Many of the best things in life will stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juice, tomato sauce, and even curry. This is why teeth whitening treatment has grown in popularity over the years.
Many dentists offer professional whitening treatments in their office, but these can be very pricey. Luckily, home whitening treatments have grown more versatile, effective, and affordable. But with thousands of over-the-counter products on the market, it can be difficult to know what’s going to actually give you a brighter smile.
Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the active ingredients that whiten teeth. The good news is both of these teeth bleaching whiteners have been proven effective and safe.
With centuries of research-based evidence, both over-the-counter and professional whitening methods are safe and effective.
Some products (like LED teeth whitening) are more effective than whitening strips and toothpaste. However, both provide some level of teeth whitening. In-office teeth whitening is the most effective option and provides the longest-lasting results.
The key factor in safety is whitening your teeth properly. Always follow the directions provided by your dentist (or the product label for at-home products).
If you do not follow the directions, you may experience negative side effects. These can include:
LED teeth whitening is safe for at-home use. Current research shows that LED whitening is effective when users follow the manufacturer's protocols.
LED as a light source is a safer alternative to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can cause cell mutations. An LED light does not lead to the mutation of cells or raise the risk of cancer. LED speeds up the whitening reaction without the risks of UV light.
During the LED teeth whitening process, you’ll apply a bleaching agent to your teeth. The LED light activates the whitening agent and starts the chemical reaction. When this reaction occurs, the blue LED light penetrates the enamel and removes stains.
It depends on your preference and lifestyle. According to the American Dental Association, home teeth whitening products are safe if used as directed — but overuse could lead to enamel damage. With that in mind, we’ve collected the best teeth whitening kits available:
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Many of the products we recommend have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. These products are proven to be effective in preventing gum disease, cavities, and other oral health conditions.
When we recommend products that do not include this seal of acceptance, we conduct further research to ensure reputability. This may include speaking with company leaders, reading hundreds of customer reviews, and ensuring they provide quality customer service.
Snow All-In-One Teeth Whitening Kit is the #1 bestseller. It offers fast whitening results guaranteed with 99.3 percent ratings across 500,000+ customers.
The well-packaged and easy-to-use system delivers a professional-level whitening experience at an affordable price. The serum is enamel-safe for those with sensitive teeth and gums.
Colgate's LED whitening kit is 100% enamel safe, does not leave your teeth feeling sensitive after use, and is clinically proven to deliver 6 shades whiter teeth. This advanced teeth whitening kit only requires 10 minutes of your day. And, after just 10 days of use, you'll have noticeably whiter teeth.
Crest Whitestrips have been a market leader since the beginning of the DIY whitening craze. These Crest 3D White Whitestrips are ADA approved, meaning they are safe and effective when used as instructed. Fourteen treatments are included in each box. Apply them once a day for 30 minutes to remove surface stains and achieve a whiter smile.
GLO Brilliant uses LED lights as well as heat to give you faster results. This kit is for people who want white teeth quickly. Applications only take 8 minutes. They suggest completing four back-to-back applications each day for five straight days, or until you’re pleased with the results. This is a fast and effective whitening process, but it is the most expensive item on our list.
Best Budget Option
AuraGlow is an easy to use home tooth whitening system that uses an advanced 35% carbamide peroxide whitening solution and led lights to give you whiter teeth. There are approximately 20 treatments included. Use daily for 30 minutes to remove discoloration and gain optimal brightening results.
Best Whitestrips for Sensitive Teeth
These Whitestrips were developed to provide a comfortable at-home whitening experience for people who have tooth sensitivity but still want to brighten their pearly whites. These enamel-safe strips get applied for 30 minutes daily.
Best Whitening Option for Travel
The AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen will deliver results when you’re traveling or on the go. You can coat your teeth quickly and easily with the ergonomic design. However, we suggest using the AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit to increase the whitening effects of this treatment.
Best Natural Whitening Kit
Lumineux Oral Essentials were developed utilizing coconut oil, lemon peel oil, sage oil, and dead sea salt to remove stains from your teeth instead of bleach (hydrogen peroxide). They were developed with dental professionals and are non-toxic, SLS-free, preservative-free, sugar-free, and vegan. Apply the strips for 30 minutes every day and see results in 7+ days.
This is a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to change their oral hygiene routine. Simply combine Go SMiLE teeth whitening gel with your own toothbrush and toothpaste and brush for two minutes twice daily. You should see results within a few days of consistent use.
Sensodyne is one of the most recommended toothpaste brands by dentists. This whitening formula will protect your teeth, even if they are sensitive, and work to brighten your smile. Whitening toothpaste takes at least two to three times as long to see results, but this might be a better alternative for people with poor enamel or very sensitive teeth.
Be sure to speak with a dentist to get a personalized recommendation for whiter teeth. Do not combine products and use them exactly as directed.
LED lights themselves will not make your teeth whiter, however, they accelerate the teeth whitening agent, so they do play a significant role in many teeth whitening systems.
Teeth whitening strips, LED whitening kits, and professional whitening treatment from a cosmetic dentist are some of the most effective ways to whiten your teeth.
GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device Kit and Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips provide safe, fast results.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), home teeth whitening kits are safe if used as directed. If they are overused, it could lead to tooth enamel damage.
Teeth whitening pens do work, however not as well as an LED mouth tray teeth whitening kit. Pens are better used to keep up the white appearance after you've achieved the shade you want.
Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the two active and effective ingredients in teeth whitening.
Yes, teeth whitening strips that contain hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide can safely and effectively whiten your teeth.
Read the instructions included with your teeth whitening strips and follow them exactly. Typically, strips will be left on between 5 minutes and 45 minutes depending on the strength of the product.
Yes, it is possible to whiten very stained teeth, however they may take longer to whiten, and the results might not be as opalescent as teeth that have not been strained.
Whitening strips are safe to use as long as you follow the directions provided. Overuse can lead to tooth enamel damage.
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Leonard, Ralph H. “Nightguard Vital Bleaching.” Tooth Whitening Techniques, 2017, pp. 285–294., doi:10.1201/9781315365503-19.
Eachempati, Prashanti, et al. “Home-Based Chemically-Induced Whitening (Bleaching) of Teeth in Adults.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2018, doi:10.1002/14651858.cd006202.pub2.
Carey, Clifton M. “Tooth whitening: what we now know.” The journal of evidence-based dental practice vol. 14 Suppl (2014): 70-6. doi:10.1016/j.jebdp.2014.02.006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058574/.
Epple, Matthias, et al. “A Critical Review of Modern Concepts for Teeth Whitening.” Dentistry Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, 2019, p. 79., doi:10.3390/dj7030079.
Pinto, Mm, et al. “Controlled Clinical Trial Addressing Teeth Whitening with Hydrogen Peroxide in Adolescents: a 12-Month Follow-Up.” Clinics, vol. 72, no. 3, 2017, pp. 161–170., doi:10.6061/clinics/2017(03)06.