A gorgeous smile with straight, white teeth gives the impression of good health and vitality. While, in many cases, the color of your teeth is more of a cosmetic concern, we place a lot of importance on smiles in our society and it’s understandable you’d want your smile to look its best after investing in orthodontic treatment. You wouldn’t be alone either.
A survey of orthodontists in the United States found 88.8% of their patients requested tooth whitening and we’d guess it’s probably pretty close to that number in Canada. However, we know professional whitening isn’t easy on the wallet. Being the helpful Surrey orthodontists we are, we’re sharing the best at-home teeth whitening kits to give you a brighter post-treatment smile.
Can You Whiten Teeth With Braces?
A common question we get from our Abbotsford and Surrey braces patients is can your whiten teeth with braces? The answer is, unfortunately, we don’t recommend it. It’s best to save teeth whitening until after you’re finished with your braces treatment.
This actually goes for most Invisalign patients too. Teeth whitening with braces or Invisalign attachments will lead to darker squares because the solution can’t reach underneath them. Additionally, sometimes crowding and spacing will cause some surfaces of the teeth to be whitened and others not.
You only have to wear braces or Invisalign for a short time in the grand scheme of things, so it doesn’t hurt to be cautious and wait until you have a straight, new smile before whitening.
That isn’t to say all hope is lost if your teeth aren’t as bright as you’d like during your orthodontic treatment. The best way to keep teeth white with braces or Invisalign is to brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. Also, avoiding foods and drinks that stain the teeth, like coffee and red wine, and not engaging in yellowing habits, such as smoking, will go a long way in your braces teeth whitening efforts.
Another helpful tip is to drink lots of water. It will get your saliva flowing and aid in rinsing away cavity-causing food debris and acids. Maintaining excellent oral health is important because tooth decay certainly isn’t going to make your smile more dazzling.
The Best Teeth Whitening Kits
You can’t match the results from professional teeth whitening with an over-the-counter product. If your teeth need significant whitening, visiting a dentist is your best bet because a dentist can use stronger bleaching agents (usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) and they have the knowledge and training to pull it off without damaging your teeth.
With that being said, over-the-counter, at-home teeth whitening kits can give your smile a boost and make teeth noticeably whiter. You also have the obvious benefit that they’re much more affordable. So, if you’re looking to boost your teeth by a few shades, try it.
Just be sure to talk to your dentist first if you have sensitive teeth and always read the package insert as not all whitening agents are appropriate for everyone, including those that shouldn’t be used by pregnant or nursing women. Now that the warnings are out of the way, here are some of the best home teeth whitening kits you can do without changing out of your pajamas:
- Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips – Whitening strips are notoriously annoying and never seem to stay put. Thankfully, over the years, the design and materials have improved, so they’re more user-friendly. Crest Whitestrips are among the original at-home whiteners and they’re still popular because they work well to get your smile a bit brighter. The latest incarnation includes no-slip strips that are a million times better than they used to be. The drawback is that you have to remember to put them on every day for quite a while to get the best results. For those who want a high-tech upgrade, the company also has Crest 3D White Whitestrips with a handheld blue light that they say helps weaken stains, making the whitening ingredient work better.
- Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder – Active Wow is an all-natural charcoal teeth whitening product and these seem to be all the rage. It doesn’t contain peroxide or other bleaching agents and is made from coconut sources. If you’ve seen the videos online, brushing your teeth with charcoal looks a little scary but it contains natural ingredients and it’s easy on your gums and won’t cause any additional sensitivity. A really big perk is you don’t have to use strips or paint anything on your teeth; you just brush your teeth with it like you would with your normal toothpaste. While some of the other teeth whitening products with a lot of buzz like 360 Teeth Whitening and Miracle Teeth Whitener have pretty mediocre ratings, Active Wow has thousands of glowing reviews and people really love the results they’re getting it from it.
- AuraGlow Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System – We promise we didn’t choose AuraGlow because of the similarity between our names. It’s one of the top-rated at-home teeth whitening kits. Also, you only have to use it once a day for 30 minutes for seven to 10 to days, making it a little more convenient than the usual hour-long process involved with some strips. The kit contains a 35% carbamide peroxide agent, trays and an LED light that attaches to the trays. Squirt the syringe of whitening gel into the mouthguard, bite down and relax while the system does its thing.
- Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Treatment – Many of the best at-home teeth whitening kits, while way less expensive than professional whitening, are still $50 or more. However, Rembrandt’s 2 Hour Whitening Treatment is about half the price and you wear the customizable strips for 30 minutes for four consecutive days, as opposed to over a week. Each kit contains a primer, innovative strips that stay in place and mold to your teeth and a whitening rinse.
At-home teeth whitening kits have seen a lot of upgrades over the years and they’re a cost-effective way to whiten your teeth by several shades if an in-office, professional whitening treatment isn’t in your budget. You could also choose the middle ground with a take-home kit from a dentist.
The bleaching agents in these kits usually contains a higher concentration of peroxide and, sometimes, even customized trays – you can buy some of them online instead of from a pro but we’d caution against that because you want to make sure you’re getting the real deal. However, if you do choose to whiten your teeth at home when you’re finished orthodontic treatment, there are a number of tried and true products out there.