What you need for teeth whitening at home
Professional teeth-whitening treatments can be expensive, so many people opt for whitening teeth at home to save money. With nearly hundreds of products on the market — from whitening strips to whitening mouthwash — there’s no shortage of options.
Finding the best at-home teeth-whitening products involves a little trial and error. Some people prefer options that deliver rapid results, while others seek gentler treatments that are less likely to trigger tooth sensitivity. Price remains a top concern, and fortunately, there are do-it-yourself teeth-whitening products for every budget. We rounded up the best teeth whitener options on the market, including whitening toothpaste, gel, strips, mouthwash, pens and kits.
How does teeth whitening work?
Teeth whitening is a topical treatment that makes teeth appear brighter and whiter by removing stains or discoloration.
Most teeth whiteners such as Crest Whitestrips, contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as active ingredients. These ingredients may remove surface and deep-set stains on teeth. Some newer products for whitening teeth use activated charcoal, which is mildly abrasive and may absorb some types of stains.
Results in teeth whitening are often discussed in terms of shade improvement or how many shades whiter teeth appear. On average, teeth may end up a couple or a few shades brighter once treatment is complete.
How long it takes to see results
Depending on how strong the formula is, teeth-whitening products may take anywhere from 24 hours to one month to see dramatic results.
Some manufacturers are clearer than others in terms of disclosing how long it takes to see results. Crest 3D White Whitestrips Vivid Plus, for example, claim they deliver full results within 10 days with noticeable shade improvements. Other products, like some whitening pens, may indicate they offer overnight brightening.
What impacts results of teeth whitening?
A number of variables impact how dramatic teeth-whitening results may be. For that reason, it’s common to read mixed reviews regarding most of these products.
Deep-set stains or long-term tooth discoloration, for example, may be harder to whiten and brighten. Those who experience light staining from coffee or wine drinking, on the other hand, may notice more dramatic results. Individuals with naturally brighter teeth shades may see significant improvements in tooth brightness.
How long results last with teeth whitening
Teeth-whitening results last anywhere from three months to a couple of years. Many people seek to prolong results by using whitening oral care products, too. Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste, for example, helps to remove surface stains.
With that said, the American Dental Association advises individuals to be careful with teeth-whitening products. Unfortunately, overuse of products with a higher concentration of whitening ingredients may contribute to increased tooth sensitivity, gum irritation or enamel damage. As a result, it’s often recommended to take breaks between whitening treatments when possible.
How much does teeth whitening cost?
The most affordable teeth-whitening products are pens, toothpaste and mouthwash, which cost $20 or less. Whitening strips range anywhere from $20 to $65, while LED whitening devices cost between $90 and $300.
Best teeth-whitening products for home use
Establishing a healthy oral-care regimen
Before embarking on a teeth-whitening journey, make sure the rest of your oral care regimen is in check.
Because mild tooth sensitivity is common after teeth whitening, many people switch to toothbrushes for sensitive teeth. This Sensodyne toothbrush, for example, is appreciated for its soft, flexible bristles.
Brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush, such as this Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100, provides a deeper, more comprehensive clean. They also remove plaque better than a manual toothbrush. This model is even suitable for brushing around braces, veneers and crowns.
Traditional flossing may leave behind plaque and food particles. A water flosser, such as this popular Waterpik model, uses streams of water to gently yet effectively blast away buildup.
Best teeth-whitening strips
Whitening strips are considered a user-friendly way to whiten teeth. The strips are worn for five to 25 minutes, depending on the formula. One of the pitfalls, however, is that whitening strips often trigger tooth sensitivity.
A crowd favorite, these Crest teeth-whitening strips are easy to use and require only 30 minutes of wear time daily. The whitening and brightening results may last up to a year.
Zimba’s whitening strips are an affordable option and deliver pro-grade results. The enamel-safe formula is gentle on sensitive teeth and gums.
Popular for removing wine, coffee and tea stains, these Lumineux teeth-whitening strips offer noticeable results in less than one week. The enamel-safe formula whitens without making teeth sensitive.
Best teeth-whitening kits
LED teeth-whitening kits typically include a light tray and gel. These trays are worn for 30 to 60 minutes and may offer a more dramatic whitening effect compared to strips. However, LED whitening kits remain one of the more expensive options on the market.
This premium LED whitening kit is suitable for sensitive teeth as well as dental work. It’s praised for its nine-minute treatment, making it one of the fastest-working options on the market.
Crest’s new LED whitening kit maximizes whitening and brightening compared to Whitestrips alone. Results are considered dramatic and may last up to three years.
This affordable whitening system uses a dentist-grade 35% carbamide polymer gel whitener and a powerful LED light.
Another popular and budget-friendly option, this whitening kit uses carbamide peroxide and provides results in just 10 minutes. Keep in mind that it’s not suitable for sensitive teeth.
Best teeth-whitening toothpastes
Whitening toothpaste is formulated with abrasive ingredients, as well as whitening or bleaching agents. They’re available in a wide variety of formulas and preferences and even come in varieties for sensitive teeth whitening. Unfortunately, they’re more expensive than regular toothpaste.
A powerful, long-lasting formula, this whitening toothpaste keeps stains at bay for up to 24 hours and contains fluoride to prevent cavities.
This sensitive teeth-friendly formula also works to strengthen enamel. It’s effective at removing new, superficial stains from coffee and wine.
This peroxide and baking soda teeth-whitening formula protects teeth from new stains. It neutralizes acids that weaken and erode enamel as well.
This Hismile teeth-whitening gel went viral on social media. It uses an innovative purple formula to cancel out the yellow undertones to give you those pearly whites. The purple teeth whitener contains no peroxide and is safe for daily use.
Best teeth-whitening mouthwash
This mouthwash typically contains a hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening and bleaching formula. Like whitening toothpaste, there are many varieties on the market. According to some users, however, using whitening mouthwash on a daily basis may irritate teeth and gums.
Because this formula is enamel-safe and alcohol-free, there’s no afterburn when you rinse. It also promises to be gentle on gums.
Considered a gentle formula, this ACT mouthwash whitens without common irritants like alcohol and dyes. It removes surface stains and with prolonged use, it strengthens enamel.
Best teeth-whitening pens
Whitening pens are formulated with many of the same ingredients as whitening strips, including hydrogen peroxide. They’re travel-friendly and easy to use, and they may offer mild yet instantaneous results. However, some of these pens are known for their aftertastes.
This Colgate whitening pen is filled with a quick-drying serum that doesn’t leave a sticky residue. It’s vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.
Thanks to the tapered brush of this whitening pen, it’s easy to apply the whitening serum to all nooks and crannies. The formula offers fast, long-lasting results.
Another social media sensation, the Moon whitening pen designed by Kendall Jenner received the NewBeauty award in 2023. The formula is vegan, safe and effective for sensitive teeth. It tastes great, too, flavored with lavender, strawberry, honeysuckle flower, vanilla and mint.
Worth checking out
These prefilled Opalescence teeth whitening trays are easy to take on the go. They contain 15% hydrogen peroxide with a minty flavor, and each pack comes with 10 treatments.
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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