One of the most popular at-home whitening treatments is whitening strips. They are designed in a way that allows them to adhere to the teeth to provide an even distribution of the teeth whitening gel. In turn, this gel will eat away at surface stains and discoloration to reveal whiter, brighter teeth.

Whitening strips are considered inexpensive in the teeth whitening world and can be purchased at your local pharmacy, at a drugstore or even online. They are convenient to use, easy to pack (perfect for out-of-town trips!) and require little time out of your day to use.

Although the ingredients in whitening strips are not as strong as most in-office treatments, you can still expect to see a tooth shade 1-2 times lighter after completing a whitening strip treatment.  And, with proper care, you can expect to see lasting results for at least 4-6 months.

To start, let’s break down what makes up whitening strips and how they can help to improve the overall color of your teeth.

Summary of the Top 5 Best Teeth Whitening Strips:


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Top 5 Best Teeth Whitening Strips for 2020

Because whitening strips can vary from brand to brand, attempting to find the perfect whitening strips for your teeth can be stressful. Here are 5 of the best reviewed whitening strips products on the market.

Crest 3D White Professional Effects

These whitestrips promise to remove 14 years of stains and are formulated with the same enamel-safe ingredients that dentists use. These ingredients reach beneath the enamel surface to remove teeth stains.

They also incorporate Advanced Seal Technology’s no slip grip so that the strips stay in place, which is important for an evenly dispersed whitening job.


In addition, their no-slip grip means the strips stay put until you take them off, allowing you to talk and even drink water while whitening your teeth.

They also include two of the express whitening treatments which are perfect for last-minute whitening for events, meetings, dates or more. These express whitening treatments are also formulated with enamel-safe ingredients for a safe and successful whitening job.

How to Use: Apply once a day for 30 minutes. You'll start seeing a whiter smile after three days, with full results in 20. Discard whitestrips after use.


  • Easy to Use
  • Enamel Safe
  • Full Results in 20 Days
  • No-Slip Grip


  • Not Ideal for Sensitive Teeth

Crest 3D White Glamorous White Whitestrips

Just like the other Crest Whitestrips above, the Crest 3D Glamorous White whitestrips use the same enamel-safe ingredients as dentists do.

These whitestrips claim to remove 10 years of tough- set-in stains and are the only whitestrips accepted by the American Dental Association - so you can rest assured you are getting a safe whitening treatment you can trust.


Advanced Seal Technology helps the strip to mold to the unique shape of your teeth and also come off cleanly and easily. This will ensure that the whitening gel stays on your teeth and not your gums, where it could cause sensitivity.

In addition, the advanced seal technology makes it easier to have an even, all-over whitening job.

How to Use: Use once per day. Peel whitestrips from backing, apply firmly to the surface of the teeth and leave on for 30 minutes. Results will begin to show after 3 days, with full results in 14.


  • The only ADA Approved Whitening Strips
  • Easy to Use
  • Enamel-Safe
  • Full results in 14 Days
  • No-Slip Grip


  • Not Ideal for Sensitive Teeth
  • Removes on 10 years of stains compared to the 14 years of the White Professional Effects

MySmile White Strips

Another low-cost teeth whitening strip brand is MySmile. These strips are a dry alternative that mold to the shape of your teeth and provide whiter and brighter results.

Like the Crest competitors above, MySmile uses the same enamel-safe ingredients as dentists.


MySmile whitening strips remove stains caused by smoking, coffee, wine and other substances. When used correctly, there are no negative side effects.

These strips contain 18% Carbamide Peroxide. Customers have reported seeing results after only a few uses with some claiming to have teeth up to 3 shades lighter post-treatment.

How to Use: Apply both the bottom and top layer of whitening strips. After 10 minutes of application, remove and dispose of the strips.


  • Low-Price
  • Results After 14 days
  • Dry Strips


  • Not Ideal for Sensitive Teeth

MayBeau Whitening Strips

These are peroxide-free whitening strips that act upon both deep and surface stains for an effective whitening job. The peroxide-free formula is perfect for those with sensitive teeth or worn enamel.

Older teeth would especially benefit from the bleach-free ingredients.

In addition, these whitening strips are nearly half the price of name brand competitors.

Reviewers say they are easy to use, they have noticed a difference and that they work well on sensitive teeth. With MayBeau whitening strips you’ll get whiter, brighter teeth and noticeable results in 4 weeks.

How to Use: Peel White strips from backing. Apply the sticky gel side against your teeth, adjust the strip with finger, making it completely adhere to the tooth surface. 

Gently peel off both strips after 30 minutes. Clean off any remaining gel residue by brushing your teeth and gargling.


  • Peroxide-Free
  • Enamel-Safe
  • Ideal for Sensitive Teeth
  • Low-Price


  • Takes Longer to Complete than Competing Whitestrips (28 Days)
  • Won’t See as Dramatic Results as Those With Peroxide Formulas

FancyMay Whitening Strips

The FancyMae whitening strips are formulated with new whitening ingredients that are hydrogen peroxide free.

