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Teeth Whitening Review: 4 Types Tested, Which is Best For You?

Teeth Whitening feature image with Text

Teeth whitening has become spectacularly popular in recent years among celebrities and people alike.

With so many treatments available to us, I asked myself “does teeth whitening actually work?

The short answer is yes!

But your decision on which type will ultimately decide how good the result will be.

My curious investigation starts with some facts and dives deeper to answer some of the most common questions regarding teeth whitening.

In this post, I conduct a teeth whitening review of 4 ways to whiten your teeth.

Key Points

  • I test 4 teeth whitening treatments.
  • Your budget will determine which one you choose.
  • If finances are tight, teeth whitening strips are a good place to start!
  • For outstanding results, visit your trusted dentist for best results.

What are Your Whitening Options?

There are four primary teeth whitening product types/treatments available in Australia.

They all have different price points, so you’ll be able to find one that will suit your budget and style!

  1. Whitening Toothpaste
  2. Teeth Whitening Strips
  3. Teeth Whitening Kits
  4. In ‘practice’ or “In Office Whitening by a Dentist

Each of these teeth whitening options has pros and cons.

To help you make a decision, I’ve given each of them a rating out of 10 which takes into account, such things as; cost, effectiveness to whiten, quality and value.

But First… Why do You Want to Whiten Your Teeth?

The ‘Why’ is a great place to start.

For me, it was research and curiosity. I wanted to understand the process, how it felt and if it worked.

There are many reasons why you would choose to whiten your teeth. Some that come to mind are:

  • Not Happy with the colour of your teeth.
  • Remove staining from lifestyle activities
  • Reduce ageing effects.
  • Improve your self-confidence.
  • Simply want a cleaner and brighter smile.

So think about your reason.

What is it?

Research can then be done to find out what type of teeth whitening treatment best suits your needs and wants.

The difference teeth whitening makes

Whiten those Stains!

(A little bit of info)

Stains on your teeth fall into two groups; 1. Intrinsic stains and 2. Extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains occur at a much deeper level.

Stains or discolouration can happen at a young, developmental age.

Being overexposed to fluoride, taking certain antibiotic medicines or tooth trauma can cause.

A more intensive and thorough whitening process is required, to remove these stains.

Professional consultation by a dentist is a must if the above applies to you.

Extrinsic Stains

These stains occur on the surface of the tooth and affect the enamel of your teeth.

Lifestyle choices like drinking coffee or red wine and smoking increase the likelihood of these stains.

You’ll find that most people choose to whiten their teeth because of these reasons.

Lack of dental hygiene like routine brushing can also play a part in having extrinsic stains.

A lady brushing her teeth

Whitening Toothpaste

Did you know that toothpaste was first commercially created by Colgate in 1873? I didn’t!

Many developments and improvements have been made in the years since. But at its core, it’s still beneficial for improving ones dental health (even if it has whitening attributes).

There’s plenty of choice in today’s whitening toothpaste market.

One only has to stroll down a supermarket aisle to see the variety of products available.

The most common types of whitening toothpaste are:

How do These Toothpaste Products Whiten Your Teeth?

Generally speaking, they add abrasives to help your teeth shine after brushing.

I’ve discovered that these micro abrasives can remove discolouration through a process called ‘polishing’.

But be careful, If misused, enamel erosion could occur over time.

Only some of these toothpaste products do a reasonable job of whitening your teeth.

Whitening toothpaste rarely contains hydrogen peroxide (or HP for short), the active ingredient that whitens your teeth.

Personal Test

I’ve recently been using Oral B Pro-health for three weeks.

It’s been a ‘sweet’ tasting toothpaste and has seemed to do the job in keeping my teeth clean while I brush.

Has it whitened my teeth? No, not really.

However, recently I’ve reviewed and tested both the  Oral B 3D Luxe White Glamorous White Toothpaste and the Colgate Optic White Stain-Less White Toothpaste.

I was generally impressed with the results I got over the review period I tested them on and felt it was pretty good value for money way to enhance the brightness level of your teeth.

There are some limitations with Whitening Toothpaste but these two brands were pretty good in my mind. Looking forward to testing more whitening toothpaste options!

What do the Professionals say?

You will find that most professional dentists will state that whitening toothpaste really can’t whiten your teeth enough to make a lasting impression. And they would be correct.

It didn’t take long for the whiteness to fade when I used the Oral B 3D Luxe and the Colgate Optic Stain-less White.

