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The Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth (According to a Dental Hygienist)

There’s no denying that everybody wants a whiter, brighter smile. A great smile makes us feel confident and more attractive – so who wouldn’t want one?! However, with so many whitening options to choose from, it’s hard to know what’s effective, and what’s just a gimmick.

Health & beauty companies are jumping on the whitening bandwagon as a way to sell more products, but as consumers, we must do our due diligence. When it comes to teeth whitening, you can’t always look for the cheapest, fastest solution. It usually doesn’t exist. As the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

While there are numerous ways to whiten your teeth (just a quick Google search will show you tons of options), some are more effective than others. You have to keep in mind that teeth naturally vary in shade due to your unique makeup, so it might be impossible to achieve the shade you want simply by using strips.

London Hygienist breaks down some of the most popular ways to whiten teeth, and whether or not you should waste your time and money on these methods.

In-chair Whitening

In-chair whitening requires you to sit in the dental chair while a dental professional applies a whitening agent to the teeth, followed by a light to accelerate the product. In-chair whitening uses products like Enlighten whitening or Philips! Zoom.

How effective is it?

This option is great if you need an immediate result, however it requires further whitening and maintenance, and will cost more due to the surgery time and materials required.

How quickly will you see results?

The entire procedure is about one hour, and your teeth will be noticeably whiter after treatment. However, you will still need to whiten them at home to improve the efficiency.

What’s the price tag?



If you have the budget for it, this is a great way to get white teeth fast.

Home Whitening

Home whitening involves skipping the hour in the dental chair and simply having two custom made whitening trays made. The trays are moulded to the shape of your teeth, and you wear them with the whitening agent in them while you go about your daily business.

How effective is it?

Home whitening is just as effective as in-chair whitening, but without the hefty price tag.

How quickly will you see results?

About a week and a half. Depending on the shade of your teeth and desired result, you’ll wear the trays for anywhere from an hour to overnight for ten days.

What’s the price tag?



Overall, when comparing all whitening options, home whitening is generally favoured as you are in complete control, there is less reported sensitivity, and it’s significantly cheaper than in-chair whitening.

Whitening Toothpaste

More and more toothpaste brands are claiming their product has whitening effects – namely, products branded as “whitening toothpaste” or “charcoal toothpaste”.

Whitening toothpastes on the high street often don’t contain any active whitening

ingredients, or they may be missing key ingredients required to maintain healthy teeth, such as fluoride.

On the flip side, charcoal toothpaste is generally not as abrasive as whitening toothpaste, however there is no evidence to prove its effectiveness on stain removal.

How effective is it?

In my professional opinion, I don’t think whitening or charcoal toothpaste is effective at all. In fact, charcoal toothpaste may even contribute to negative aesthetic effects as the charcoal particles can become embedded in cracks in the teeth or restoration margins around crowns, veneers and fillings, attracting further yellowing and staining over time.

How quickly will you see results?

Probably never. While whitening toothpaste may remove surface stains, giving you the ability to see a slight improvement, it can be abrasive and damage enamel (the hard-outer layer of the tooth), making it even more prone to staining in the long run. The short-term gain is not worth the long-term pain here.

What’s the price tag?

Anywhere from £3-£15 depending on the brand.


Don’t waste your time or money with whitening toothpaste. The risks of not using toothpaste with fluoride or using toothpaste that damages enamel will cause more harm in the long run.

Professional Cleaning

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may simply benefit from a professional clean. London Hygienist cleans involve a procedure called “AirFlow”, which is a powerful but gentle combination of water, air and fine powder used as a stain removal treatment.

AirFlow can leave teeth looking whiter because any deposits and staining will be

removed during the cleaning process.

How effective is it?

If your teeth are stained due to lack of frequent visits to the dentist, a cleaning may be all you need to get your teeth whiter. However, if you’re a regular dentist-goer and are looking for significantly whiter teeth, a cleaning likely isn’t enough.

How quickly will you see results?

AirFlow cuts your time in the dental chair from 20 minutes down to just 7, so you can literacy have whiter teeth in less than 10 minutes.

What’s the price tag?

First-time cleans for new patients are £120 at London Hygienist while returning patients pay just £95.

Verdict A great option for some, but not for others. Consult your hygienist to see if this option is right for you.

Whitening Kits & Strips

Similarly to whitening toothpastes, products like Crest White Strips are claiming their products can whiten teeth quickly and efficiently. However, these products do not contain any active whitening ingredients.

Visit your dentist or dental hygienist for a professional opinion first – they will be able to assess your suitability for whitening and discuss which options are available to you.

How effective is it?

These products are not effective at all and can actually do damage to the enamel.

How quickly will you see results?

You won’t!

What’s the price tag?


Verdict Don’t waste your money.


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