It’s clear that patients seem to enjoy the overall teeth whitening experience, and nowadays, there are so many methods for doing so; even at home! It’s important to be informed of the risks associated with using over the counter teeth whitening products, because many of them contain either bleach or peroxide. These products can damage enamel if exposed to teeth for long periods of time.

Even though our list of pros and cons describes each method, it’s important to consult your cosmetic dentist so they can offer you options that may not be possible over the counter. Many times over the counter methods will be cheaper, but a professional whitening will always be the safest method to achieving a whiter and brighter smile.

Whitening Toothpaste – Pros and Cons

Several major brands are now selling toothpaste that whitens the teeth in regular department stores. These products have become popular because of how easy it is and many people have begun using the products instead of typical whitening methods. The toothpastes usually have a slight abrasiveness to the texture, which can  be a turn-off for users. But once you’re used to that, it is very similar to regular toothpaste in flavor, and are able to lighten teeth within one week of use. After a long use period, the results have been mixed for how effective toothpaste whitening can be past whitening a couple shades.


  • Fast whitening
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy application for teeth


  • Consumers must use every day
  • Abrasive texture
  • Potential allergens or adverse reactions

Gel Whitening – Pros and Cons

Gel Whitening is generally an easy to use product, but can be a strange process for some  people. Many times this product can take multiple weeks to start showing lasting results, but it is a very easy on the go product to use, unlike whitening strips. The gel can come in several different strengths and variations of substance, which makes it good for someone who’s trying to get the most out of their whitening process.


  • Easy to use gel whitening substance
  • Popular brand names now available
  • Low cost for the option


  • Long term use is untested
  • Consumers not sure which to choose
  • Hard to find the product

Rinse Whitening – Pros and Cons

Everyone could use a good rinse for their mouth after brushing their teeth. Rinse whitening is a over the counter option for at home whitening. With small amounts of peroxide, it’s easy to replace these washes with typical anti-bacterial mouthwashes, with the ability to brighten your smile! Many of these rinses have been claimed ineffective, or at least slow to whiten multiple shades. Since the peroxide makes contact for such little time, it’s reasonable that the product might not be as effective as other teeth whitening methods. But with many over the counter options to choose from, it’s important to find information on the best rinse whitening products.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to try
  • Varieties


  • Dangerous to swallow
  • Results vary

Whitening Trays – Pros and Cons

Consumers seem to prefer whitening trays for use at home. Many times dental clinics with provide access to them, but still many people choose to buy the products over the counter. These whitening trays are easy to apply and will get results quickly. Dentist provided whitening trays fit better than over the counter ones but forming to your teeth specifically. Other whitening tray products have been know to potentially ooze out and irritate gum tissue. This can potentially damage enamel is exposed for a long time to teeth, and will leave a poor taste in the users mouth. If you experience this problem, please schedule an appointment with your dental professional so they can inform you on how to avoid the problem in the future.


  • Brand name products available
  • Dentists have supplies in the clinic
  • Fast results


  • Can be expensive
  • Potential negative side effects

Whitening Strips – Pros and Cons

These are perhaps the easiest over the counter whitening products to use. Whitening strips are coated with layers of peroxide that will slowly whiten teeth after a couple weeks. Many times the product will require daily use for anywhere from 30 minutes to a half an hour of whitening. This can be a grueling process but shows effective results in lightening the shade of teeth and bringing out the white.


  • Simple for everyday use
  • Most patients can try them
  • Inexpensive


  • Excessive use potentially harmful
  • Slow results

Professional Teeth Whitening – Pros and Cons

This procedure is usually quite fast and develops results instantly. Many patients walk away with a brighter smile after one session. Many clinics will go through the process with you and explain the procedure, so you receive the best teeth whitening effects. This method is considered safe by professionals and could even be a free service from your clinic if you are a regular client!


  • Work is done by professionals
  • Instant results
  • Safe for teeth
  • Removes deep stains


  • Procedures can be expensive
  • Limited service could be provided

Finding the Best Teeth Whitening Method

After going through this comprehensive list, you are able to understand the benefits and downsides to all of the popular whitening methods. Many times these methods will vary in results, and its important to do research on impact so you can effectively make your smile the way you want it! Over the counter whitening methods are usually safe but may contain chemicals like peroxide and bleach, which could damage your teeth or gums. Name brand products will be the safest to use and there are reviews to help consumers choose the best products. Many times asking a professional for their opinion will be the best route of action, and you are welcome to communicate with Dr. Tam and her team of trusted dental professionals through our contact page.