A Tooth Whitening Shopping Guide

    Over-the-counter, TV, and Internet products.

    These whitening strips, paint-on products, and gels have a small amount of peroxide. They have limited results if you use them before you have a professional remove stains, but they can help prolong the results if you get this treatment earlier. You can brighten your teeth by about two shades for up to six months. None of the gel and tray treatments are accepted by the ADA.

    Whitening toothpastes.

    All toothpastes help remove surface staining of your teeth through their mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes with the ADA seal have special polishing agents that remove even more stains. Unlike bleaches, these products do not change the actual color of your teeth. They help with slight surface stains only. You get temporary brightening of perhaps one to two shades.

    Still confused? Talk to your dentist — he or she can help you select the best method for your teeth and your budget.

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