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What you need to whiten your teeth at home

The best time to floss your teeth is right before you brush. Flossing helps remove any food or plaque buildup between your teeth, preventing gum disease and bad breath. Brush twice a day to prevent buildup and stains.
The best time to floss your teeth is right before you brush. Flossing helps remove any food or plaque buildup between your teeth, preventing gum disease and bad breath. Brush twice a day to prevent buildup and stains. (BestReviews)

How to whiten teeth at home

Everyone wants to sport a pearly, glowing smile. But over time, teeth can become stained. This is especially true if you drink tea or coffee regularly. And no matter how good you are about brushing and flossing, it’s hard to keep your teeth glowing and white.

However, there are ways to boost your smile. And they don’t require an expensive or uncomfortable trip to the dentist. If you have the right tools and products at home, you can create a routine to help whiten your teeth naturally.

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Here’s everything you need to make your teeth look white, bright and beautiful from the comfort of your bathroom.

Electric vs. manual toothbrush for whitening

Many people ask, which is better — a manual toothbrush or an electric one? Most dentists recommend an electric toothbrush for a few different reasons.

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Electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer to ensure you clean your teeth for the recommended two minutes. Some also include pressure sensors to let you know if you’re pushing too hard, which can cause gum damage.

The motion and pulsing of an electric toothbrush will help clear away any plaque and bacteria buildup, which may cause stains or tooth decay. And anyone with limited mobility will benefit from an electric toothbrush since they tend to reach the back of your mouth more easily. This ensures you can clean hard-to-reach molars and wisdom teeth.

The good news is you can easily find a high-quality, electric toothbrush without breaking the bank. And these toothbrushes will perform better than your typical manual toothbrush.

How often should you use mouthwash?

You can use mouthwash every day, but keep in mind that mouthwash is an additional step and should not replace brushing or flossing. In fact, it's best to use mouthwash at a different time than when you're brushing.

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Mouthwash can actually wash away the fluoride in your toothpaste after brushing. So, instead of swishing right after brushing, try using a whitening mouthwash after lunch. Do not eat or drink for at least half an hour after spitting it out. This lets the fluoride in the mouthwash settle into your teeth to strengthen and clean them more deeply.

What you need to whiten your teeth

A good routine for white teeth starts with the right toothbrush and toothpaste. But it doesn’t stop there. Here are the extra tools that can bring dull or stained teeth back to their full pearly glory.

Best toothpaste for whitening at home

Sensodyne Pronamel Strong and Bright Enamel Toothpaste: available at Amazon

Our take: Sensodyne makes toothpaste for even the most sensitive mouths, and this one helps build strong, healthy enamel that shines.

What we like: This powerful toothpaste does it all. It removes existing stains and helps to build up damaged enamel to prevent new stains from forming. Plus, it helps reduce tooth sensitivity.

What we dislike: This toothpaste alone may not be enough to remove long-standing, dark stains on teeth.

Best electric toothbrush for whitening at home

Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Flossing Electric Toothbrush: available at Amazon

Our take: Waterpik is a leader in at-home dental care, and this toothbrush is another example of their quality products and smart design. It combines a toothbrush and water-flosser into one handy device.

What we like: This feature-rich, eclectic toothbrush has 10 different pressure settings, making it a great choice for any user. A two-minute timer ensures you brush for the right amount of time, every time. Not only that, but the toothbrush buzzes every 30 seconds to nudge you into the next section of your mouth for an all-around clean.

What we dislike: Some users note that using the brush and flosser isn't as intuitive or straightforward as they expected.

Best mouthwash for whitening

Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash with Extra Whitening: available at Amazon

Our take: This inexpensive whitening mouthwash does its job without being too harsh and won't leave a burning feeling on your tongue.

What we like: It's great to know that Crest mouthwash helps strengthen enamel, which can prevent cavities. Many users note a noticeable difference in tooth whiteness after just a few weeks of use.

What we dislike: This mouthwash has a thick foamy texture that some users do not like, compared to thinner, less bubbly options.

Best tooth whitening kits

Snow At-Home Teeth Whitening All-in-One Kit: available at Snow

Our take: This at-home kit relies on LED lights, which is great for users with sensitive teeth.

What we like: The LED light technology is both safe to use and highly effective. It also only takes nine minutes a day, so it's easy to fit in even if you have a busy schedule.

What we dislike: Deep stains may take longer to remove, and some users find the device uncomfortable to wear.

Best tooth whitening gels

Active Wow Teeth Whitening Premium Kit with LED Light: available at Amazon

Our take: Active Wow makes a highly-rated, user-friendly tooth whitening kit that works quickly and effectively.

What we like: These gels are easy to apply with the included tray. You only need to wear them for 20 minutes at a time, with a 10-minute recovery gel after application. In addition, this is a more affordable gel option that may produce visible results after just three applications.

What we dislike: Unlike minimal whitening strips, the gel trays can be bulky and awkward to wear.

Best electric water flossers

iTeknic Water Flosser: available at Amazon

Our take: This eclectic water flosser packs a serious punch and easily blasts away plaque, food residue and bacteria between your teeth.

What we like: Users can choose from 10 different pressure settings to find the right water pressure for their teeth. There are even several gentle options that kids can use. The flosser also has a few different head attachments to help you reach different parts of your mouth. The long cord makes it easy to use the machine without unplugging it.

What we dislike: At high pressure, this water flosser can be quite loud.

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Best charcoal toothpaste 

Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste: available at Amazon

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Our take: Activated charcoal is known to draw out stains and impurities on the surface of your teeth. Brushing with it may help reduce visible coloration on your teeth.

What we like: Tom's of Maine includes baking soda in their charcoal toothpaste, which gives this product a sudsy sensation similar to classic fluoride toothpaste. It also includes natural peppermint oil for a minty fresh feeling after brushing.

What we dislike: The minty flavor isn't for everyone. And charcoal toothpaste, in general, tends to be thinner and more gritty than traditional toothpaste, which some users do not enjoy.

Lizzy Briskin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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