Safest Teeth Whiteners
The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
In this article
Teeth whitening is the process of removing stains from your teeth and brightening your smile.
Teeth whitening treatments include in-office bleaching, dentist-grade products for at-home use, and over-the-counter (OTC) whiteners. Whitening is safe and effective when the manufacturer’s protocol is followed or performed by a dental professional.
Our Top Recommendations
Best Overall (Editor's Pick) — Snow All-In-One Whitening Kit
Best for Sensitivity — Hismile PAP+ Teeth Whitening Kit™
Fastest Results — GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit
Best Whitening Strips — Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White
Although safe, there are still some risks to be aware of. Temporary tooth sensitivity and gingival inflammation are the most common adverse effects of teeth whitening.
According to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry, teeth are damaged more by higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide applied over long periods.4
Therefore, small amounts of peroxide applied for a short time (for example, two minutes while brushing your teeth) are relatively harmless.
"Most toothpastes contain 1 to 3% hydrogen peroxide, whereas professional treatments, such as Zoom, contain up to 25%. Because professional whitening treatments contain much higher concentrations, it is important to undergo professional teeth whitening under the supervision of a qualified professional, such as your dentist."Dr. Chris Lewandowski, DDS, PC Princess Center Dentistry Owner, Cosmetic Dentist
Tooth stains are commonly caused by dark foods and beverages. This includes tea, coffee, red wine, curry powder, tomato sauce, and dark-colored berries. Poor oral hygiene, cavities, and infections can also lead to staining.
Other potential causes include:
There are a few ways to whiten your teeth safely and effectively from home. The most popular way is over-the-counter (OTC) products containing hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.
Some options include:
|Cost||$262 to $1,180||$50 to $300||$10 to $50||$3 to $15||$2 to $10|
|Peroxide Level||20 to 40%||10 to 20%||5 to 15%||up to 5%||up to 2%|
|Time||2 hours per session||10 to 45 min per session||30 minutes per session||2 minutes a day||30 seconds a day|
|Upkeep||Every 6 months to a year||A few times a month||A few times a month||Daily or a few times a week||Daily or a few times a week|
|Sensitivity||Moderate risk, temporary||Moderate risk, temporary||Moderate risk, temporary||Low risk, temporary||Low risk, temporary|
You can keep your teeth bright and healthy by practicing the following:
Here are the best (and safest) at-home whitening products recommended by NewMouth:
Best Overall (Editor's Pick)
This dentist-approved teeth whitening kit was designed for sensitive teeth. It is safe to use on both gums and enamel. Each whitening session takes just 9 minutes a day. According to their website, 97 percent of customers see results after just one use.
Snow’s unique, proprietary serum is specifically formulated to reduce sensitivity. This provides a painless experience for nearly all users.
Snow was also voted as the "best teeth whitening kit for sensitive teeth" by Tuck.com in 2020. They are also the #1 recommended brand by Allure Magazine and Men's Health (2021), and have been featured in Elle, Good Housekeeping, and People Magazine.
Best for Sensitivity
Hismile's teeth whitening kit uses three powerful, enamel-safe ingredients to provide instant results without any sensitivity:
Hismile is also peroxide-free. Peroxide is a bleaching agent that can cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and the demineralization of teeth.
One of our writers at NewMouth personally tested Hismile's teeth whitening kit. The main benefit is that it is very easy to use. It also doesn’t irritate your gums, cheeks, or tongue.
In terms of results, she noticed minor changes in tooth color after just one 10-minute session. The changes weren’t drastic, but they were noticeable. She also experienced zero sensitivity after the first use.
Other whitening kits can cause irritation during and after treatment. This is especially true if the product has a high concentration of peroxide. But since Hismile doesn’t use peroxide, this wasn’t an issue.
Another benefit of Hismile is the quick treatment time. You only have to use the kit for 10 minutes a day. Other brands require 30 to 45 minutes per session, often making the process more uncomfortable and messy.
This teeth whitening kit was designed by a top NYC aesthetic dentist, Dr. Jonathan B. Levine DMD, PC. It features ingredients that are vegan, gluten-free, latex-free, and cruelty-free.
