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How to Choose a Teeth Whitening System | Colgate®

Many foods and beverages are known to stain your teeth. You may have noticed your smile isn't as bright as it used to be. If you're interested in trying a teeth whitening product or treatment, but you don't know where to start, read on. Learn about the differences between the different whitening products, why teeth whitening at the dentist's office is so effective, and how to choose the best product for you.

Professional Teeth Whitening

A professional treatment applied at the dentist's office typically achieves the fastest and most effective whitening results. In-office whitening treatments generally contain whitening agents in higher concentrations than over-the-counter products. In fact, many people notice visibly brighter teeth after just one visit. Others may need up to three visits to complete the treatment, however.

Most dental practices offer professional whitening services, including in-practice treatments and take-home products. You will need an examination to determine whether you are a candidate for teeth whitening. If you are eligible, you may need to complete other dental procedures first, such as treating any cavities or gum problems. Your mouth should be healthy before starting a whitening regimen. Professional teeth whitening can be completed at the dentist's office using gels and a special light to enhance the effect.

Custom At-Home Whitening Trays

Custom-made trays are filled with a whitening gel provided by your dental professional and worn at home. Different products will require wearing the tray at different times of the day and for various lengths of time. Your dental professional will instruct you on how to use the product to get the best results. Once you have completed your at-home whitening regimen, your dental professional should examine you to evaluate the whitening treatment's success.

Whitening your teeth at home is more convenient. You need to follow the instructions carefully to get the best result and use the product safely. All whitening products may cause tooth sensitivity and irritate your gum tissue with prolonged contact.

Professional in-practice teeth whitening procedures are the fastest and most effective way to whiten your teeth. Your dental professional can closely monitor the progress of your whitening procedure while protecting your teeth and gums. However, treatments can be expensive, and your dental insurance may not cover these treatments. Thankfully, tooth whitening products in shops can remove many surface stains and give you a noticeably brighter smile. Ask your dental professional to recommend specific over-the-counter tooth whitening products that are safe to use, as some products may be too abrasive to use regularly.

What Products Should I Use to Whiten My Teeth?

You don't necessarily have to change your habits to whiten your teeth. There are a few products out there that you can add to your daily routine or toss in your bag for on-the-go whitening. At-home whitening products include:

  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Whitening mouthwash
  • Whitening pens
  • Whitening strips
Whitening pens

A portable treatment, whitening pens are quick and easy to use. Whitening pens are thin brushes filled with a bleaching gel. To whiten your teeth, you simply apply a thin layer of gel to your teeth according to the manufacturing instructions, much like applying nail polish. To ensure even whitening, apply the gel to the entire front surface of each tooth.

Whitening pens are perfect for use before a special event. Whitening pens may produce a noticeable difference in tooth shade by lightening the outer layer of tooth enamel. However, the gel does not penetrate into the tooth's deeper layers, limiting the overall result.

Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash

If you want to remove stains from your teeth gradually, whitening toothpaste and mouthwash are simple options. Several kinds of toothpaste can brighten your smile, including toothpaste with small amounts of peroxide, which penetrates the tooth for whitening, and baking soda, which helps remove surface stains. Whitening toothpaste is used just like other types of toothpaste. Simply brush twice a day; over time, your teeth will brighten.

Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash work gradually by lifting stains from your enamel as you brush and rinse. They help remove discolouration from stain-causing foods and drinks, such as coffee and red wine. However, whitening toothpaste doesn't brighten teeth as much as professional whitening trays or gels.

Whitening toothpaste is also a good choice for maintaining your tooth shade after professional whitening and ensuring that teeth remain white over longer periods, especially if you continue to consume tooth-staining foods and beverages.

Whitening strips

Whitening strips are available over-the-counter in most shops and are available in different strengths. These products consist of thin strips of plastic coated with whitening gel on one side, which is applied to the front surface of your teeth. Most people use two strips that can be worn at the same time: one on the top teeth and one on the bottom teeth.

Whitening strips are very convenient and popular, but it is essential to follow the instructions for application and wear time carefully to get the best result. Care should be taken not to apply the strip over the gumline, as the gel can irritate the tissue. Whitening strips aren't as portable or as simple to use as pens or toothpaste.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Teeth Whitening Products

It is essential to talk to your dental professional before using any teeth whitening system. Teeth whitening isn't appropriate for everyone and is not recommended for children.

Chemical whitening can irritate sensitive teeth and gums, especially if you are experiencing gum problems. If your teeth are stained brown or grey, they may not whiten evenly when they're bleached. Fillings and crowns cannot be whitened and may appear darker if the adjacent teeth are whitened. If you plan to replace older fillings or crowns, whiten your teeth first so that your dentist can match your new dental work to the lighter shade.

There are several options to whiten your teeth, but your dentist can help you make the right choice for your situation, including by exploring alternatives like veneers to brighten your smile.


The above information is provided for informational purposes only. Colgate does not accept any liability should the above recommendations have an outcome contrary to the intended result. Always seek the advice of a qualified doctor or dental professional. Do not disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

Not all Colgate products contain hydrogen peroxide. Optic White Expert is the only product in our toothpaste range that contains hydrogen peroxide.

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