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Got a date tonight, and haven’t been working at whitening your teeth for weeks? Try Rembrandt Deeply White 2-Hour Whitening Kit ($23). After molding a set of trays to fit your mouth, you’ll alternate between wearing the gel-filled applicators for 20 minutes and resting for 10 minutes for a total two hours.
Crest 3D White Intensive Professional Effects Whitestrips ($56, soap.com) come at a steep price, but it doesn’t compare to the cash you’d drop on an in-office whitening procedure. Still, the kit promises to whiten just as well as a $500 laser treatment, with results lasting up to 12 months. Apply strips for two hours a day for seven days.
If you’re sketched out by the bleaching agents in at-home whitening products, try Tom’s of Maine Clean Mint Simply White Fluoride Toothpaste ($5, tomsofmaine.com). The surface stain eraser: silica, an ingredient derived from sand. (Don’t worry—the paste is smooth, not gritty.) What we liked best about this eco-friendly cavity fighter: Milder ingredients don’t limit the product’s powerful fresh-breath effects.
Whitening for Sensitive Teeth
If you shy away from whitening because it hurts like hell—we get it, some products can be pretty harsh—then this paste was made for you. Sensodyne Extra Whitening ($5, drugstore.com) breaks up stains while building a protective layer that blocks pain caused by hot, cold, and sugary foods. For a deeper-feeling clean, opt for Sensodyne Iso-Active Foaming Gel Whitening ($8, drugstore.com). It bubbles up when you brush, making it easier to hit hard-to-reach areas.
Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh ($4, pgestore.com) is a do-it-all paste. It’s touted to remove up to 80% of surface stains while fighting cavities and freshening breath. The company claims that when the toothpaste is used along with other products in the line-up (Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh MultiCare Whitening Rinse, Oral-B 3D White Vivid Toothbrush), you’ll see results in two days.
The Reach Total Care + Whitening toothbrush ($3, drugstore.com) is more beefed up than the freebie you’d bring home from the dentist’s office. Bristles are infused with calcium carbonate, a buffing ingredient that helps loosen up stains sans bleach. Other bells and whistles include a tongue cleaner, grip handle, and angled neck.
You plunk down cash for a plasma TV and an iPhone 5, why not make a similar investment in your at-home oral health? What we have in mind: the Sonicare DiamondClean rechargeable toothbrush ($220, philips-store.com). The tooth-polishing powertool cranks out 31,000 brushstrokes per minute, which would take you a month to rack up with a manual brush. The DiamondClean is touted to remove five times more plaque than a manual brush, whiten teeth in one week, and improve gum health in two weeks. It also features a two-minute timer and a USB cord so you can charge it up at your computer.
This product is a far cry from stinging antiseptic rinses that make your eyes water and breath smell nothing like mint. Listerine Whitening Vibrant Multi-Action Whitening Rinse ($6, soap.com) is a foaming, twice-a-day pre-brush rinse that claims to get teeth four times whiter than brushing alone. The mild-tasting mouthwash also controls tarter to prevent future stains and kills bad-breath-causing germs.
You barely have enough time to throw together a homemade breakfast in the morning, let alone mess with a slew of smile-brightening products before work. But Rembrandt Intense Stain Stain Dissolving Strips ($23 for 56 strips, rembrandtboutique.com) let you whiten while you zip through your morning—or nighttime—routine. Apply the no-fuss strips before you shave, for example, and in the 5 to 10 minutes that you spend on your face, they will have dissolved in your mouth—with nothing to remove or rinse away. Use the strips twice a day for two weeks to lift surface stains from coffee and wine.
You’re no fool—you know that popping a piece of gum isn’t going to have the same smile-whitening effect as a high-tech toothbrush. But if you’re going to chew gum to freshen your breath after meals, there’s no harm in grabbing a pack with stain-removing potential. Orbit White is sugar-free and according to the brand’s website, an eight-week clinical trial showed that having two pieces after eating and drinking helped remove stains.
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