GLO Brilliant uses LED lights and 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 daily for 5 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 on a Budget
AuraGlow uses cool LED whitening technology with 5 built-in bulbs and comes with a built-in timer to keep track of whitening.
AuraGlow’s organic teeth whitening gel is made with gluten-free and vegan-friendly ingredients and features 35% carbamide peroxide as a bleaching agent for professional-grade results.
This teeth whitening kit allows you to whiten your teeth hands-free with a comfort-fit tray, making it easy to whiten your teeth for 30 minutes daily.
The Crest 3D Professional Effects Whitestrips Kit contains 16 full whitening treatments.
This includes 14 regular whitening treatments (one upper and one lower strip) and two one-hour express treatments. The one-hour express strips reveal same-day results for a visibly whiter smile.
Crest 3D White Whitestrips have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which means they are safe and effective when used correctly.
These whitening strips were developed to provide a comfortable at-home whitening experience. They are best for people who have sensitive teeth but still want to brighten their pearly whites.
These enamel-safe strips should be 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.
The product contains 2 percent hydrogen peroxide, which dentists recommend for whitening. It also contains fluoride to protect against cavities.
Whitening toothpaste is not as effective at whitening your teeth as LED kits or Whitestrips. But it can help remove and prevent surface stains. Therefore it should be used in addition to one of these other methods.
Colgate Optic White Whitening Mouthwash contains 2 percent Hydrogen Peroxide. This can slightly help remove surface stains.
However, whitening results from mouth rinse alone will not be as effective as an LED whitening kit or Whitestrips.
Because it does help prevent new stains, whitening mouthwash is best used in addition to another whitening product.
This LED whitening kit was designed to reduce sensitivity and uses enamel-safe ingredients.
If you prefer to use the same brand for every step of your oral health routine, you can use Colgate whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, and LED kit.
This kit can be used hands-free, only takes 10 minutes, and doesn’t require a smartphone.
NewMouth is a leading and trusted online resource for dental information, including professional and at-home teeth whitening, how they compare, safety, and what to look for in products.
We have a dedicated team of medical writers, expert researchers, licensed dental professionals, and medical reviewers who create and oversee every piece of content published on our site. Our goal is to provide credible, accurate, and up-to-date content that is free and accessible to everyone looking for dental care.
We determined the 10 safest teeth whitening products by:
After extensive research and product testing, this article also underwent an intensive review process:
We asked an expert, Dr. Casey Lau, Chief Dental Officer of Elims, for his opinion on DIY teeth whitening remedies.
"Traditionally, you will see many DIY remedies like oil pulling, activated charcoal, baking soda, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar as anecdotal teeth whitening solutions," says Lau. "But some of these are pretty dangerous to your enamel."
Activated charcoal and baking soda are abrasives. So if they work at all, it's by scraping off stains that are caked on your teeth. They may scrape off healthy enamel as well. Lau adds that lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are acids that weaken and damage enamel.
Turmeric is also not recommended for teeth whitening. There is limited data on the spice's efficacy as a natural whitening product. However, turmeric is an astringent, which may improve enamel health.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are the safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth. These methods provide instant results and are completed in a dentist's office.
However, professional whitening is expensive, making it less desirable for many people. As an alternative, we recommend at-home whitening products that contain safe levels of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.
Safe, at-home bleaching products typically contain 5 to 10 percent hydrogen peroxide or 35 percent carbamide peroxide. They are applied for 10 to 45 minutes for multiple days in a row.
Risks commonly reported with teeth whitening include sensitivity and gum irritation. The severity of these side effects is directly connected to the concentration of peroxide used and the duration of treatment.
According to Dr. Lau, high doses of hydrogen peroxide can damage enamel over long periods. It is an oxidant that can irritate your gums if used incorrectly. HP is also an antiseptic, meaning it kills bacteria and has been used to treat gum disease.
However, many studies have been done with hydrogen peroxide in dental products. They have routinely shown that it is safe when used correctly and in safe doses, says Lau.
Most of the issues occur with homemade whitening solutions. These often contain very high levels of peroxide, abrasive substances, and/or harmful acids like lemon juice.
In this article