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Best Teeth Whitening Strips: Crest, Charcoal, and Sensitive Teeth

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teeth whitening strips
A beautiful smile from home

What are the best teeth whitening strips? If you're looking to whiten your teeth, you'll find plenty of options to choose from, with well-known brands like Crest to newer natural brands. So how do you choose the best ones?

Everyone has different needs, so the best strips for someone else, may not be the best for you. That being said, we've reviewed some of the top options on the market today.

But before we continue we feel we should add that in order for your smile to be healthy and beautiful (despite what the beauty police say) your smile doesn't need to be perfectly white. The most important thing is to take good care of your teeth and visit your dentist regularly. That being said, we certainly understand the motivation to whiten your teeth so without further ado, let's have a look at the best at-home teeth whitening strips!

What are teeth whitening strips?

There are myriad brands and types of strip solutions, but they all share some characteristics in common. White strips, in general, are thin, flexible, transparent or translucent strips that are coated on one side with a tooth whitening gel. Most tooth whitening strips contain carbamide or hydrogen peroxide as the main whitening ingredient. However, they may vary in the following ways:

  • Length of treatment time
  • Number of strips
  • Additional ingredients
  • Strip shape

How to use them

how to use teeth whitening strips
Strips are easy to use

Every set of teeth whitener strips will have their own set of instructions which you should follow. However, in general, to use a whitening strip:

  • Brush first: This removes plaque and allows the hydrogen peroxide in the whitener to better penetrate your enamel.
  • Identify top and bottom strips: Some strips have a top strip and a button strip, with different shapes and lengths, make sure you sort out which is which.
  • Apply the strips: You'll need to peel the strip off of its backing. The side that was attached to the backing is the side with the gel, and this is the side that needs to come in contact with your teeth. Press the strips to your teeth, making sure your teeth are completely covered, and smooth the strips down.
  • Keep the strips on for the time indicated in the instructions (usually around 30 minutes.)
  • Remove the strips, brush and rinse well with water. Avoid eating or drinking for around an hour after treatment.

Please note that using your strips for longer than the time indicated won't make your teeth whiter, but the hydrogen peroxide could cause damage to your enamel or gums.

What is the best whitening strip?

Alright! So we know what strips are, and we know how to use them, but what strips should you buy for your teeth?

To help you answer that, let's take a look at some of the best whitening strips for teeth.

Best overall: Crest

Crest is king when it comes to whitening with strips, not to mention they have the official ADA Seal of Acceptance. They have a seemingly infinite collection of strips to choose from, so we're going to focus on what are possibly the best white strips: Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects.

Teeth whitening strips
These claim professional level results

These strips have a whitening formula with 10% hydrogen peroxide that promises to remove 14 years of stains when used for 30 minutes per day, for 20 days. And not only will these whiten, they will give you the same professional-level results as you would get at the dentist (their words, not ours). Some other features of these strips:

  • No-slip grip: The slips stay put so you don't have to fidget with them while they're on. You can even drink water while wearing them!
  • Results in just 3 days: You'll already notice a white smile after three days.
  • Enamel-safe: The ingredients used in these strips are won't hurt your enamel.
  • 1-hour express: You also get 1-hour express whitening that gives you results after just one treatment.

What are the reviewers saying?

“I love these! I've used them for about a week now and I notice a big difference! They taste awful lol. I spit a million times while wearing them. The top goes on and stays on great, the bottom tends to slide a little but it's not too complicated to adjust them. I wouldn't expect any product like this is necessarily comfortable, but it does the job. I'm satisfied!”

“Honestly I see a big difference in my teeth and I haven’t finished using them. The one hour strips (stronger strips for tougher stains, comes with 2) are INSANELY GOOD. A lot of people complimented me on how white my teeth look. And I have naturally stained teeth, it’s really hard to whiten them, and these did the trick!”

“MY TEETH ARE SO MUCH WHITER AFTER ONLY 3 USES. I wish I had taken a before picture to compare but this stuff truly works and is easy to use. Will definitely continue to buy over other whites trip brands.”

And they pretty much continue on like that. In fact, on Amazon, 74% of around 10,000 reviews are 5-star reviews and only 5% are 1-star, so the overwhelming amount of customers are happy with their results.

You can also find plenty of reviews on YouTube. The vlogger in the video below reviews these strips after using them for two years. You can see in the video that he has gorgeous, spotless teeth, so they seem to work for him! He also walks us through his entire whitening and hygiene routine. He cautions that the strips can cause sensitivity, so take it slow, and talk to your dentist about any doubts.

If these positive reviews have piqued your interest, find out if these are the best Crest whitening strips for you by clicking the button below. You can also try out their charcoal whitening strips which are also quite popular. And to read an in-depth review of all of our favorite Crest Whitestrips you can read our separate Crest article.

Best natural: ZIMBA

No, it's not your favorite exercise routine spelled wrong, it's a newer brand of teeth whiteners made with natural ingredients—well, at least some natural ingredients.

