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If you’ve been on the quest for the best products that'll leave you with a brighter smile, you’re not alone—according to Hexa Research, the global market for teeth whitening products is expected to reach over 7 billion dollars by 2024. (Yes, that's billion with a B). Accordingly, there's a wide variety of whitening products out there—and while whitening mouthwashes may not necessarily get the same attention as the uber-popular OTC whitening strips or flashy in-office treatments, they can be a great option for several reasons.
“In comparison to other whitening products, mouthwashes are the simplest to use and implement,” explains Dr. Jennifer Haddad, a cosmetic dentist based in West Hollywood. Beverly Hills-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Matt Nejad agrees, adding that they're especially great for warding off stains between professional cleanings. Translation: You may not get the dramatic whitening you’d get from other products, but given that they’re so easy to use and incorporate into your daily routine, it’s worth a swish.
Meet the Expert
Lawrence Fung, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental in Culver City, California. He is also the clinical instructor at the Center for Esthetic Dentistry at UCLA.
Dr. Jennifer Haddad, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist in West Hollywood. She focuses on minimally-invasive dentistry, and has also served as faculty for the University of South California.
Dr. Matt Nejad, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills whose celebrity clientele including Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In addition to being a clinical instructor at the University of South California, he also leads continuing education for dentists around the world and is a leading expert in veneers.
So what exactly should we look for in a mouth wash? Most whitening mouthwashes usually contain a form of hydrogen peroxide (the same active ingredient as is found in many other OTC products and professional-strength treatments)—which, as Fung points out, whitens via its oxidizing properties.
Ahead, the best whitening mouthwashes to rinse with now.
Best Overall: Crest 3D White Glamorous White Whitening Mouthwash
A triple-action formula makes this effective for whitening teeth, protecting against future stains, and killing the germs that cause bad breath. The brand claims you can see results in just two days, and Haddad, who’s a fan, says it does in fact work fast—even within a week. She also lauds it for being alcohol-free, so you won’t get any of that uncomfortable burning or dryness during or after use.
Best Budget: Solimo Whitening Mouthwash
“This is a great, low-cost alternative that still contains the same main whitening active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide,” says Dr. Lawrence Fung, DDS, founder of Silicon Beach Dental in Los Angeles. (It’s Amazon’s in-house brand, hence the super wallet-friendly price). Indeed, happy Amazon reviewers comment repeatedly on the great value, as well as the whitening effects, particularly on daily stains from things such as coffee.
Best Drugstore: Colgate Optic White Whitening Mouthwash
Fung says this wash, which has a 2 percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide (slightly higher than many of its counterparts), works well. It’s also alcohol-free and will work even faster if you pair it with the brand’s Optic White toothpaste, which is also hydrogen peroxide-based.
Best With Fluoride: ACT Anticavity + Whitening Mouthwash
Both Fung and Haddad like this pick because it contains fluoride. “This mouthwash, compared to all others, works in a two-fold manner because it whitens and prevents against cavity formation with fluoride,” explains Haddad. You only need to use it once a day, and the bottle has a convenient dosing system that lets you squirt out just the right amount.
Runner-Up, Best with Fluoride: Listerine Healthy White Vibrant Multi-Action Fluoride Mouthwash
“This is the only whitening mouthwash I use and it works well,” says Nejad. It, too, contains fluoride for cavity prevention and tooth-strengthening purposes, along with hydrogen peroxide (Nejad points out that your mouth will be bubbly from the peroxide). Pro tip: To maximize the whitening effect and stain removal, avoiding rinsing this off for 30 minutes, advises Nejad.
Best With Charcoal: hello Activated Charcoal Extra Freshening Mouthwash
While this may not be called a whitening mouthwash, Fung and Haddad say it can indeed have that effect, thanks to the addition of activated charcoal. Sure, it might seem a little counterintuitive to rinse your mouth with something that looks black in your quest for whiter teeth—but try it. “Activated charcoal absorbs stain-causing particles, while also absorbing the odors that cause bad breath,” says Fung. Haddad agrees, pointing out that it’s a good option for generally making teeth look brighter and also that it’s free of artificial flavors and dyes.
Best for Sensitive Gums: Dr. Brite Whitening Mouthwash
“The perk of this natural mouthwash is that it incorporates vitamin C to help soothe and nourish the gums,” says Haddad. “It also has an excellent flavor that most tend to rave about,” she adds. It’s alcohol-free as well, and the majority of the natural ingredients it contains (aloe and mint leaf oil) are organic.
Best Preventative: Oral Essentials Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash
This natural, hydrogen peroxide-free option relies on ingredients such as sea salt, coconut, lemon peel, and clove flower. Also in the mix is xylitol, which Haddad says gives you even more bang for your buck. “Xylitol helps prevent tooth decay," she explains. "Not only are you whitening your teeth with this product, but you’re also decreasing the stickiness of plaque, decreasing bad oral bacteria as a result."