Best Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth

Jump to Section

The International Journal of Dental Clinics is reader supported. We may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of our links.

Looking for the best teeth whitening for sensitive teeth? Consider using over-the-counter toothpaste or whitening strips, professional teeth whitening, or natural remedies such as oil pulling. Choose the best method for your needs and maintain good oral health and hygiene.

A bright, white smile is highly desired, but for people with sensitive teeth, achieving a brighter smile can be difficult. Tooth sensitivity is a common dental condition that causes teeth to become painful or uncomfortable when exposed to hot or cold temperatures, sweet or acidic foods, or even air. When considering teeth whitening options, it’s critical to consider tooth sensitivity, as some methods can aggravate the condition.

We’ll look at the best teeth whitening options for sensitive teeth, including over-the-counter products, professional treatments, and natural remedies, in this article. Individuals with sensitive teeth can achieve a brighter smile without the discomfort or pain associated with traditional whitening methods by considering these options.

Understanding tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a widespread dental condition that affects a large number of people. Tooth sensitivity causes discomfort and pain due to a variety of factors, including enamel erosion, gum recession, tooth decay, and teeth grinding. As a result, people with sensitive teeth may struggle to achieve a brighter, whiter smile using traditional teeth whitening methods. In some cases, these methods can aggravate tooth sensitivity and cause additional pain.

It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of tooth sensitivity in order to select the best teeth whitening option for people suffering from this condition. Tooth enamel is the tooth’s outermost layer and is in charge of protecting the tooth’s sensitive inner layers. When enamel wears away or is damaged, the underlying dentin is exposed, which contains microscopic tubules that lead to the tooth’s nerve endings. When these nerve endings are stimulated, it can result in a sharp, sudden pain or discomfort, which is characteristic of tooth sensitivity.

Gum recession, as well as enamel erosion, can contribute to tooth sensitivity. When the gums recede, the root surfaces of the teeth become visible, which are not protected by enamel and are more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Tooth decay and grinding can also contribute to tooth sensitivity by wearing away the enamel or causing tooth damage.

Those with sensitive teeth are likely to experience discomfort or even pain during or after traditional teeth whitening treatments such as whitening strips, gels, or in-office procedures. These methods typically involve the use of peroxide-based whitening agents, which can cause tooth and gum irritation and sensitivity. This is why it is so important to choose the best teeth whitening product for sensitive teeth.

Different types of teeth whitening options for sensitive teeth

In this section of the article, we’ll cover the best options available when it comes to whitening sensitive teeth:

Over-the-counter whitening products

Over-the-counter whitening products are a popular option for people with sensitive teeth who want a cost-effective and convenient way to whiten their teeth. For example, whitening toothpaste contains mild abrasives and whitening agents that help remove surface stains while being gentle on tooth enamel. Over-the-counter whitening strips and gels are also widely available and can provide effective whitening results for people with sensitive teeth. However, it is super important to carefully read product labels and select a product designed specifically for sensitive teeth. These products usually contain less peroxide or other active ingredients that can irritate sensitive teeth and gums.

Professional in office whitening

Professional teeth whitening options, such as in-office treatments or take-home kits from a dentist, are more expensive than over-the-counter products but can provide more dramatic and long-lasting results. In-office teeth whitening treatments typically use high-concentration peroxide gels, which can cause significant discomfort or pain in people who have sensitive teeth. A dentist, on the other hand, can use desensitising agents to reduce tooth sensitivity during treatment. A dentist’s at-home whitening kits typically use lower-concentration whitening gels that are safe and effective for sensitive teeth.

Natural ways to whiten teeth

Natural teeth whitening remedies such as oil pulling, activated charcoal, and baking soda are popular choices. Swishing oil (usually coconut oil) in the mouth for several minutes to remove stains and bacteria from the teeth is known as oil pulling. Activated charcoal is a fine black powder that can be used to remove surface stains when mixed with water or toothpaste. Baking soda can also be used to gently and naturally whiten teeth. However, these remedies should be used with caution because they may not be suitable for everyone and may cause additional tooth sensitivity if used excessively.

Pros and cons of each teeth whitening option

When considering teeth whitening options for sensitive teeth, it’s critical to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

Over-the-counter whitening products

  • Pros of over-the-counter whitening products: They are widely available, inexpensive, and convenient.
  • Cons: It may take longer to achieve the desired results, and if not formulated for sensitive teeth, it may cause tooth sensitivity or irritation.