ZIMBA gets rid of the nasty chemical taste that so many strips are famous for, and instead, delights the tastebuds with natural coconut and mint flavors. What's more, both the coconut and mint oil additions act as additional stain removers. A couple of other benefits of Zimba include:

natural whitening strips
These taste like mint
  • Reduced sensitivity: Won't hurt enamel
  • Non-slip: They are made to stay on for even coverage
  • Affordable: They cost around half as much as leading brands

Here's what one Amazon customer had to say:

“Love the product! Priced incredibly well and the results are the same if not better than the original crest strips. One huge factor is how fast they actually work and that there was no sensitivity issues on my teeth while having them. Grade A product that is a must for anyone looking to brighten their smile!”

Best for sensitivity: Fairywill

Some of the best teeth whitening strips for sensitive teeth are the Fairywill Delicate Whitening collection. These are made with a reduced sensitivity formula that promises to be gentle on enamel but tough on stains. What exactly does reduced tooth sensitivity mean? In this case, it means that these strips are made with 6% hydrogen peroxide, which is less than what some leading brands use, and strong enough to remove stains, while still being gentle. Fairywill also promises:

Teeth whitening strips sensitive teeth
These are made for sensitive teeth
  • Results after 2 or 3 uses
  • Effects that last for 90 days and longer
  • No-slip grip
  • Professional results

Here's what one consumer with sensitivity issues has to say:

“These Teeth Whitening Strips for Sensitive Teeth are exactly that, perfect for sensitive teeth, not causing any pain or tooth sensitivity. They are easy to apply and they STAY in place very well. There is a top and a bottom strip in each foil packet for ease of use AND to keep my teeth whitening at the same level throughout. The directions are inside the pamphlet AND on the back of the package and are very easy to understand. I'm very happy with these. They work and could not be more simple to use.”

Best budget: Harmony Life

Cheap white strips
These strips are under $10

Looking to whiten without breaking the bank? Cheap whitening strips are certainly available for purchase, but it can be difficult to find strips for under $10 that aren't totally sketchy. But you're not totally out of luck. The whitening strip made by Harmony Life is cheap and it receives a fair amount of relatively good reviews. One kit comes with 14 pouches, each with a strip for your upper and button teeth. In total, two weeks of treatments. The formula has 6% hydrogen peroxide, so they're advertised as being good for sensitive teeth as well. One happy customer compares them to the leading brand say:

“These work just as well as Crest White Strips! I saw results after just one use. I will definitely be buying them again!”

Summary of the best whitening products

To help you better digest the above information so you can choose the best option for you, we've compiled the four strips examined in this article into a convenient table.

Crest ZIMBA Fairywill Harmony Life
Best... Overall Natural Sensitivity Budget
Active ingredient Hydrogen peroxide Hydrogen peroxide Hydrogen peroxide Hydrogen peroxide
Treatment time 20 days 14 days 14 days 14 days
Minutes per day 30 30 30 15–30
Extras
  • No-slip grip
  • Removes 14 years of stains
  • First results in 3 days
  • No-slip grip
  • Removes 14 years of stains
  • First results in 3 days
  • No-slip grip
  • Removes 14 years of stains
  • First results in 3 days
  • No-slip grip
  • Removes 14 years of stains
  • First results in 3 days
  • White strips alternatives

    There are a zillion ways to whiten—strips, gels, oils, whitening toothpaste, trays, pens, lights, but our favorite option is brought to you by Snow. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Snow whitening system is revolutionary. And to sum up why in a few bullet points is nearly impossible, but let's try anyway. Snow whitening:

    • Gives you affordable, professional results.
    • Uses advanced technology like LED red and blue light to accelerate whitening and kill bad bacteria.
    • Has a hands-free, wireless and waterproof option. Whiten while you shower!
    • Uses a special combination of carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide for optimum results.
    • Delivers a whole year's worth of results in one kit.
    • Let's you purchase gel refills instead of having to buy the whole kit again.

    And those are just off the top of our head! To find out more about what makes Snow our favorite whitening system, you can read our Snow reviews article here. And if you want to read more about the best teeth whitening kits, you can read our full kit guide.

    Conclusion

    Teeth whitening strips can be an effective way to whiten, and there are certainly plenty of options to choose from. Our favorite overall pick are Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects, but they have a whole host of options to choose from if you're looking for something else. We also like ZIMBA for natural whitening, Fairywill for sensitive teeth, and if you're looking to spend less, you may want to try Harmony Life.

    Whichever product you try, remember that perfectly white teeth don't mean that you have a healthy smile, and vice versa. Your first priority should be to take care of your oral health and get in to see the dentist regularly.

    FAQs

    How often should you use them?

    You should always follow the instructions that came with your kit. Most strips are meant to be used once a day, every day, for a period of anywhere from two weeks to a month. Using your strips more often than instructed probably won't help whiten your teeth more, and might up causing tooth sensitivity, or damage to your enamel or gums.

    Do teeth whitening strips really work?

    They can work, and some that work for some people don't work for others, so you need to find the kind that works for your personal case. A good place to start, however, is with strips that have positive reviews, and better yet, have the ADA's Seal of Acceptance, like Crest.

    What is the best brand?

    Our top pick for the best whitening strip is Crest, as they have a wide variety of options, from charcoal whitening strips to the best whitening strips for sensitive teeth. However, there are many brands out there with whom you can probably get the results you want, it's a matter of looking at reviews and taking into consideration your personal needs.

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    Contributors:
    Natalie Asmussen
    Natalie Asmussen
    Natalie Asmussen on LinkedinNatalie Asmussen on Website
    Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
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