Are you in search of that gleaming Hollywood smile but not a fan of the dentist? There are so many good at home teeth whitening products now on the market meaning you can get your pearly whites polished from the comfort of your own home.
Yellowing teeth are a natural part of aging, but there are also many other factors which can affect the colour of your teeth. We all know that certain foods and drinks can discolour the teeth but did you know that genetics and medication such as chemotherapy can affect the colour of your teeth in the long term too?
From gels to mouthwash, strips to charcoal; we have tried and tested some of the various products on offer to bring you your guide to at home teeth whitening. Find out which might work best for you and your mouth!
Does mouthwash work to whiten teeth?
This is perhaps the least invasive form of at home whitening, and takes just a matter of seconds to use. If you have a busy schedule and are concerned about receding gums and sensitivity, mouthwash might be the best option for you.
CB12 whitening mouthwash, £15
This mouthwash from CB12 claims to maintain fresh breath for up to 12 hours. Also, if used twice a day, it can lift stains from your teeth making them appear whiter.
The mouthwash comes in a large bottle (250 ml) and using 10ml per wash, spend 30-60 seconds swirling the solution around your mouth before gargling and then rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water. It would have been helpful to have the 10ml measure clearly marked on the cap so the correct amount of mouthwash was used each wash.
The formula definitely leaves your mouth and breath feeling fresh, although it gives you a slight burning sensation on your tongue whilst in your mouth. Using it before bed, I was hoping it would leave me waking up the next morning with a fresh breath, but it didn’t really seem to affect it. It does seem to have a whitening affect however and it seemed to start to lift stains within a week of using it twice a day.
This product is perfect if you have sensitive or receding gums and want to avoid any harsh brushing. This product is also good if you would rather not spend an awfully long time whitening your teeth.
Available at Boots, 250ml, £15
Does charcoal work to whiten teeth?
The use of powdered charcoal to whiten teeth dates back to Roman times. The Romans discovered that black carbon has a whitening effect on teeth, and now, this form of teeth whitening has seen a resurgence in popularity recently, as both a toothpaste and anti-oxidant.
Janina Charcoal, £13
As well as freshening your mouth before the day ahead, this product claims to lift stains from things such as red wine, coffee, tea and coloured foods.
After seeing how black some charcoal cleaners can be and how messy they can get, this one was surprisingly easy to use. The charcoal is more-grey in colour than black and also not as fine in consistency, meaning you don’t have to be extra careful when using it to not get charcoal all over the bathroom.
The instructions state you should take a pinch of charcoal into your hand before dipping your damp toothbrush into the charcoal. I found that there was very little product on the brush when doing this so I opted to dipping it straight into the pot (maybe this isn’t the best idea in terms of hygiene if you are sharing, however it was just me using this. If you are sharing, perhaps just take a bigger pinch of the charcoal).
This left my teeth feeling extremely clean, and didn’t require much rinsing to get rid of the grey colour on my teeth. Although it didn’t leave my mouth feeling as fresh as it does when using toothpaste, it definitely has a minty scent to it. In terms of whitening, there weren’t any instant changes in colour but over a few weeks, the charcoal removed some stains.
Available at Boots, £13, 40g
Do whitening toothpastes work to whiten teeth?
Most toothpastes these days claim to whiten the shade of your teeth as well as offering many other oral health benefits such as being anti-bacterial and freshening breath. Whitening tooth paste is best if you would rather switch your toothpaste than add another step to your morning and evening routine.
RM Whitening toothpaste
The RM whitening toothpaste has been specifically designed to whiten and lift stains from teeth by celebrity dentist – Richard Marquez. This white paste has a very minty taste and using just a pea-sized amount, it is easy to exchange your regular toothpaste with this.
As the formula is based on natural teeth whitening, the whitening results unfortunately aren’t overly instant with this toothpaste. However, it does leave your teeth feeling very clean. After over two weeks of using this toothpaste twice a day, I didn’t feel the whitening effects were any different to many other whitening tooth pastes unfortunately.
Available from richardjmarques.com, £19
Do whitening strips work to whiten teeth?
Teeth whitening strips are a fairly simple way of whitening your teeth. Although they are a little more messy and fiddly than other products, they can have a faster whitening affect. They are also very compact and come in separate packets so are perfect if you are away on holiday.
Smilelab advance teeth whitening strips
The smilelab strips are ideal if you are going away on holiday and want to maintain a gleaming smile. It comes with a sleek pouch to pop your strips into and take away with you. Before using strips, you may think they would be quite tricky to keep on your teeth but they are surprisingly not! Each sachet is sealed and easily rips open. Then, there are two clear strips stuck onto a clear plastic sheet. One sheet is larger and is meant for the top teeth whilst the other is smaller and designed for the bottom teeth.
When pressing the strips onto the teeth, it takes a few seconds for the gel to stick to the teeth. Fold the remaining part of the strip over the ends of the teeth before doing the same to the bottom teeth. For the half an hour I left the strips on my teeth for, there was no stinging or burning sensation and they were fairly comfortable to wear. Feel free to do some jobs around the house, take a shower and get dressed or even have a short nap in this time. Removing the strips once the time is up can be quite messy and it is likely your mouth will have produced a lot of saliva so do this at the sink before throwing the strips in the bin. Go on to brush away the remaining gel from your teeth and rinse.
Although this isn’t the easiest method of whitening, the results were instant and my teeth appeared to be much whiter than they were before. I think this is a good method to use for a special occasion and give your teeth an instant boost of white.
Available at Boots, £38, 15 strips
Do whitening gels work to whiten teeth?
This is perhaps the most invasive and expensive form of teeth whitening. Using a mouth guard, activating solution, a syringe of gel and a UV light, these teeth whitening kits claim to be the most efficient form of teeth having the most noticeable effects. These aren’t good if you suffer with sensitive teeth but are good if you want to see more instant effects!
Polished teeth whitening kit
The Polished teeth whitening kits come in an attractive box containing everything you need to begin the whitening process. After cleaning your teeth with your usual toothpaste, take the mouth guard and attach it to the LED light. Next, take the syringe of whitening gel, unscrew the top and using half a ml of gel in total, distribute this between both the upper and lower sections of the mouth guard, focussing on where your teeth will be. Once the gel is on the mouth guard, place it in your mouth ensuring your teeth are covered with the gel. Press the button on the light and the device will light up and start to vibrate. According to Polished, the vibrations help to remove both surface and deep stains from the teeth. After 10 minutes, the light will turn off and vibrations will stop.
My teeth were noticeably slightly whiter after using this kit and overall, I was impressed. It was fairly simple to use and didn’t cause my teeth and gums any pain or discomfort. The only problem was that the LED device is quite large meaning I had to hold it in my mouth to stop it falling out which limited what I could do whilst my teeth were whitening. After using this product for a week, my teeth looked noticeably whiter and I was very happy with the results.
Available at Polishedwhitening.com, £54.99
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