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How can I get whiter teeth?

Sometimes brushing twice daily isn't enough to achieve a whiter smile. Watch as Dr. Maria Lopez Howell explains how in-office tooth whitening can be a great way to give your teeth an extra sparkle.


Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Here's a rundown on your options:

  • In-office whitening: Fastest and strongest effects, up to ten shades lighter, but costs $500 to $1,200.
  • Brush-ons: Best over-the-counter method. You can see results four shades lighter. These brighten the back teeth better than the strips do.
  • Strips: You can get four to six shades lighter, but only on the front six teeth.
  • Tray and gels (in-office or OTC): It's an older technology and has potential for gum irritation, so it's best to do with a doc. At home, the temptation is to abuse it, which can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Whitening toothpastes: An everyday experience, these toothpastes remove stains from teeth by polishing or chemical removal.
  • The ideal combo: If you can afford it, use an in-office whitening, then follow up with brush-ons and toothpastes at home.
Studies have shown that repetitive whitening (using safe, low concentrations of the active ingredients) gives longer-lasting results. Just be sure not to repeat more than once every two weeks, or you'll thin the enamel. Home whitening strips don't appear to harm enamel.
YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

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YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.