Prev Next

The Best Over-The-Counter Teeth Whiteners

By Amalah

Dearest Amalah:
I searched your archives and couldn’t find anything on this topic. I tried. I promise.
A few years ago I had Adult Braces. (I must refer to them as Adult Braces as I find that title hilarious.) I wore the big old silver braces for two years. And also paid for them myself. Ouch. And now, I have gorgeously straight teeth. For the first time in my life I can smile and feel good about it.
Except for the fact that my teeth aren’t very white.
And by “aren’t very white” I mean they are down right yellow. Ewww. I did not spend a bazillion dollars to have straight yellow teeth. My question to you is…can you recommend an over the counter teeth whitening system? One that won’t break the bank and that I can do in between working full time and raising a toddler.
Thanks….in advance…for helping me!!

austin-powers1.jpgI have tried exactly ONE of the many over-the-counter tooth-whitening systems. ONE. (Other than the “whitening” toothpastes and mouthwashes, but we all know THOSE don’t actually do anything to really whiten really stained teeth, right? They’re decent preventive measures for keeping regular coffee and red wine intake from staining your teeth, but they don’t change the color of yellowed teeth.)
Luckily that ONE system I used worked really well. I continue to use it somewhat regularly, and I am very happy with it. There could very well be something better out there, but why risk it?
crest.jpgSo: Crest Whitestrips. They work. They really do. And even if you don’t follow up with whitening toothpastes or cut back on coffee (the horror!), the results last about six months to a year. I’ve used both the “classic” version (back when classic = all they offered) and the “premium”, and have been happy with both. I could probably stand to buy another pack, but honestly, my teeth still look loads better than when I first decided to do something about them. (I had the Tetracycline staining, which…yeah. Delicious!) I find that I can go longer and longer with each pack now before I notice yellowing.
You use them twice a day for 30 minutes. I wore the morning strip on my drive to work and the nighttime strip while I washed my face and puttered around getting ready for bed. Yes, they are vaguely annoying and sticky and they feel weird. But they don’t really taste like anything and you start seeing results in about a week, which I always found REALLY helped with the motivation and dedication aspects.
They’ve come down in price since I first started using them, and now Crest seems to offer about a dozen variations on them. Whatever. The (which promises results that last six months) costs a measly $22. The (which promises 12 months of whiter teeth), is only $30. I don’t know nothing ’bout all the new-fangled ones like the “premium plus” strips or the “age defying” strips, since we didn’t have them back in my day. All we had were basic strips that tasted like paste and we used them while walking in the show uphill both ways AND WE WERE GRATEFUL.
Aquafresh offers the ($32), and Sephora devotes loads of marketing dollars to the GoSMILE system ($89). These might work! I don’t know! Maybe they are even better. But personally, when I find something that works and perhaps even defies my expectations, all for a reasonable price, I stick with it. One day I would love to scrape $500 together for a bleaching in my dentist’s office, but I’ve been saying that for years now and look! I have scraped exactly…uh…four dollars, 15 cents, and four mismatched buttons together.
So for now? Gooooo Whitestrips! Yaaay!

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon