The 5 Best Teeth-Whitening Products for Yellow Teeth, According to a Dentist

Yes, you can whiten your teeth and keep them healthy.

by Lilian Ogbuefi
Originally Published: 

The desire for perfectly presentable teeth is one we’re all too familiar with. It’s a fairly rational one at that, particularly in the time of Zoom calls when many of us are staring at our faces for a good portion of the day. Besides that, your teeth are the first thing people see when you open your mouth to speak, sans mask,… or smile. And in world where first impression counts much more than it should, stained teeth stand out. So it makes sense to seek out the best teeth-whitening products to bring out the pearly of your whites.

If you’re worried about stained teeth, there’s only one truly effective method: Prevention. This is especially important for coffee and tea drinkers. “Brush your teeth or rinse with water right after and spit it out to get the residual coffee or tea out,” says Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, “ideally before it can sit on your teeth.”

If you’re not quite as disciplined, there are teeth-whitening toothpastes. The problem is the more effective these are, the more likely they’re damaging to your teeth. “From a whitening standpoint, the toothpaste works on the surface of the teeth. It can lighten the color of the teeth by removing stains from foods and coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that. Some of them contain a small amount of peroxide chemicals but the exposure time with normal toothbrushing to that is relatively low,” says Hewlett.

Remember, toothpastes are different from whitening kits, which also work when used as directed.

And let’s keep some things front of mind: It’s very normal to have some yellow tint to your tooth. However, anything more than a slight tint points to underlying causes like “a loss of enamel, stain or a layer of plaque,” all of which “could do damage to the teeth,” says dentist Dr. Chris Kammer.

It’s fine to want to get that yellow tint a little whiter, even so, but it’s important to note that not all products whiten teeth in a healthy way. The best teeth-whitening products for yellow teeth are non-abrasive and protect the teeth from decay while attacking layers of stain.

You want to look out for oxygenating whitening products, notes Kammer. “They work within the tubules of the teeth to whiten and do not harm the tooth structure with normal use,” he says. Oxygenating whitening products usually contain carbamide and hydrogen peroxide and are “considered safe for home use at concentrations between 3 and 20%.”

“What makes it a whitening toothpaste is that they have some mild but safe abrasives other toothpastes don’t have, and a small amount of peroxide,” says Hewlett.

As for charcoal? It’s best to avoid it. “There’s so much hype about charcoal,” says Hewlett. “There is scant, if any, evidence on the efficacy of charcoal in tooth whitening. There’s so much information that’s not accurate. It’s somewhat abrasive.”

The whitening products below are widely popular; we have noted the ones that are ADA-accepted.

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