14 Best Teeth Whitening Treatments, According to Dentists

A flood of teeth whitening products are on the market promising ingredients ranging from all-natural to high-tech, and it's hard to know which ones actually work. We spoke with top dentists to find out which teeth whitening products they actually use themselves.

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box of bright on™ Teeth Whitening 20-LED Accelerator Light
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Smile Direct Club bright on

The Smile Direct Club bright on Teeth Whitening 20-LED Accelerator Light Plus 1 Premium Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Pen is a favorite of Jeffrey Sulitzer, lead dentist at SmileDirectClub, thanks to the peroxide-inclusive formula. “Hydrogen peroxide is the whitening agent in teeth whitening products. It penetrates the enamel to reach the discolored molecules inside your tooth. Once hydrogen peroxide is applied to the tooth surface, it passes easily and quickly through tooth enamel.” Just make sure you stop making these 30 mistakes that are ruining your teeth.


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Listerine Healthy White Vibrant Multi-Action bottle of Fluoride Mouth Rinse, Foaming Anticavity Mouthwash
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Listerine Healthy Mouth White Mouthwash

“This is a good product to use because it contains hydrogen peroxide, which can help maintain a healthy white smile especially after a patient does an in-office whitening treatment,” explains Mahvish Ahmed, DDS, a holistic dentist at Smile Design Manhattan. It even helps prevent cavities too—and here’s what happens when you ignore a cavity.


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set of metal straws and two cleaning brushes
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We’re betting you didn’t expect straws to make our list of the best teeth whitening products, but several dentists we spoke to agreed they’re a major help in the battle against stains. ” “Repeated exposure to dark-colored beverages such as coffee, red wine, dark soda and even tea to the enamel surface of teeth, can cause quite a bit of discoloration,” explains Dr. Ahmed. When you sip through a straw, less of the liquid comes in contact with your teeth.


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box of Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips Whitening Strips
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Crest Teeth Whitening Strips

“Most over-the-counter teeth whitening products work about the same,” says dentist Joel Klasfeld, of Rockefeller Dental Group in New York City. “I always recommend Crest Teeth Whitening Strips for a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to brighten teeth up. They are safe and effective without causing the sensitivity patients can get from in-office procedures.” Dentists may have no qualms about using teeth whitening strips, but you’ll never see them put these 13 things in their mouth.


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Teeth Whitening Kit
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HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

Research has shown that baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, is an effective tooth whitener. This kit takes the idea one step further. It contains a teeth-whitening gel (containing sodium bicarbonate) that’s activated by an LED light device. “Sodium bicarbonate is a very common ingredient in whitening toothpaste, and it works as a mild abrasive to remove old stains on the surface,” says William E. Graves,  a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Amarillo Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Texas.


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box and tube of Burt's Bees Natural Toothpaste Fluoride Free Purely White
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Burt’s Bees Toothpaste Fluoride Free Purely White

For those who like a fluoride-free toothpaste but still want whitening effects, Burt’s Bees Toothpaste Fluoride Free Purely White may be the right option. It uses silica, which Dr. Graves explains is a mild abrasive, to polish away stains. Here are some other toothpastes dentists use.


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tube of Crest 3d White Whitening Therapy Charcoal Deep Clean Fluoride Toothpaste
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Crest 3d White Whitening Therapy Charcoal Deep Clean Fluoride Toothpaste

Everyone seems to be hopping on the charcoal bandwagon, even major brands like Crest, and that’s for good reason, according to Dr. Graves. “Charcoal works as a whitening agent because it’s abrasive and helps remove surface stains,” he explains. You can use it as an alternative ingredient to silica, but he cautions that “you need to be careful when using charcoal if you have porcelain crowns because the charcoal can be embedded into the small little grooves in the porcelain causing staining of the crown.” Find out the things dentists wish you would do differently.


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DPL Oral Gum Care Light Therapy Led System Kit - Professional - Healthy Bright Smile - Science At Home - Applicator
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reVive DPL Oral Gum Care Light Therapy Led System Kit

While most light-inclusive teeth whitening kits come standard with their own hydrogen peroxide gels, the reVive DPL Oral Gum Care Light Therapy Led System Kit lets you pick your own gel or whitening strip to enhance with the system’s non-UV blue light. Dr. Graves suggests trying carbamide peroxide-based whitening products as an alternative, because, “it is very similar to hydrogen peroxide, but it has a longer shelf life.”


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AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen package and pen
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AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen

Why wait till you get home to start whitening your teeth? Packing an AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen in your purse or travel bag is a smart move for coffee and tea drinkers. It contains 35 percent carbide peroxide to deliver a whitening punch on the go. Be sure to know these tips from dentists about teeth whitening.


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charcoal toothbrush isshah
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Primal Life Charcoal Ion Toothbrush

If you love the idea of dentist-suggested charcoal but aren’t necessarily excited about it in toothpaste form, we’re pretty sure the Isshah Charcoal Bamboo toothbrush will make you eager to whiten your chompers. This brush has activated charcoal bristles to remove stains from coffee, tea, tobacco, and even red wine—naturally. Stay away from these foods that dentists avoid to keep those teeth healthy. Here’s what you need to know about trying a charcoal toothbrush.


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3 bottles of Hello Oral Care Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Fluoride Free Mouthwash
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Hello Oral Care Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Fluoride Free Mouthwash

Yet another fun alternative to the traditional activated charcoal toothpaste is  Hello Oral Care Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Fluoride Free Mouthwash—a refreshing take on an almost-classic tooth whitening ingredient. The formula is alcohol-free, fluoride-free, and loaded with black activated charcoal and coconut oil to help whiten teeth and refresh your smile.


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Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening toothpaste
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Arm & Hammer Toothpaste

Everyone’s original teeth whitening best friend, baking soda, is still a good choice for polishing away stains. Arm & Hammer Toothpaste with baking soda can help gently clean away stains as well as neutralizing plaque acids to help protect your teeth. You can brighten your smile even more by using one of these top-rated electric toothbrushes that are dentist-approved.


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Mobile White Advanced Teeth Whitening Kit
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Mobile White by Dr. Dorfman

One of the best teeth whitening systems wasn’t just suggested by a dentist—it was created by one, and it’s used in conjunction with your smartphone, too. Users can access the Mobile White LED lite tray and whiten their teeth whenever, wherever. You can connect the blue LED light trays to your iPhone or Android phone to accelerate whitening. The kit also includes four syringes of whitening gel, a 3D shade guide, and storage case. This is the peroxide-based future we were promised.


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teeth whitening kit box and items
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Grace & Stella Pearl Teeth Whitening Kit

The Grace & Stella Pearl Teeth Whitening Kit boasts a high concentration of carbamide peroxide (44 percent to be exact) for safe and effective whitening. It also offers a nifty remineralization gel to reduce sensitivity and strengthen enamel by replenishing important minerals. The budget-friendly kit includes three gel syringes, two mouth trays, and one LED light. Once you have your megawatt smile, memorize the foods that whiten—and stain—your teeth.


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  • Jeffrey Sulitzer, lead dentist, SmileDirectClub.
  • Mahvish Ahmed, holistic dentist, Smile Design Manhattan, New York City.
  • Joel Klasfeld, dentist at Rockefeller Dental Group, New York City.
  • William E. Graves, board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Amarillo Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Texas.

Bryce Gruber
Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.