teethwhitening, teeth, tooth
October 4, 2009 11:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an effective and relatively inexpensive way to whiten my teeth. Every time I shop for a product, I leave emptyhanded, confused about all the choices.

I drink a lot of tea, coffee and soda, and so my teeth are badly in need of whitening. I'm not fond of dentists and my budget is fairly tight, so I'm hoping for something effective I can use at home. Strips, trays, brush on gels, it's all so confusing!

What have you used to whiten your teeth that was 1) effective, 2) inexpensive, and 3) (bonus) didn't make your teeth terribly sensitive?

Thanks, MeFi!!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I don't believe any of the fancy products actually work any better than baking soda and hydrogen peroxide... two of the cheapest substances in the whole grocery store.
posted by rokusan at 11:28 AM on October 4, 2009

I've had great success with Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening Gel. It comes in a three ounce tube that is less than US$7.00 and will last for months even if you use it every day. If you have some trays leftover from another product just load them with the gel. Otherwise, apply directly to your teeth. Even though the product indicates 5 minutes per usage, I have found 15-20 minutes with each use will quicken the whitening.
posted by netbros at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2009

I've had the best luck with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for tea and soda stains! The first time I used baking soda and peroxide I was amazed at the difference. I now use them about once a week as a maintenance type thing.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:41 PM on October 4, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. As for peroxide and baking soda, is there a certain amount of each? or just mix the two until it's pasty and then brush?
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 12:52 PM on October 4, 2009

Baking soda and mashed up strawberries always did the trick for me. Smear the paste on with an old toothbrush and leave it for about 5 minutes.
posted by idiotfactory at 1:11 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use powdered bamboo charcoal with my regular toothpaste every couple of weeks. I think the silica content is the active ingredient.
posted by hortense at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2009

I recently used Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal and I was really happy with the results. You get 14 pairs of strips, which you wear for 30 minutes each. The packaging suggests using them once a day for 2 weeks or twice a day for 1 week. I disregarded that and condensed all 14 treatments into 4 days and still got great results. I had a little sensitivity, but it was nothing too bad - plus I was using the strips much more frequently than recommended.

I've used "normal" Whitestrips, trays, and the paint-on gel in the past. I found the Advanced Seal Whitestrips more effective and easier to use than all of the others I've tried.

Looks like they are $35 at Target.
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 2:59 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I tried the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, I believe getting the tip from here. Mixed to a paste-like consistency.

It works, and I had noticeably whiter teeth. Now I may have done this wrong, but I brushed it on with a toothbrush, scrubbing the teeth I wanted brighter. Man, were my gums sore for days after. Hopefully someone else can chime in with a better technique but if you do this be careful around your gums. I think I might try rubbing it on with a finger next time. Or maybe I was supposed to somehow leave the mixture on my teeth for awhile? I don't know. But it hurt enough I never tried again.
posted by 6550 at 4:04 PM on October 4, 2009

As a smoker and hardcore coffee drinker, I've had really nice, reasonable results using Supersmile toothpaste. I bought some for my mom and she liked it too. It works gradually - it's not harsh. Zero sensitivity. And in addition to whitening, it leaves your teeth really, really *clean*- yeah, all toothpastes clean your teeth, but this one seems to get rid of plaque that's been there for a long time.

At about $20 a tube (should last 2 - 3 months) it's a special treat. And it's not easy to find. I got mine at a small beauty boutique.
posted by kitcat at 5:16 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've used hydrogen peroxide. I just dry off my teeth, apply the peroxide with a q-tip and leave it on for about thirty seconds and then brush my teeth with the toothbrush.
posted by aetg at 5:41 PM on October 4, 2009

The August 2009 Consumer Reports reviewed at-home tooth whiteners. Here's how they ranked:

Very Good: Pronounced whitening, easy to use, comfortable
- Whitestrips Supreme

Good: Some whitening, easy to use
- Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips
- Crest Whitestrips Premium
- Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal
- Aquafresh White Trays

Fair: Not much whitening
- Target Whitening Dissolving Strips
- CVS Easy Fit Whitening Trays
- i-White Light-Activated Teeth Whitening Kit
posted by Houstonian at 8:33 PM on October 4, 2009 [6 favorites]

Advanced Crest Whitestrips. You'll see much whiter teeth that aasts for about a year. I now whiten them once every two years or so, and I keep a few extra strips around for once a month. Easy to wear. Easy to use. No pain involved. However, they do run you between $30-40 a pack (but there are something like 36 sstrips/pack).
posted by samthemander at 8:35 PM on October 4, 2009

(Sorry, that first one from Consumer Reports should be Crest Whitestrips Supreme.)
posted by Houstonian at 8:35 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use the hydrogen peroxide- baking soda paste. I use it every night with rechargeable toothbrush. It really doesn't taste good, but it works pretty well. I have no soreness or anything like that. I also have a tube of regular toothpaste nearby and when I'm done with the HP-BS paste, I just put a dab of the regular stuff in my mouth and swish it around with some water. Rinse, spit and voila, instant fresh (minty) mouth.

BTW, the electric toothbrush makes a world of difference with tarter buildup prevention.
posted by Taurid at 12:59 AM on October 5, 2009

Venus Smile if offering a free whitening kit but you have to pay for a consultation with a dentist. They say it is normally $400 for their product. I have never tried it but it looks tempting. http://www.myvenussmile.com
posted by futz at 6:02 AM on October 5, 2009

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