Teeth whitening by a professional

  • Pros: Advantages include more effective and long-lasting results, professional supervision and support, and the availability of desensitising agents.
  • Cons: Costlier, requires more time and effort to visit the dentist, and may cause temporary tooth sensitivity or irritation.

Natural remedies

  • Pros: They are inexpensive and easily accessible, and they may provide additional oral health benefits.
  • Cons: It may take longer to achieve the desired results, it may not be as effective as other options, and if not used properly, it may cause tooth sensitivity or irritation.

The most common concerns about the side effects of each option are tooth sensitivity and irritation. Over-the-counter medications and natural remedies may have fewer side effects than professional treatments, but they may be less effective. Furthermore, professional treatments can be tailored to reduce sensitivity, whereas over-the-counter and natural remedies may not provide the same level of customization.

Over-the-counter products and natural remedies are the most accessible and affordable options in terms of cost and convenience, whereas professional treatments may be more expensive and require more time and effort. Finally, the best teeth whitening option for people with sensitive teeth will be determined by their personal preferences, budget, and dental health requirements.

Best sensitive teeth whitening products on the market

Here are some of the best sensitive teeth whitening products:

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Gentle

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Gentle strips are made with a gentler whitening agent that will cause less sensitivity or irritation. They can be used for up to 30 minutes per day and show results in as little as 14 days.

Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste

Designed specifically for people with sensitive teeth, this toothpaste provides gentle whitening without causing discomfort or pain. It contains potassium nitrate, which helps to soothe nerves in the teeth and prevent sensitivity, and should be used twice a day for best results.

Truewhite Teeth Whitening Pen

Truewhite Teeth Whitening Pen: This whitening pen is simple to use and gentle on sensitive teeth. It has a lower hydrogen peroxide concentration than many other whitening pens and can be applied directly to the teeth for targeted whitening results. It’s also great for touch-ups and on-the-go use.

Snow Teeth Whitening

Snow Teeth is an at-home teeth whitening system is gentle on sensitive teeth while still producing effective results. To reduce sensitivity, this teeth whitening kit uses a novel formula that combines a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide with desensitising agents. The Snow Teeth whitening kit also includes a desensitising serum to help prevent discomfort.

Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device

The Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device gently whitens teeth without causing sensitivity by utilising LED light technology. It contains less peroxide, making it suitable for people with sensitive teeth. The device also comes with a desensitising gel that helps to reduce tooth sensitivity and improve overall oral health.

Tips on preventing tooth sensitivity during teeth whitening

Teeth sensitivity can make teeth whitening difficult, but there are steps that can be taken to avoid or minimise discomfort. Here are some suggestions for avoiding sensitivity while teeth whitening:

  • Use desensitising products: Many teeth whitening products, both over-the-counter and professional, include or can be used in conjunction with desensitising agents. These products can aid in reducing sensitivity and the risk of irritation.
  • Select the right whitening product: It is critical to select a whitening product that is designed for sensitive teeth. Look for products with low levels of peroxide and other harsh chemicals that can aggravate sensitivity.
  • Limit the frequency and duration of whitening: Excessive use of whitening products or leaving them on for an extended period of time can increase the risk of sensitivity. If you are unsure, follow the instructions that came with the product and consult with a dentist.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene: Brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings on a regular basis can help to prevent sensitivity and maintain oral health. It is especially important to maintain good oral hygiene before and after teeth whitening treatments.

Teeth whitening products to avoid if you have sensitive teeth

People with sensitive teeth should exercise caution when choosing teeth whitening products, as some can aggravate sensitivity and cause discomfort or pain. If you have sensitive teeth, avoid the following teeth whitening products:

  • Many over-the-counter and professional teeth whitening gels contain high concentrations of peroxide, which can irritate the teeth and gums and worsen sensitivity. To reduce the risk of sensitivity, look for gels with lower peroxide concentrations.
  • Whitening trays and mouthguards: These products can prolong the contact time between the whitening agent and the teeth, causing sensitivity. Follow the instructions carefully and consult with a dentist if you are unsure.
  • While whitening pens are convenient, they often contain high concentrations of peroxide and are difficult to apply evenly, resulting in uneven whitening and increased sensitivity.
  • Many whitening toothpastes contain abrasive agents that can wear away the enamel and increase sensitivity. Look for toothpastes with gentle cleaning agents that are formulated for sensitive teeth.
  • To reduce the risk of sensitivity and other side effects, choose teeth whitening products that are specifically formulated for sensitive teeth and carefully follow the instructions.

