What’s the first thing people notice about you? Your eyes? Your hair? In most scenarios, it’s your smile. Think of it as a wordless way to show your new acquaintance what kind of person you are. While a smirk may read standoffish, a rampant toothy grin shows everyone that you’re a friendly person. And let’s not forget the importance of hygiene: A pearly white, food-free smile shows you’re polished, organized, and care about your appearance.
Naturally, dingy teeth that are adorned with remnants from your lunch suggest the exact opposite. The latter is easy to combat — just invest in some floss — but keeping your chompers white is not easy (especially when you’re a self-proclaimed coffee-aholic). And with so many whitening products out there, you may find yourself using grooming goods that don’t live up to their sparkly claims. But these, dear reader, are five whitening products that will actually work.
1. Baking soda
While scoring a set of pearly-white chompers is a must for anyone who wants to make a great first impression, coating your teeth with chemicals you can’t even pronounce doesn’t feel like the most ethical option. Fortunately, a more natural alternative is already lurking in your kitchen pantry. Whiter teeth is as easy as creating a paste from baking soda and water twice every week. Refinery29 says you can also make a mouthwash-like solution for similar results.
2. Colgate Optic White Toothbrush with Whitening Pen
No matter how hard you brush, there’s always that tooth or two that refuses to stay perfectly bright like the others. Writer’s discretion: One of my two front teeth is slightly bruised after a culotte-induced fall, and I’ve been searching for remedy ever since. Though this pick from Colgate looks like your average toothbrush at first glance, it comes with a detachable whitening pen that’s perfect for spot treatment. Sure, the brightening gel’s application is a little clumpy on your smile, but it dries quickly and offers considerable results after only a few days.
3. Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening System
Let’s cut to the chase: You’re busy. Between your bustling social life, volunteering calendar, extensive exercise regime, and work, you don’t have much time for grooming. You need white teeth, and you need them fast. While a lot of options on the market target customers who have all the time in the world to whiten their teeth — you’re not that person. A mix of bleach powder, whitening gel, and a comfortable mouth guard, this kit promises a quick, easy, and effective way to brighten your smile. While the product claims to offer ultra-white results after a few days, some users will even notice a difference after a single five-minute application. Plus, this blend has a neutral pH, which means it will be gentle on gums and tooth enamel.
4. Crest 3D Glamorous Whitestrips
For those with a major teeth phobia, the idea of pressing a whitening strip onto your (not-yet) pearly whites is daunting. But when you’ve tried just about everything, Crest 3D Glamorous White Strips are sure to do the trick. This pick claims to be 25 times more effective than that leading whitening toothpaste if used four times a week. And for a 30-minute application period, consider this option a great excuse to relax and catch up on an episode of Modern Family. As for those strips? Not to worry, those with odontophobia, the moldable plastic stripes promise to come off cleanly but stay in place even when you drink a glass of water.
5. Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride-Free, Antiplaque Tartar Control & Whitening Toothpaste
If you aren’t interested in adding something else to your usual routine, Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste is an incredible option. And you’ll be happy to know it’s natural, so you don’t have to think twice about what you’re putting in your mouth. The toothpaste is made with zinc citrate, which helps to prevent tartar build-up, and natural silica, which gently removes stains already on your teeth. Since you can get started right away, we have a hunch you’ll start to see progress soon.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs
Additional reporting by Jordan Porter-Woodruff