If you had to name one human trait that makes the biggest positive impact, what would it be? For most of us, the answer is a smile. According to Hexa Research, 99.2 percent of people surveyed believe that a smile is an important social benefit. And based on the rapid growth of the teeth whitening industry, consumers are willing to pay through the nose to improve what is happening in their mouth. 

Experts predict the teeth whitening industry will expand to 7.40 billion dollars by 2024, with whitening toothpaste taking the largest bite out of the market share and whitening strips following close behind with a value of just under 900 million dollars.

No doubt about it, consumers are willing to put their money where their mouth is (literally), but which products are safe to use? And which ones actually work?

First, let’s talk about the active ingredients in the more popular products. There are two types of whitening products: bleaching products, which attack discoloration below the tooth’s surface as well as surface stains, and non-bleaching products that focus primarily on surface cleaning and polishing.

Most bleaching products contain carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide; the active ingredient for whitening teeth. Since the tooth’s enamel is surprisingly porous, hydrogen peroxide can enter deep into the tooth’s surface and break down stains. How this process is administered can vary. Most people prefer their dentist to bleach their teeth, but that can get expensive. Now, consumers have numerous choices for in-home teeth whitening kits that are safe, affordable, and effective. 

There are many different ways to apply the bleaching agents. Which type you use depends on preference. 

  1. Gel trays. Although effective, some consumers complain that handling gel trays are messy and awkward to use. And, in some cases, the whitening agent irritated the soft gum tissue. Nevertheless, gel trays are an extremely popular kit.
  2. Whitening strips. By far the most popular teeth whitening product. With a price hovering around $40 for 20 treatments, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips are the most popular brand.
  3. Pen.Auraglowoffers a teeth whitening pen that helps consumers easily apply an agent with 35 percent carbamide peroxide and over 20 treatments for under 20 bucks.


Non-bleaching products

  1. Toothbrush. Regular brushing is an essential part of any oral hygiene program. Whether or not a $300 electric toothbrush does a better job than other types of brushes is mainly up to the consumer to decide.
  2. Mouthwash.From Colgate, Listerine, to Crest, there are many different types of mouthwash that are effective at whitening teeth and removing stains. Most also contain fluoride that strengthens tooth enamel, delays tooth decay, and freshens breath.
  3. Toothpaste.Here’s the thing about toothpaste–it’s only as good as the vehicle that delivers it. Whereas today’s teeth whitening toothpastes advertise whitening agents, they mainly treat surface stains. It’s the brushing technique that makes a huge difference in your teeth’s appearance.
  4. Powder.For those who are a little queasy about possible ingesting strong chemicals, companies likeActive Wow offer consumers a powdered product derived from natural coconut charcoal, which claims to brighten teeth and remove stains over time.


It’s an exciting time for bright smiles and healthy teeth. But it’s also important to be sure the products you use are safe and effective. Talk with your dentist about the products he or she recommends most. The right information will be worth smiling about.