Dr Mark Burhenne from Ask the dentist states “The best whitening toothpaste is actually a toothbrush”. 

His professional view is that “You can’t whiten your teeth with a toothpaste. Toothpaste can’t penetrate the tooth for what we call intrinsic whitening, which is a change in the colour of the tooth.”

The very best we can expect from a toothpaste is extrinsic whitening.

Dr Mark Burhenne


A woman looking at her toothbrush: Teeth Whitening review

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste Review: Final Thoughts

If you are on a tight budget and want to do two things; 1. whiten your teeth potentially and 2. have a nice polished clean, then whitening toothpaste is a definite option for you.

Brushing your teeth regularly with standard toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, I have a feeling would probably have the same effect as a whitening toothpaste.

Saying that though, the new formula from both Oral B and Colgate was much improved. I could see a difference in the colour of my teeth.

I feel there are whitening treatments on offer that do a much better job than toothpaste, so I would keep looking and reading below.

Pros

  • Very affordable in the scale of whitening products
  • Easy to use – fits in with your morning and evening brushing routines

Cons

  • Additional cost probably not worth it
  • Whitening effectiveness is very limited
  • Extra abrasiveness could damage your teeth
  • Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly could do the same job

RATING…

Dental Aware star rating of 3/10


A lady using teeth whitening strips

Teeth Whitening Strips

If you would like something effective but also affordable then teeth whitening strips may well be your answer.

A lot of people swear by these, even my fiancé!

You will find teeth whitening strips easy to apply and most products have a small percentage amount of hydrogen peroxide in them.

Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient that bleaches your teeth.

There are a few leaders in this Australia marketplace that deserve a mentioned:

  • Crest Whitening Strips
  • Oral B 3D Whitening Strips
  • Cleverwhite Dissolving Whitening Strip

Whitening Strips: What’s the Process?

The strips are placed on both your upper and lower teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth beforehand.

Following the instructions, you apply the strips for usually 15 to 30 minutes and then remove.

Personal Test

Both my partner and I have tried the top two products.

They do an excellent job of whitening your teeth for the money. We were surprised how fast the results were!

Sensitivity can be a problem with this type of whitening treatment.

It can vary among people, as all whitening products can. I only experienced some slight tingling but no pain or sensitivity.

What do the Professionals say?

Following the instructions for each treatment is essential. Failure to do so could potentially damage your enamel and dentin.

recent study indicates one should “avoid the excessive direct use of whitening strips on dentin.

Whitening Strips Review: Final Thoughts

Teeth whitening strips are an easy and efficient way to whiten your teeth for short-term use.

Sensitivity could be an issue for some people so make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions at all times.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Results can be immediate

Cons

  • Hydrogen Peroxide can cause sensitivity issues
  • Strips don’t cover all parts of your teeth

RATING…

Dental Aware star rating of 6/10


A photo of a teeth whitening mouth tray and product

Teeth Whitening kits

Teeth whitening kits are a trendy product. Easy to use in the comfort of your own home.

You would have seen many celebrities using them; a selfie and that blue LED light.

Compared to whitening treatments by a dentist, whitening kits have a reduced amount of Hydrogen peroxide.

If a dental practitioner does not conduct them, they are limited to 6% hydrogen peroxide.

Companies will preach that their gel formula is dentist strength, but this is not true.

So much Choice!

You will be blown away by the choice you have!

This market has exploded over the past two years, and new brands are coming onto the market all the time.

Some of the most common brands in Australia are:

Most brands use similar amounts of either hydrogen peroxide or carbide peroxide.

Hi Smile uses a formula that includes Sodium Bicarbonate and Sodium Chlorite which is an alternative ingredient to your standard bleaching hydrogen peroxide.

Teeth Whitening Kit Review

My fiancé Loretta was able to test one brand called Hi Smile, a hugely popular whitening treatment kit which has been endorsed by celebrities like Kylie Jenner.

While it was easy to use, Loretta did mention the following:

  1. The product seemed to have lots of bells and whistle, not sure the blue light did anything?
  2. Wasn’t great value for money
  3. The results weren’t that good compared to teeth whitening strips

Don’t take Loretta’s word for it, check out this honest review on youtube of Hi Smile’s whitening kit.

What do the Professionals Say?