The product contains natural coconut whitening ingredients and delivers a fresh coconut fragrance. The gentle, hydrogen peroxide-free formula is enamel-safe and will not irritate gums - a great alternative for those with sensitive teeth!

These whitening strips work quickly and thoroughly to dissolve tooth discolorations. The kit comes with 14 sets. Use one set a day to easily remove coffee, tobacco and other yellow stains.

Your teeth will be several shades whiter after 14 days use, with long-lasting results.

In addition, the strips easily contour onto your teeth with sufficient size and length. They are easy to apply without slipping off. You can even talk, drink, and run without discomfort during the application.

How to Use: Tear open the foil packet. Remove strip with a dry hand and peel away from the carrier film. Apply sticky gel side against your teeth. 

Line up with the edge of the gums and apply gentle pressure to mold the strip securely to your teeth. Remove and discard the teeth whitening strips after 30-60 minutes. Clean off any remaining gel residue by brushing your teeth and gargling.


  • Hydrogen Peroxide Free
  • Ideal for People with Sensitive Teeth
  • Full Results in 14 Days


  • Won’t See as Dramatic Results as Those With Peroxide Formulas

In conclusion:

  • Always read (and re-read!) the whitening strip instructions for a safe whitening experience.
  • Do your research to avoid purchasing whitening strips with harmful chemicals and ingredients.
  • Take care of your teeth post-treatment to maximize your results and make your teeth whiter for longer.

If you’re wanting a white smile without breaking the bank, whitening strips are a great alternative to in-office whitening and a major step up from whitening toothpastes and rinses!

And as with most dental treatments, check with your dentist before application. They can check your teeth and gums to make sure they are in okay to withstand the teeth whitening strips. They may also be able to recommend products best suited for your teeth.

Teeth Whitening Strips

How Do Whitening Strips Work?

Whitening strips are made out of a thin elastic called polyethylene and are coated in a peroxide gel, or similar bleaching agent.

Some whitening strips will contain more gel than others. Much like bleach can take pesky stains out of clothes, peroxide can remove surface stains from teeth. Once the whitening strips are applied, the whitening agents (peroxide) in the teeth whitening strips penetrate the enamel of the tooth to clear out the discolored molecules beneath.

But how?

Once past the the outermost layer of tooth, or the enamel, the whitening agents come into contact with the tiny, discolored molecules within the pores of your teeth (which cannot be reached with basic dental hygiene products like toothpastes or mouth rinses.) These molecules mix with the oxygen molecules in the whitening solution, breaking them apart until they dissolve. 

The oxygen molecules then begin to cover the entire surface of the tooth, until you have achieved your desired results.

Most whitening strips will contain an average of 3% hydrogen peroxide but that number will vary from treatment to treatment. Check the back of the box and look for how much peroxide is in the whitening gel.

The higher the number, the more effective and longer-lasting the effects will be. (But be careful - you also increase your chance of tooth sensitivity and enamel degradation the more peroxide you apply to your teeth!)

Are Whitening Strips Safe?


 When used correctly, whitening strips are completely safe to use. However, misusing the strips or using a product that contains a higher amount of peroxide may lead to increased temporary tooth sensitivity and discomfort.

How to Use Whitening Strips

As is the case with most whitening treatments, proper use of the whitening strips is key. Basically, how you use your whitening strips will have a direct effect on your whitening results.

To start, remove one whitening treatment from the box. Each treatment is individually wrapped in a foil package (which often also contain instructions!) and each one contains two strips - one for your bottom teeth and one for your top.

These strips have an adhesive side that you apply directly onto your teeth. Again, all teeth whitening strips will have instructions on exactly how to place the whitening strips and a diagram informing you of which strip is for your bottom teeth and which is for your top to ensure maximum results.

Simply apply the whitening strips in the appropriate spots, with the gel side touching your teeth, and the whitening agents will begin to work. It’s important not to swallow any of the gel while you are whitening as the peroxide can be harmful to your health. (It’s okay if you accidentally swallow a tiny amount.)

What Can I Do While Wearing My Teeth Whitening Strips?


One of the biggest benefits to using whitening strips is that you can multitask while they are on. Watch tv, read a book, do the dishes, etc.

However, it is advised not to eat or drink anything while using the whitening strips (although most whitening strips will let you drink water) to avoid disrupting the whitening process.

How Long Should You Leave Them On?


You can find all recommended times in the instructions section of your whitening strip box or container. It’s always important to read these instructions carefully and completely to ensure you have a safe and effective teeth whitening experience.

How long you leave on your whitening strips will also  depend on what type of whitening strips you are using.

There are two basic types of whitening strips: The first are ones that you remove and discard after a certain amount of time has passed. You cannot recycle or reuse whitening strips.

