The Best Whitening Mouthwashes
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As much as you may enjoy your morning coffee or evening glass or wine, they aren't doing your teeth any favors. To help combat unwanted staining, you can add a whitening mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine. "Realistically, whitening mouth rinses can achieve subtle whitening at best," cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands tells Bustle, adding that they usually come recommended by dentists as maintenance following a professional, in-office whitening treatment. "The most common whitening ingredient in mouthwashes is hydrogen peroxide," he says of what to look for. And when it comes to shopping for the best whitening mouthwashes, you'll want to try to avoid ingredients like chlorhexidine gluconate, ethanol (alcohol), and methyl salicylate, according to Dr. Sands, who notes that they can be harmful in large amounts. (He also advises being careful of how much hydrogen peroxide is in your mouthwash, too, with no more than 3% being the general recommendation.) "The key to help maintain white teeth and prevent future staining is your daily flossing and brushing routine, and maintaining professional teeth cleanings at your dental office," Dr Sands says of nonnegotiable steps. And when in doubt, you can always run your whitening mouthwash of choice (or any at-home dental whitening products) by your dentist first.
Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist specializing in aesthetic and restorative procedures such as custom porcelain veneers, dental crowns, and dental implants. Dr. Sands' celebrity clients have included Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Kim Kardashian. He is the founder of Kevin B. Sands DDS Cosmetic Dentistry, which has offices in Beverly Hills and Dubai.
How To Use A Whitening Mouthwash
Using a mouthwash is pretty straightforward, but Dr. Sands has a few tips for getting the most effective results possible. "Ideally, whitening mouth rinses should be used 30 minutes to an hour after flossing and brushing to avoid removing topical fluoride from toothpaste," he says, noting that fluoride helps to prevent cavities by strengthening the outer surface of your teeth (also known as the enamel). As for when you'll start to notice results, Dr. Sands explains that it requires some commitment. "Most whitening mouth rinses are to be used daily and may take up to three months to provide results."
And if you're really committed to keeping your teeth white, Dr. Sands shares a long list of what to cut back on or avoid entirely. "Avoiding foods and beverages such as red sauces, dark green vegetables, bright colored fruits, coffee, tea, and wine will help with maintaining white teeth," he says, adding, "Also, avoid tobacco products, smoking, and vaping, as all of these can stain the teeth."
Shop The Best Whitening Mouthwashes
In a hurry? Here are the best whitening mouthwashes:
- The Overall Best: Crest Pro-Health Advanced With Extra Whitening
- Best Value Pack: Colgate Optic White Advanced Whitening Mouthwash
- Best Pre-Rinse Whitening Mouthwash: Supersmile Whitening Pre-Rinse
- Best Natural Whitening Mouthwash: Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash
1. The Overall Best
For an inexpensive, hydrogen peroxide whitening mouthwash that really works, try this one from Crest. The fan-favorite product has more than 5,000 five-star ratings for its ability to help make teeth noticeably whiter without causing irritation. The alcohol-free formula foams up as you swish it in your mouth, and it contains fluoride to give you enamel-strengthening benefits, too.
Relevant Review: "Bought this at the suggestion of my dentist. Wow, there is a visible change to a much whiter smile within a week. After about three weeks, my teeth look great, and others have commented that they can see the difference. Extremely please!"
2. Best Value Pack
If you're making a whitening mouthwash a part of your daily routine, you'll be rinsing your way through multiple bottles in no time. Colgate’s Optic White Advanced Whitening Mouthwash comes in a pack of three, so you can stock up for the long term. The formula uses hydrogen peroxide to help remove surface stains over time and prevent new stains from forming. It's also alcohol-free to help minimize sensitivity.
Relevant Review: "This tasted minty, you can feel the peroxide working, and it only takes a minute to whiten your teeth every day. [It] gets rid of those dingy coffee and wine stains if you use it regularly."
3. Best Pre-Rinse Whitening Mouthwash
If you prefer a whitening rinse that you can use before you floss and brush, Supersmile's Whitening Pre-Rinse is your best bet. The alcohol-free mouthwash uses hydrogen peroxide to whiten, but it was designed to be used first to break up stains and rinse away debris and bacteria. It was also formulated to prevent gingivitis-causing plaque, and can be diluted with water by those with tooth sensitivities to help minimize the risk of irritation.
Relevant Review: "Great product. [It] takes the stains off of my teeth, and it can even be diluted with water 50 percent according to the directions, so it lasts even longer. I eat a lot of grape Popsicles, coffee, and tea, but this product gets rid of all of those stains. Even my dental hygienist noticed the difference."
4. Best Natural Whitening Mouthwash
For those who are too sensitive to use traditional hydrogen peroxide mouthwashes to whiten their teeth, coconut oil alternatives may help achieve those whitening benefits. Lumineux’s whitening mouthwash uses coconut to mimic the Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling, which is said to help remove plaque and whiten teeth. To help freshen breath, protect tooth and gum health, and balance your oral microbiome, the mouthwash also contains Dead Sea salt, aloe vera, and a mix of essential oils like mint, clove, and basil.
Relevant Review: "The texture takes a little getting used to — it contains coconut oil, which was pretty weird at first. But the results are undeniable. My teeth are significantly whiter while actually feeling less sensitive, and I feel like my teeth/gums/mouth situation is healthier than it's been in years. Highly recommend."
Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS, cosmetic dentist and founder of Dr. Kevin B. Sands DDS Cosmetic Dentistry in Beverly Hills and Dubai.
Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene — A review, by Vagish Kumar L. Shanbhag; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198813/