Body and Soul had a great article about DIY teeth whitening. Dr Pino a dentist on the Gold Coast of Australia mentioned some excellent points:

  • The most important thing is that you always buy a product that has been approved by the ACCC.
  • Follow the directions.
  • Never use too much gel, or leave it on for too long.

Another tip Dr Dino mentioned was to “Ensure that you never swallow the formula, and don’t overload the whitening tray. If the formula oozes out, wipe it off before it oozes onto your gums and potentially burns them.”

Whitening Kit Review: Final Thoughts

There is a lot of buzz spreading around about these teeth whitening kits, and some are better than others.

But it seems that for the price and results, whitening strips over whitening kits would be my recommendation.

As with all of these products, following the manufacturer’s instructions is a must.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide can be of a higher % than teeth whitening strips and toothpaste.
  • Use it in the comfort of your own home.

Cons

  • Some kits can be pretty expensive, so value for money is questionable.
  • Results can vary considerably.
  • Limited to only 6% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide can cause sensitivity issue.

RATING…

Dental star rating of 5/10


A patient and her dentist about to whiten her teeth

 ‘In Office’ Teeth Whitening by a Dentist

A professional whitening treatment by your dentist is, in my opinion, the way to go.

Yes, it is the most expensive type of teeth whitening application available, but you do get what you pay for!

Not only will you get a better whitening outcome but your dentist can diagnose the reason for the discolouration and its type.

Professional Teeth Whitening: What’s the Process?

The standard whitening treatment usually starts off with a consultation with your dentist.

They will check your teeth and make sure you are a good candidate for teeth whitening.

Please remember, not everyone can receive professional whitening treatment.

A dentist showing his patient the different shades of white

Once you have spoken with your dentist, they will take an impression of your teeth.

This is so they can design a custom teeth tray for you (like a mouthguard, which is for your post treatments).

Once some prep has been completed, they’ll place guards inside your mouth which will protect your gums.

Hydrogen peroxide is usually the active ingredient in whitening treatments by a dentist.

Ranges of HP can go as high as 25%. Due to this higher percentage of HP, sensitivity can be a problem for some people.

From there your dentist will apply the whitening product to your teeth.

My treatment was split up into 4 x 15-minute sessions and the whitening process has a professional activation LED light.

I received a post-treatment kit that I needed to apply over three days.

Every dentist and their treatments are different, so it’s best to check with them directly.

Things to Consider with Professional Whitening

When opting for professional teeth whitening service, it is crucial you find an experienced and qualified dentist.

Word of mouth (excuse the pun) has it’s advantages here.

I would recommend asking your friends and family first, they should be able to put you in touch with a good dentist.

If that doesn’t work, you can always try google reviews.

The other thing to consider is the expectation; everyone will have different results.

‘In Office’ Whitening Review: Personal Test and Final Thoughts

I was very impressed with my results! The whole process changed my opinion of teeth whitening in general.

My dentist used a product called ‘Zoom’ whitening. It was a lengthy application and patience is required, but I’m glad I went through it. One happy chappy!

About sensitivity, it wasn’t a massive issue on the first treatment. But after my second visit, I sure did have those ‘zinger’ moments.

Zingers are a sharp shooting pain that comes from the nerve endings in your teeth. They don’t last long and disappear over time (sensitivity does vary from person to person).

Would I recommend this type of treatment?

Yes, most definitely.

Pros

  • Great results – The best you can get!
  • You get what you pay for.
  • Professional advice and treatment.

Cons

Cost if it –  it is expensive.
A long process – patience is needed.
Hydrogen Peroxide can cause pretty full-on sensitivity issues.

RATING…

Dental aware star rating of 8/10

Conclusion

Trying one whitening treatment over another will come down to two things; 1. Your budget and 2. What you feel is quality/value for money.

All these treatments represent value at some point, and it depends on your current mindset and also your wallet.

Whitening strips and whitening kits are very popular at the moment.

Due to how easy the treatment is and how affordable they are, this whitening solution will appeal to many.

For someone who likes quality and professional service and advice, you can’t go past a whitening treatment by a dentist.

A good dentist will provide knowledge and expertise which will help you make an informed whitening decision.

Remember not all dentists are created equal, and it is important to do your research online as well as speak to friends or family.

I was delighted with the outcome and would definitely recommend ‘Zoom’ whitening. I hope my journey has helped you answer any questions you had about teeth whitening.

Have you tried a whitening product that is great and would recommend?

Andrew Adams

By Andrew Adams

Created at November 30, 2017, Updated at December 09, 2020

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