12 Dentist-Approved Ways To Get Brighter, Whiter Teeth

collage of teeth whitening products

Giovanna Chung/KCM

Your next step to pearly whites is here.

Walking into the dentist doesn’t exactly give us a warm and fuzzy feeling. More often than not, you probably feel nervous you’ll be told you aren’t flossing enough. Again.

Granted, oral health is extremely important for your overall health, and even if you do keep up with a daily flossing and brushing routine, you can still struggle to remove yellow stains from your teeth. Going to the dentist and having a professional bleaching treatment is one way to make your whites nice and pearly, but there are at-home treatments you can do to whiten your teeth, too. 

Ensuring your teeth stay white requires some work outside of the bathroom. According to Suhail Mohiuddin, DDS, dentist and founder of Dentologie, drinking your coffee, tea, and red wine in less than 30 minutes can help prevent staining. Always remember to rinse with water after drinking these beverages, too. He also reminds us to floss daily, as staining can occur between your teeth, not just on the front. 

Investing in high-quality teeth-cleaning tools is also important. The type of toothbrush you use can impact surface stains, and even the toothpaste and mouthwash you use can change the appearance of your teeth. If you’re at a loss as to where to start with your whitening journey, here are some options you can try at home.

12 Best Teeth Whitening Products

Crest 3D White Strips


Sure, veneer-level teeth whiteness is what we all strive for, but covering every single tooth with a tiny white plate isn’t attainable for everyone (or necessary). Using white strips regularly can help remove stains from the surface of your teeth, leading to bright, pearly whites without an expensive dental procedure. These ones by Crest actually adhere to your teeth with the brand’s Advanced Seal Technology, allowing you to drink water and talk without lisping while wearing them. After wearing them for 30 minutes, you simply remove the strips to reveal a whiter smile.

Buy Here: $46

Oral-B iO Series 5 Electric Toothbrush


If you’re maniacally considering using  a high-power scrub brush to remove stains, please try an electric toothbrush first. This one has a pressure meter that will light up when you press too hard, helping you learn how to properly brush your teeth. It also has a built-in two minute timer to ensure you brush long enough, and you can connect the toothbrush to an app for guided toothbrushing that ensures you clean every single tooth, so even your molars will be left sparkling clean.

Buy Here: $120

Snow At-Home Whitening Kit


Bleach trays from your dentist are one of the best ways to ensure you get a personalized whitening experience, but this at-home kit may be the next best thing. Snow made a dentist-formulated whitening serum that you apply to each tooth after brushing, then you crank up the power by putting a LED mouthpiece to help speed up the process. After 10 to 30 minutes (based on your comfort level), take the mouthpiece out and rinse to reveal whiter teeth.  

Buy Here: $150

Crest 3D White Strips with Light


Similar to the Snow kit, this Crest White Strips kit comes with an LED light to help boost the strips’ whitening power. The light helps the bleach penetrate your tooth’s surface to lighten stains, which can lead to longer lasting results. So instead of just removing stuff on the surface, these can actually work deeper into your tooth to remove dark, interior staining. 

Buy Here: $62

Moon Dissolving Whitening Strips


If the idea of peeling off spit-covered strips from your teeth gives you the creeps, there are strips that will dissolve instead. These ones from Moon will totally disappear after fifteen minutes, and you’ll see dramatic results within a few weeks of consistent use. They have a slight minty flavor, too, so they add that “just brushed” feeling after use.

Buy Here: $35

Auraglow Teeth Whitening Pen


Whitening your teeth can be as easy as painting your nails — although we’d argue this is less time consuming than perfecting a french manicure. This pen contains a whitening serum that you paint on your individual teeth (there’s a brush on one end of the pen), leave it on for a minute, and enjoy the results. 

Buy Here: $26

Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen


Beloved toothpaste brand Colgate makes whitening pens that are easy to slip in your bag for on-the-go whitening, too. After brushing your teeth at night, dry your teeth and apply this serum. Keep your mouth open for 10-15 seconds before closing it so the serum can dry a bit. Then, go to sleep, let the whitener do its thing, and brush it off in the morning.

Buy Here: $20

SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit


Sensitive teeth and gums can make using any kind of bleaching agent painful and difficult. Formulated specifically for those with sensitive mouths, this whitening kit from SmileDirectClub is gentle enough to keep you from wanting to rip out your bleach trays, but powerful enough to make a visible difference in the color of your teeth.

Buy Here: $67

Hello Naturally Whitening Vegan Toothpaste


If you prefer using vegan products, ensuring that your toothpaste doesn’t contain animal-derived glycerin or bee-derived propolis is important. This formula is entirely vegan, free of dyes, parabens, and gluten, and uses light abrasion instead of hydrogen peroxide to lift and remove staining. 

Buy Here: $6

Sensodyne Extra Whitening Sensitive Toothpaste


Those of us with sensitive gums and teeth know that using any kind of toothbrush, even super soft ones, can lead to bleeding or pain if done too roughly. Changing the kind of toothpaste you use can actually help ease pain associated with brushing, and it can also help whiten your teeth. Sensodyne is recommended if you experience sensitivity while brushing, or when drinking both hot or cold liquids as it can create a barrier between your teeth helping reduce pain, all while also whitening. 

Buy Here: $18

Public Goods Silk Dental Floss

Public Goods

Flossing is an important part of keeping your teeth white, even if the floss itself doesn’t contain any whitening agents. But, if you want to help remove and prevent staining between your teeth, Dr. Mohiuddin says you can actually soak your floss in a mixture of one teaspoon hydrogen peroxide and one cup water for 30 seconds. The peroxide will help bleach stains and prevent future discoloration. If you experience sensitivity between your teeth, you can coat floss in a sensitivity-decreasing toothpaste, like Sensodyne, and floss as you regularly would (this can also help prevent cavities).

Buy Here: $6

Crest 3D White Mouthwash


Consider mouthwash the cherry on top of your mouth cleaning routine. Because it is a liquid, mouthwash can help get in all the nooks and crannies you can’t reach with a brush or floss, and it can kill bad bacteria that causes bad breath. This mouthwash does all of that and helps lift stains from your teeth, giving you a brighter smile.

Buy Here: $25