Crest White Strips: How They Work, Effectiveness, and Alternatives

Crest White Strips: How They Work, Effectiveness, and Alternatives
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Crest White Strips: How They Work, Effectiveness, and AlternativesClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. How Do They Work?
  2. Are They Safe?
  3. Effectiveness
  4. Alternatives
  5. Cost
  6. References
Crest White Strips are a proven and safe at-home method for getting rid of stains on teeth. Peroxide-containing gels remove discolorations from multiple layers of teeth to produce a stain-free smile. The strips range in price from $40 to $85.

How Do They Work?

Crest White Strips remove stains from teeth the same way bleach removes color on clothes. The plastic strips come lined with a gel containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both types of peroxides break down into hydrogen peroxide when they come into contact with water. 

Bleach target chromogens (pigment molecules found on teeth) that cause teeth stains. The gel in Crest White Strips bleaches chromogens on the enamel and then penetrates into the deeper dentin layer, where it also bleaches discolored areas. The penetrative property makes the strips effective against both extrinsic and intrinsic teeth stains.

Are Crest White Strips Safe?

Crest White Strips are safe when used according to instructions on its package. Problems can arise when someone uses them too frequently, which can cause a few unpleasant side effects.

The other element to watch for is fit. Whitening strips are not made to conform to the shape of your dental arch, so some of the bleach on them may make contact with your gums. This can irritate your gum tissue and cause mild pain. 

Using the strips too often can also make your teeth more sensitive to hot, cold or sweet foods. However, these effects are usually temporary. 

Heavy use and overuse of whitening strips can damage dental restorations. Bleach erodes fillings, bridges and implants made from artificial materials such as porcelain and composite.

According to a U.S. study conducted in 2018, Crest Whitestrips was the 5th top selling whitening strip at 17.6 million.

Are Crest White Strips Effective?

Dentists acknowledge Crest White Strips as an effective consumer-grade whitening solution. Data shows the strips produce whitening results so close to those gained by professional-grade solutions like Zoom whitening that many people cannot tell the difference between them. 

One study found that Crest White Strips, when used twice a day for at least 30 minutes over the course of at least three weeks, resulted in a highly significant improvement in the color of participants’ teeth. This study was conducted using 14 percent Crest White Strips Supreme. Results vary, depending on the hydrogen peroxide concentration in your strips.

Alternatives to Crest White Strips

If you don’t want to use Crest White Strips to whiten your teeth, there are two other alternatives you can try:

  • Toothpastes
  • Tray-applied 10-percent carbamide peroxide treatment


More than 50 percent of over-the-counter teeth whitening products are toothpastes. Unlike whitening strips, toothpastes work by using abrasives and mild detergents to scrub away staining particles on the surface of your teeth.

Some of the abrasives used in whitening toothpastes include: 

  • Silica
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Charcoal
  • Alumina
  • Perlite

Of these, sodium bicarbonate is the most common. It has a lower hardness value compared to enamel and dentin and poses little risk of causing surface damage. It can also help to buffer the acid in your mouth and prevent further enamel damage.

Because they have no penetrating ability, whitening toothpastes do not clean away any stains from the inner layers of your teeth.

Tray-Applied 10-Percent Carbamide Peroxide Treatment

Do-it-yourself proponents often turn to home bleaching kits that contain 10 percent carbamide peroxide. It ranks as one of the most popular whitening systems on the market.

These kits are a bit safer than whitening strips because the tray custom fits to your teeth, minimizing the risk of overexposure to bleaching chemicals. The personalize fit allows kits to deliver much higher doses of carbamide peroxide (up to 22 percent in some instances) without causing negative effects.

Peroxide-based kits cost slightly more than whitening strips, but they are better for your dental health. In fact, they have shown to have positive effects on gingival health, caries and plaque.


Crest White Strips cost between $40 and $85, depending on strength and package size. They are widely available in local pharmacies, convenience stores, grocery stores and online shops. You can order them from Amazon, eBay and through the official Crest online store.

Peroxide-based kits range from $30 to $150, depending on the product.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.