Three best teeth whitening strips

Jennifer Manfrin

Using teeth whitening strips is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the look of your teeth at home.

Nothing says that you are friendly and confident like your smile. But if your teeth aren't so pearly or white, you may be hesitant to flash a welcoming grin. Teeth whitening strips are easy to use and cost a fraction of what you'd pay to have your smile whitened professionally. The other good news? These convenient little strips can produce noticeable results that will have you smiling from ear to ear.

Here is some information that will help you find the best teeth whitening strips for you. In addition, we'll touch upon a few of our favorite products that we can't stop smiling about.

Considerations when choosing teeth whitening strips

Causes of tooth discoloration

There are several reasons why teeth may lose their white appearance. Smoking is a key cause of yellowing of the tooth enamel. Drinking dark beverages such as coffee, red wine, tea, and even some dark juices can leave stains. Even foods like beets and berries can leave their mark over time. Teeth also have a tendency to develop a darker appearance as people age, likely from years of exposure to various foods and beverages.

How teeth whitening strips work

The main ingredient in the majority of teeth whitening strips that can be credited with producing whiter, brighter smiles is peroxide. This whitening agent comes in the forms of hydrogen and carbamide peroxides; both work similarly to lighten or remove stains that are on the surface of teeth or embedded in the enamel.

Whitening agents are mixed with gel to help the flexible polyethylene strips adhere to the teeth. Within each box of strips, you will find individual pouches that contain two strips: one for the top teeth and one for the bottom teeth.

Once you put teeth whitening strips in place, the timing begins. This varies from as little as five minutes to as much as an hour depending on the brand, type of strips, and desired results. Although tooth sensitivity is a side effect some users experience, the results are worth the minimal discomfort for most.

Features to consider

Not all whitening strips are alike, and the type you choose will depend on your goals, degree of discoloration, and budget.

Strength: Whether you want to touch up a dull smile or remove set-in stains, whitening strips come in different strength levels to fit your needs. You'll find everything from basic to advanced-level whitening.

Quantity: Whitening strips come in boxes of various quantities. If you choose a box with 20 treatments, it will actually contain 40 strips because each pouch has two strips, one for the top teeth and one for the bottom teeth. The number of treatments you need depends on how badly your teeth are discolored.

Alternative options: Strips that use activated charcoal to whiten teeth instead of peroxide are also available, and these are less likely to produce teeth sensitivity. The downside is that they aren't as effective at minimizing tough stains.

Price: The cost per box of whitening strips varies depending on brand and the number of treatments in the box. Generally speaking, you can expect to spend $12 to $15 for around 14 treatments from a lesser-known brand. You can expect to spend $35 to $45 for a box of 10 to 20 strips from a popular brand and/or a professional-level treatment.


Q. How likely am I to develop tooth sensitivity, and what can I do about it if it occurs?

A. Whiter teeth is an exciting result, but some tooth sensitivity is likely when you use whitening strips. If sensitivity occurs, it's a good idea to wait a few days before doing your next treatment, as the sensitivity usually clears up quickly

Q. Do teeth whitening strips have a bad taste?

A. Most whitening strips have little or no flavor, though some manufacturers add a bit of saccharin to produce a light flavor that is slightly sweet but not unpleasant.

Teeth whitening strips we recommend

Best of the best: Crest 3D White Professional Effects 

Our take: These well-fitting strips produce professional-level results for most consumers.

What we like: Easy to use. Known to reduce or remove tough stains. Nice fit with good tooth cover.

What we dislike: Tooth sensitivity is very likely, especially with initial applications.

Best bang for your buck: Sparkling White Professional Strength 

Our take: Affordable strips that fit most users' budgets and basic whitening needs.

What we like: It's inexpensive, yet you get numerous applications. Easy to apply.

What we dislike: Whitening gel tends to ooze off of the strips. Results may not last as long as those provided by pricier options.  

Choice 3: Lumist Advanced 

Our take: These fast-acting strips may cost a bit more, but most consumers can expect results that last.

What we like: Works effectively and quickly. Fairly gentle for users with sensitive teeth.

What we dislike: Strips are on the short side and don't cover teeth very well. Pricey.

Jennifer Manfrin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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