Your smile is one of the first things people notice, so it’s natural to want dazzling pearly whites. If your teeth aren’t shining as bright as they used to, it’s totally normal, but whitening strips could help you feel confident flashing your gorgeous grin again.
Two decades ago, these strips brought teeth whitening to the masses. Affordable and easy to use, they are less intimidating than complex kits and don’t require you to pay in-office prices. But there are a whole lot to choose from, and some offer a better experience than others.
We dove deep into the world of teeth whitening strips to figure out which products are worth your time and money, combing through reviews, getting feedback from real customers, and speaking to the companies themselves. The result? Five teeth whitening strips that represent the best of the best.
Table of Contents
How Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?
Teeth whitening strips are an all-in-one method for brightening your smile. While each one is slightly different, they should always have three essential components:
- The strip itself
- An adhesive
- The whitening gel
The strip holds everything together and serves as the applicator. You press the sticky side against your teeth, keeping the strip off the gums as much as possible, and mold it to the shape of your teeth. The adhesive holds it there for the duration of your whitening session, while the gel opens the pores of the enamel and breaks up the stains within.
All whitening strips work in this way, but each one has unique features that help it stand out, from all-natural ingredients to strips that dissolve, leaving no waste behind. The best option for you depends on your preferences and the features you need.
Best Teeth Whitening Strips
#1: BURST Teeth Whitening Strips With Coconut Oil
BURST’s goal is to make simple, high-quality oral care products that meet the real needs of real people. At the core of their business model are BURST Ambassadors — dental professionals located all across the U.S. These ambassadors inform BURST about products their patients are actively seeking, and when there is widespread demand, BURST turns proposals into products.
So, what authentic needs is BURST addressing with their Whitening Strips With Coconut Oil? First, they deliver whitening power without the usual sensitivity. Second, they respect your budget — their subscribe and save feature brings your total down to as little as $1 per whitening session. And each session only requires 10-15 minutes of wear each day.
- You can brighten your smile in as few as 10 minutes per day. Some competitors take half an hour or more.
- They are the most affordable whitening strips available when you order through their website.
- They strike a good balance between traditional whitening agents and natural ones.
- The adhesive doesn’t always work as well as it should.
- While the gel doesn’t cause tooth sensitivity, it can burn the gums.
#2: Lumineux Oral Essentials Teeth Whitening Strips
According to Lumineux, “You shouldn’t have to choose between a product that is good for you and a product that actually works.” While most “natural” teeth whitening products actually mix natural and non-natural ingredients, Lumineux skips the peroxide and opts for essential oils instead.
While you might think this would yield poor results, the truth is that Lumineux strips come quite close to the whitening power of other formulas. They are also designed to help restore balance to your mouth’s microbiome and increase enamel strength. And unlike other strips that are too harsh to use more than a few times a year, you can use Lumineux strips every day if you’d like.
Lumineux Oral Essentials Teeth Whitening Strips Advantages
- They use oils to break up stains, not peroxide. This is much gentler on the teeth and gums.
- You can use them every day for as many consecutive days as you’d like. Most other strips can damage your enamel if you leave them on too long or use them too frequently.
- Ingredients do not cause tooth sensitivity.
Lumineux Oral Essentials Teeth Whitening Strips Disadvantages
- The bottom strip is small and doesn’t fit all customers.
- Whitening effects aren’t as fast and powerful as with traditional formulas.
#3: SNOW The Magic Strips
Few names in the teeth whitening industry are as big as SNOW right now. While their LED kit is what has brought them to fame, their whitening strips are also pretty notable. Their top feature? They dissolve while you’re wearing them.
Things can get messy when you remove most whitening strips. SNOW The Magic Strips eliminate this step. On top of this, each session lasts about 15 minutes, depending on how quickly your strip dissolves. Essentially, they are the strips for people who dislike the process but love having white teeth.
SNOW The Magic Strips Advantages
- Since they dissolve, they aren’t as messy as other strips.
- They can dissolve in as little as 15 minutes.
- The strips adhere to your teeth without slipping and sliding around.
SNOW The Magic Strips Disadvantages
- The adhesive is super sticky and can get caught on the fingers and lips.
- Some customers say that the flavor is a little too similar to perfume.