The second will dissolve into your teeth after a certain period of time (usually 10-15 minutes) and require no removal. These types of whitening strips are generally less effective because they have to include small enough doses of the whitening chemicals so as to not be harmful.

Why Does It Matter How Long I Leave Them On?


Leaving whitening strips on for too little time will prevent your teeth from receiving the full whitening treatment. On the other hand, leaving on the whitening strips for too long may harm enamel, irritate your gums or cause white spots to appear on the surface of your teeth.

Again, always check the instructions to make sure you take off your whitening strips at the right time.

What If I Miss A Day Of Whitening? 

Generally, missing a day will not have any major impact on the overall success of the teeth whitening treatment. Simply continue to use the whitening strips as normal the following day.

Do not double up on teeth whitening days! There is a reason you are only meant to do one treatment a day. Exposing your teeth to that many teeth whitening chemicals in 24 hours can cause great sensitivity, pain or even damage to your teeth.

How Long Does A Full Whitening Strip Treatment Take? 

Most whitening treatments are done 1-2 times a day for an average of 2 weeks. It is recommended you wait at least 4-6 months after a whitening treatment ends before beginning another. This will give your teeth ample time to heal and for your enamel to strengthen.

When Does A Whitening Strip Treatment Not Work? 

Like most whitening treatments, whitening strips will not whiten veneers, crowns or caps. Therefore teeth whitening candidates with prior dental restorations may not reach their desired results with teeth whitening strips. Because the whitening strips can only whiten the natural tooth, those people might experience an uneven whitening job.

Of course, teeth whitening strips are completely safe to use on veneers and the like, so there’s no hazard in opting to use whitening strips even if you have dental restorations. 

What to Do After Applying Whitening Strips - Procedure

Brushing: It’s important to brush your teeth before putting on the whitening strips. This will help remove any excess food or plaque that might prevent the whitening strips from reaching your enamel for an even whitening job.

In addition, your teeth will be weakened and sensitive after application of the whitening strips, so brushing immediately after could cause discomfort or even damage the enamel on your teeth.


(Of course, if there you find there is excess gel remaining on your gums, it’s okay to gently brush or wipe it off.)

Speaking of gentle… To further aid your teeth whitening efforts, try swapping your regular toothbrush for a soft-bristled one instead. This will give you a gentler brushing experience and will prevent any enamel-damage or irritation of the gums.

Food and Drink: For best results, do not consume any heavily pigmented food or beverages after using teeth whitening strips. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Coffee
  • Dark Soda
  • Tea
  • Red Meats
  • Fruits (Except bananas)
  • Red Sauce
  • Soy Sauce

These substances can re-stain your teeth and interrupt your teeth whitening treatment. Wait at least an hour before consuming these products. (Pro tip: Using a straw can prevent stain-causing beverages from coming into contact with your teeth!)

You can also read more about what to do after you whitening your teeth

Pros and Cons of Whitening Strips

Let’s go over the pros and cons of teeth whitening strips below:


  • Less Expensive - Whitening strips are much cheaper than in-office whitening treatments.
  • Convenient - Whitening strips are extremely easy to use and can be done anywhere.
  • Results - You will notice whiter teeth within about 4 days of use and the effects will last for a few months.


  • Weaker than In-Office Treatments - Because whitening strips contain lower amounts of peroxide, the treatments are not as strong as some you might receive in-office by your dentist.
  • Won’t Whiten All Your Teeth - Most teeth whitening strips will only cover your front (top and bottom) 6 teeth, do not every single tooth will receive a whitening experience.
  • Not Ideal for Sensitive Teeth - Because the whitening strips are applied directly onto the teeth, they are not an ideal method of whitening for people with extremely sensitive teeth. (But, in general, should feel comfortable to most people).

In general, whitening strips are safe and effective when used correctly. They are a great alternative for those who cannot afford dentist-administered treatments and are convenient to use.

What to Look For In Whitening Strips

When shopping for whitening strips, there are a few important things to look for. Although they may promise similar results, not all whitening strips are the same.

Some may even contain active ingredients that can permanently damage your teeth. Therefore, when selecting a whitening strip brand, consider the following:

  1. Chlorine Dioxide - Steer clear of any whitening strips that contain chlorine dioxide. Although most popular whitening strip brands do not contain this ingredient, it’s important to always check the back of the box. Chlorine Dioxide is a chemical used to clean pools (AKA… it’s super strong!) and can eat away at your enamel, severely damaging your teeth.

  2. ADA Seal of Acceptance - Always try to look for American Dental Association (ADA) approved products to ensure you’re using the best and safest teeth whitening products. You can find a list of ADA accepted products here.

How Much Do Whitening Strips Cost?

Most whitening strips cost an average of $25-50 for around 2 weeks of treatment. This is a major bargain compared to some in-office treatments that can cost upwards of $1,000!