What are the Best Ways to Whiten Teeth?

There are plenty of everyday things that can stain and discolour the surface of your teeth – including your daily tea or coffee, fruits like blackcurrants, red wine and smoking cigarettes. Staining can also be caused by plaque or tartar build up when it is not properly removed by daily brushing and flossing and, unfortunately, many of us notice natural discolouration in our teeth as we get older.1

Given all of this, it’s not surprising that you may be looking for the best way to whiten teeth, to help you get back to smiling with confidence with a whiter, brighter smile.

Read on to learn about teeth whitening, including a guide to teeth whitening products such as whitening toothpaste and strips, teeth whitening at home, and whether teeth whitening is safe to do at home.


Just as with any other dental procedure, there are potential side effects and risks associated with teeth whitening, particularly when using ‘do it yourself’ products designed to be used at home. The most common side effects of both professional whitening and products such as at-home teeth whitening kits, gels or strips are increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. However, these side effects are generally only temporary and are likely to subside within two days of whitening treatment.1,2

If you are thinking of using a teeth whitening product, it’s a good idea to consult your dentist so that they can advise on whether teeth whitening is appropriate for you, and which are the most suitable whitening products for your teeth.1

Of course, you can also have your teeth whitened (or ‘bleached’) professionally by your dentist – however this is generally much more expensive than at-home teeth whitening. You dentist will first place a rubber shield to your gums to protect them before applying the whitening agent  (usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) to your teeth. This will often be done using a mouth guard-like tray. The whitening agent then allows oxygen to affect your tooth enamel, lightening their colour.1


There are several different types of home whitening kits available over-the-counter if want to whiten your teeth at home and your dentist has advised that it is appropriate for you to do so. These include paint-on gels, strips and toothpastes.1 Depending on which product you choose, the amount of whitening agent in them will vary, and so will their effectiveness.3
Teeth whitening strips rely solely on peroxide as their active ingredient to bleach teeth, while whitening toothpastes use abrasives that remove surface stains from the teeth as you brush, and some may also include a small amount of peroxide.2

Always follow the product instructions when using whitening kits.


With so many over-the-counter whitening products to choose from, you may be wondering, what is a suitable whitening toothpaste for me?

If you have sensitive teeth, toothpastes such as Sensodyne Daily Care Gentle Whitening and Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum Whitening work to both help restore the natural whiteness of your teeth** and also help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

With twice daily brushing, Sensodyne Daily Care Gentle Whitening toothpaste offers improved whitening technology* to deliver enhanced stain removal without being more abrasive*, making it a suitable option for helping to whiten sensitive teeth.

Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum Whitening is clinically proven to target and remove plaque bacteria, helping to support good gum health while also removing surface stains**.

Discover the full Sensodyne range, including whitening toothpastes, and find out which ones may be suitable for you.

*vs previous formulation
**With twice-daily brushing


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  1. Tooth Whitening, Oral Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/tooth-whitening; Accessed 17/02/2020.
  2. Whitening. American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/whitening. Accessed 22/07/20.
  3. Teeth whitening. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/teeth-whitening/. Accessed 22/07/20.