#4: Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive Teeth Whitening Kit
Crest is a giant in the dental care industry, and the company that took whitening strips mainstream in 2001. Since then, they have created a variety of different Whitestrips meant to address unique customer needs.
The Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive Teeth Whitening Kit is precisely what it sounds like — the power of Crest 3D Whitestrips but formulated to cause little to no sensitivity. Compared to regular 3D Whitestrips, these have less peroxide, use gentler inactive ingredients, and require 30 minutes less wear time.
As a bonus, compared to other whitening strips on this list, they’re typically the easiest to find. You can buy them at most pharmacies and big box stores, as well as multiple online retailers.
Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive Teeth Whitening Kit Advantages
- While some whitening strips can cause sensitivity and irritation, these are formulated to reduce whitening-related tooth sensitivity.
- Backed by decades of research by Crest, with a long track record of success.
- Easy to find both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive Teeth Whitening Kit Disadvantages
- Some customers say that the strips have an unpleasant taste.
- The powerful adhesive can make them difficult to remove.
#5: Spotlight Oral Care Whitening Strips
Spotlight Oral Care has always sought to fill gaps in oral health product lines. This goal started with a focus on sustainability, but they soon branched out into addressing commonly overlooked customer needs. One such concern: people want natural but effective products.
Other companies go one way or the other: all-natural or as traditional as it gets. Spotlight recognizes that the best approach is a blend between the two. They use natural, gentle supporting ingredients wherever possible, but bring in hydrogen peroxide for whitening. And, like all their products, their whitening strips are free of harmful ingredients, such as sulfates, BPA, and parabens.
Spotlight Oral Care Whitening Strips Advantages
- The strips utilize mostly natural ingredients but turn to traditional ones when needed for efficacy.
- The formula whitens and strengthens the enamel.
- Most customers find results last at least six months.
Spotlight Oral Care Whitening Strips Disadvantages
- Their packaging is a bit large, making it harder to store at home or on the road.
- They are among the most expensive whitening strips.
Which Should You Choose?
Choose BURST Whitening Strips With Coconut Oil if:
You want an affordable whitening strip that blends traditional whitening agents with natural ingredients, and you want it at an extremely affordable price.
Choose Lumineux Oral Essentials Whitening Strips if:
You want a gentle formulation that you can use for as many consecutive days as you want without damaging your enamel.
What About Professional Whitening Treatments?
Teeth whitening treatment is nothing new. People have been using DIY remedies to brighten smiles for thousands of years. However, teeth bleaching as we know it today was originally an in-office treatment. It wasn’t until 2001 when Crest launched their Whitestrips that at-home teeth bleaching hit the mainstream.
Both professional and at-home treatments will brighten your smile. However, there are some key differences between these options:
- Power: Professional whitening treatments are more powerful, allowing them to achieve a brighter white in less time.
- Price: Most in-office whitening treatments cost at least $600 per session, with some running upwards of $1,000. At-home kits are almost always under $200, with many coming in at $40 or less.
- Custom Approaches: A dentist can customize the strength, frequency, and results of your in-office treatment to suit your needs and goals. At-home kits are mass-produced and the same for each customer.
- Convenience: Professional whitening requires you to take a couple hours out of your day to spend in the dentist’s chair, but it’s over after one session. At-home whitening requires less time per session but takes longer for final results.
So, which is better? Neither is inherently superior. However, you might find that one better meets your needs than the other.
How to Evaluate Teeth Whitening Strips
What makes a whitening strip better than the others on the market? There are a lot of factors to consider, and which ones matter most will depend on your unique needs. We looked at five factors we felt mattered most to our audience: effectiveness, affordability, quality of ingredients, convenience, and comfort.
Effectiveness is an essential feature of any whitening product. While we didn’t try all of the whitening strips on our list, we dug deep into customer testimonials to make sure that these products deliver on their promises. Before you buy, always verify that the product you are considering gets results.
All of us are on a budget; some just might have a little more disposable income for teeth whitening than others. So, affordability is an important feature to consider. While whitening strips, in general, are pretty affordable, some are better for tight budgets than others.
Quality of Ingredients
Even when you know that a product can get the job done, how they whiten your teeth matters. Not everyone is comfortable with peroxide gels, and sometimes you just want to know what is on that strip you’re putting in your mouth. All teeth whitening strips should disclose their ingredients even if they don’t list specific percentages.
Whitening strips are generally pretty simple to use — peel, stick, and in most cases, remove. Still, you want to make sure things don’t get more complicated or inconvenient than you are comfortable with. Confirm that the steps involved will work well with your daily schedule before diving in.
While wearing whitening strips can feel a bit awkward, you don’t want them to be so uncomfortable that you can’t use them. Factors like taste, texture, and flexibility can all play a role in how comfortable you feel while wearing a given whitening strip.
When Is Using Teeth Whitening Strips Not a Good Choice?
Whitening your smile can do great things for your confidence and self-esteem, which can translate into success in other areas of life. But teeth whitening strips aren’t always a good idea. In general, you shouldn’t whiten your teeth on your own if you:
- Are allergic to the ingredients
- Have active tooth decay or gum disease
- Have any cracks in your teeth
- Have a fixed appliance in place
- Have cosmetic or restorative dentistry
- Have stains that cannot be addressed by whitening products
If any of the above apply to you, speak with your dentist before purchasing a whitening product.
Combining Teeth Whitening With Other Treatments
Sometimes, you just want to brighten your teeth. Other times, you are looking for a complete smile transformation. For the latter, you might be wondering if you can combine teeth whitening with other treatments.
Yes! However, this will depend on exactly what treatments you are considering. Not all cosmetic dentistry procedures are compatible with teeth whitening.
One treatment that pairs perfectly with teeth whitening is clear aligner therapy. In fact, they go together so well that many clear aligner services, like Byte, include teeth whitening in their treatment bundles. So, if you are looking for a whiter and straighter smile, this could be the perfect combo.
Teeth whitening strips can brighten your smile by several shades, all from the comfort of home. While there are numerous at-home options, we feel the products in this guide represent the best whitening strips on the market today. All six are excellent products that have delivered excellent results for a multitude of customers. Choose any of them and you’ll be smiling bright in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to use whitening strips?
Yes! They have been brightening smiles for more than two decades and have proven safe in numerous clinical trials. While we urge you to stick to products sold in reputable stores or online marketplaces, there is no reason to worry unless you don’t follow the directions on the packaging.
Can I use whitening toothpaste while also using whitening strips?
You should ask your dentist. While it is unlikely that using a whitening toothpaste while also using whitening strips would harm your teeth, it might be better to switch to a toothpaste that helps with sensitivity — a common side effect of bleaching.
How do the active ingredients in teeth whitening strips work?
This varies based on the strip’s active ingredient. For most, it will either be hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These work by opening up the pores in the enamel and breaking up the stains within, allowing them to be lifted out.
Should I get my teeth professionally cleaned before whitening them?
It’s not required, but it’s a great idea. Tartar can prevent the whitening gel from reaching your teeth, and if you then get it removed after whitening, you’ll have uneven coloring.
How long will my teeth stay white?
This varies between individuals and products. Some strips deliver results that last over two years. Others need maintenance treatments every six months. Your habits can either sustain or diminish your results as well.
What can I do to extend the lifespan of my whitening results?
We suggest you take the following steps:
- Drink staining beverages through a straw
- Eat fewer heavily pigmented foods
- Rinse with water after eating
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day
- Use a whitening toothpaste
- Don’t smoke
Is sensitivity from teeth whitening permanent?
No. For most people, this goes away a couple of days after finishing treatment, unless your teeth were already sensitive before starting treatment.
Can I whiten my teeth while I straighten them?
This depends on the appliance you are using. If you have braces, you shouldn’t — unless they are lingual braces, which are situated behind your teeth. If you have clear aligners, yes, you can whiten your teeth.
If I see white spots on my teeth, does this mean my white strips damaged them?
No. White spots on the teeth are common with whitening strip treatment. This is because the peroxide dries out the enamel. Once you finish whitening your teeth, the enamel will rehydrate and the white spots will go away.
If my mouth foams while wearing whitening strips, does this indicate that something is wrong?
Not if your product has peroxide. it naturally foams when it comes into contact with saliva.