At home vs professional teeth whitening for sensitive teeth

When it comes to teeth whitening for sensitive teeth, people can choose between professional treatments and at-home kits. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each:

Teeth whitening by a professional dentist:


  • Done with the assistance of a dental professional
  • When compared to at-home kits, the results are more powerful and effective.
  • Treatment that can be tailored to reduce sensitivity


  • When compared to at-home kits, it is more expensive
  • Multiple appointments are required
  • May still cause some sensitivity or discomfort

At-home teeth whitening:


  • Less expensive than professional treatments
  • Convenient and can be completed in the privacy of your own home
  • Some kits are intended for people with sensitive teeth


  • Results are less powerful and effective when compared to professional treatments
  • Professional treatments may not be as adaptable
  • Some kits may still cause irritation or sensitivity

Ultimately, the best teeth whitening option for people with sensitive teeth will be determined by their specific needs and preferences. Professional treatments are more powerful and can be tailored to reduce sensitivity, but they are also more expensive and require multiple appointments. At-home kits are less expensive and more convenient, but they may not produce as powerful results and may still cause some sensitivity or discomfort.

Closing remarks on whitening sensitive teeth

A brighter, whiter smile is possible, even if you have highly sensitive teeth. Having sensitive teeth simply means that you will have to exercise a little more caution and diligence when it comes to choosing a teeth whitening product that isn’t going to cause you pain or discomfort.

People with sensitive teeth still have several teeth whitening options available to them, including over-the-counter products, professional treatments, and natural remedies. Crest 3D White Whitestrips Gentle, Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste, and Truewhite Teeth Whitening Pen, as well as the Snow Teeth Whitening and Brilliant Teeth Whitening devices, are among the best products for sensitive teeth.

To find the best fit for your individual needs, avoid harsh products and weigh the pros and cons of each option before making your choice. It is also a good idea to consul with a dentist, so that he or she can advice you on the best option for your specific needs.

It is also important to see a dentist if you experience severe tooth sensitivity or discomfort while teeth whitening, or after the treatment. This is true whether you have done the whitening yourself or had it done professionally by a dentist.

All in all, people with sensitive teeth can still achieve a brighter, whiter smile with the right approach and products.


Q: Can I get my teeth whitened if I have sensitive teeth?

A: Yes, you can have your teeth whitened if you have sensitive teeth, but you will have to exercise caution and select the proper method to avoid exacerbating sensitivity or discomfort.

People with sensitive teeth have plenty of teeth whitening options, including over-the-counter products, professional treatments, and natural remedies. To find the best fit for your individual needs, avoid products using harsh ingredients, and carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option. Consider discussing your teeth whitening options with a dentist if you are concerned about whether the teeth whitening option you are considering could be too abrasive for your sensitive teeth.

Q: How can I lighten my sensitive teeth?

A: If you have sensitive teeth and want to lighten their appearance, there are several things you can try.

Start out by ensuring that you have a good base level of oral hygiene in order ot remove surface stains and preventing further discoloration. Brushing and flossing on a regular basis can help keep your teeth white.

There are also several whitening options designed specifically for sensitive teeth. Over-the-counter products like toothpaste, whitening strips, and gels can provide gentle whitening, while professional teeth whitening options like in-office treatments or at-home kits provided by a dentist can also be effective for people with sensitive teeth.

Natural remedies like oil pulling, activated charcoal, and baking soda are also popular, though they may not be as effective as professional or over-the-counter products.

If you have particularly sensitive teeth, you should always consider the product’s strength, ingredients, and potential for causing discomfort or pain when choosing a teeth whitening option. Go for a gentle product that will not aggravate tooth sensitivity while still providing effective whitening results. Using desensitising products and limiting the frequency and duration of whitening can also help prevent sensitivity.

Q: Is professional teeth whitening safe for sensitive teeth?

A: Yes, in fact professional teeth whitening is the the safest option if you want to whiten sensitive teeth, because the dentist will be able to tailor your teeth whitening treatment to your specific needs and requirements.

By contrast, when you buy an over-the-counter option, it can be much harder for you to accurately gauge the whitening intensity and whether or not the ingredients used are suitable for your specific needs.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.