set of bright, healthy-looking chompers are a simple style makeover than anyone can acheive.
My absolute favorite of the bunch is Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips, which promise whiter teeth in just two weeks’ time. Resembling a sort of clear band-aid, the Quick Dissolving Strips feature an adhesive coating that sticks to your teeth; affix one to each row of teeth. The beauty of the Listerine strips is that, unlike whitening powders and gels that tend to form a gnarly crust on your not-so-pearly whites, they are barely noticeable and any residue is kept to a minimum. You can also speak normally while wearing the strips (in my experience, other kits tended to make conversation next to impossible) and they don’t dissolve right away should you sip some water. I slap some on before bedtime (and post brushing my teeth) and have noticed a remarkable improvement.
Crest Whitestrips also use the adhesive strip process to whiten teeth effectively, with results promised in as little as one week. As with Listerine, one box contains enough strips for two weeks.
But if coating your chompers in gummy adhesives isn’t your thing, try GoSMILE’s B1 Tooth Whitener, which is ideal for people on the go. Each kit comes with 20 mini ampoules designed to remove stains and restore whiteness; just break the plastic, apply the ampoule directly to each tooth, and use the soft brush tip to blend it into the surface. At $89, the twice-a-day treatment is a tad pricey, but a cheaper option can be found in its 5-ampoule Touch Up mini smile refreshers, which come in tempting mint, pear and peach flavors.
Once you’ve got your teeth back to their ivory potential, you’ll want to keep them that way. Avoid stains by steering clear of dark sodas, coffee, tea, red wine and cigarettes. Use straws to sip stain-threatening beverages, brush after meals and coffee breaks, floss religiously, and switch to a whitening toothpaste to ensure a healthy-looking smile.
Have a question? Email Erin here.