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Teeth whitening is a monster-size industry—every year, about $1 billion is spent on procedures just to make our teeth prettier. A study from 2012 investigating the connection between teeth color, spacing, and perceived attractiveness found that darker, yellower teeth (curse all those macchiatos!) were rated notably lower on the attractiveness scale, particularly when participants were judging women. For that reason, in-office and at-home teeth-whitening treatments are big business.
For those with sensitive teeth, mouthwashes with active whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide (but without alcohol, which can cause dry mouth and bad bacteria) might be an option worth exploring over trays, strips, or professional procedures. And for everyone else, they could simply be a good addition to your whitening routine.
Here, we've rounded up the best whitening mouthwashes to help you find a product that might work for you.
Best Overall: Crest 3D White Luxe Whitening Mouthwash
This bleaching product may be fast and effective, but it's also alcohol-free, so it won't burn your mouth. Crest's formula boasts a triple action effect that will effectively remove (and prevent more) stubborn stains while protecting your gums and banishing bacteria. Use it twice a day for a month or two and you'll definitely see results.
Best Drugstore: Colgate Optic White Whitening Mouthwash
This gentle, alcohol-free formula will never sting as you swish; and if you're cool with 2% hydrogen peroxide (which is a little higher than most other brands), it's definitely worth a try, especially if you're interested in seeing whitening results in three to four weeks, as opposed to six or eight.
Best Natural: Oral Essentials Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash
This effective whitening product uses no traditional bleaching products (no peroxide, no baking soda)—just a combination of natural ingredients like sea salt, coconut, lemon peel, and clove flower. Plus, instead of fluoride, this stuff contains Xylitol, a natural preventer of tooth decay. You'll have to wait six weeks or more to see results, but if you're into nontoxic, non-GMO formulas, it's worth the wait.
Runner-Up, Best Natural: Yala Peppermint Coconut Oil Whitening Mouthwash
Good luck finding mouthwash packaging more adorable than this one by natural brand Yala, which offers a unique blend of virgin coconut oil, essential oils, and Xylitol that works to freshen breath, prevent tooth decay, and promote healthier gums. You have to swish the product in your mouth for 15 minutes every day for whitening effects, but if your jaw doesn't tire easily, have at it.
Best Alcohol-Free: Dr. Ginger's Coconut Mint Mouthwash
Another oil-pulling mouthwash comes from Doctor Ginger's, a fluoride-free, peroxide-free, alcohol-free, dye-free, and sugar-free product that has many positive reviews on Amazon. Coconut oil, silica, Xylitol, and natural mint flavor are just a few of the goodies on its all-natural ingredient list.
Best for Sensitive Teeth: Popwhite Whitening Toner Oral Rinse
Popwhite's fun purple formula contains enamel-protecting Xylitol, stain-removing silica, and coconut for a glossy, bright effect. The product also contains special, patented color-correcting ingredients to make your teeth look noticeably whiter when used twice a day for two weeks.
Best Organic: Essential Oxygen Organic Brushing Rinse
This 100% organic mouthwash is one of the greenest and gentlest on the market: It's free of gluten, alcohol, chlorine bleach, sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, pesticides, glycerin, and the list goes on. Instead, the ingredient contains just the good stuff, including aloe vera, food-grade hydrogen peroxide, and essential peppermint oil. With this stuff, you can expect to see whitening effects after six weeks.
Want to take a look at some other options? Check out our guide to the best teeth whitening products that actually work.