What is LED Teeth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is any process that lightens the color of a tooth. Whitening is accomplished by either the physical removal of the stain or a chemical reaction that lightens the tooth color.
LED teeth whitening is the process of using a tooth-whitening agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, and an LED (light-emitting diode) light to whiten teeth.
Americans spend $1.4 billion annually on nonprescription teeth whitening products to get a brighter smile. Cosmetic tooth bleaching is a global industry, with people spending $3.2 billion to brighten their teeth worldwide.
How Does LED Teeth Whitening Work?
During the LED teeth whitening process, users first treat the teeth with a chemical agent that has bleaching properties. LED light is used to activate the whitening agent and start the chemical reaction.
When this interaction happens, the blue LED light penetrates the enamel and lifts existing stains.
LED lights are highly efficient and last a long time compared to other light sources. They do not have a warm-up time and switch on at their highest intensity straight away.
How Does an LED Light Make Your Teeth Whiter?
LED light works with a tooth-whitening agent to whiten teeth by activating the whitening agent and starting the chemical reaction.
An LED light will not change the color of the teeth if used alone. It acts as a catalyst to speed up the whitening process's reactions when combined with a whitening agent.
The most commonly-used whitening agents are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Are LED Teeth Whitening Lights Safe?
LED teeth whitening was developed to be safe for at-home use. Current research shows that LED teeth whitening is safe and effective when users follow the manufacturer's protocols.
LED as a light source is a safer alternative to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can cause the mutation of cells. An LED light does not cause cell mutations and speeds up the whitening reaction without UV light risks.
You should talk to your dentist before whitening your teeth. Teeth whitening does not work for everyone. Teeth whitening results depend on the user's lifestyle and the cause of their teeth discoloration. LED teeth whitening works better on yellowish teeth compared to brownish or greyish-hued teeth.
Pros and Cons of Blue Light Teeth Whitening
Blue light LED teeth whitening offers many benefits, including:
- Whiter teeth
- The convenience of whitening teeth at home versus having to go to a dental office
- Free from UV radiation
- Less painful than whitening at the dentist's office
Blue light LED teeth whitening also has some downsides, including:
- Varying results based on the cause of discoloration
- Gradual results versus a professional teeth whitening, which has immediate results
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Burning and gum irritation, caused by the bleaching agent coming into contact with the mouth's delicate tissues, such as the tongue or gums
- Permanent damage from overuse caused by excessive tooth whitening treatments, using too much whitening agent, or leaving the whitening agent on for too long can cause permanent damage to the teeth
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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.
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Best At-Home LED Teeth Whitening Kits of 2022
Everything We Recommend
Best Overall (Editor's Pick) — Snow At-Home Teeth Whitening All-in-One Kit
Best for Sensitivity — hismile PAP+ Teeth Whitening Kit™
Fastest Results — Glo Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device
Best on a Budget — AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit
Best All-in-One Whitening Brand — Colgate ® Optic White Advanced LED Whitening
Snow® At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit
Snow® is a popular teeth whitening system, with one product sold every 47 seconds. The brand's most advanced formulas deliver a professional-level whitening experience that's enamel-safe for those with sensitive teeth and gums.
Each application is only 9 minutes long, and 90% of users get a whiter smile after just one use.
Snow All-in-One Whitening Kit
Best Overall (Editor's Pick)
This dentist-approved teeth whitening kit was designed for sensitive teeth and is safe for gums and enamel.
Each whitening application only takes 9 minutes per day. According to Snow’s website, 97 percent of customers see results after just one use (consumer study).
hismile PAP+ Teeth Whitening Kit™
hismile's teeth whitening kit uses three powerful, enamel-safe ingredients to provide instant results without any sensitivity:
- Hydroxyapatite (nHAp) rebuilds the protective layer of teeth and replaces lost minerals.
- Phthalimidoperoxycaproicacid (PAP) is clinically proven to whiten teeth without sensitivity or gum irritation.
- Potassium citrate helps relieve pre-existing sensitivity and provides long-term protection.
hismile's teeth whitening kit is an effective and safe peroxide-free alternative. Peroxide as a bleaching agent can cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and the demineralization of teeth.
hismile uses PAP, nHAp, and potassium citrate to whiten teeth without sensitivity. These ingredients have also been clinically proven to remineralize teeth.
GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit
The patented GLO Brilliant Device combines LED light and Guided Light Optics (GLO) warming heat technology to accelerate safe hydrogen peroxide whitening formulation for faster, easier, and more effective whitening.
With the GLO tooth whitening system, you can whiten both top and bottom teeth simultaneously with fast 8-minute pre-timed applications. The device is hands-free so that you can whiten easily as part of your regular beauty or grooming routine.
GLO is used in thousands of professional dental offices and is clinically proven to get your smile 5X whiter without sensitivity.
GLO is FDA-registered. The whitening gel is vegan, gluten/latex/cruelty-free, and made in the USA.
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.
AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit
AuraGlow is more affordable than many other products on the market.
This teeth whitening solution comes with trays and a LED light to whiten both the top and bottom teeth. It also features 35 percent carbamide peroxide, close to the level of whitening agent used by dental offices (most dental offices use a 40 percent peroxide formula).
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.
Colgate ® Optic White Advanced LED Whitening
Colgate's Optic White At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit combines LED whitening light with blue LED light technology to activate the stain-removing hydrogen peroxide gel that's applied to the teeth via its rechargeable tray.
This tooth whitening system is also enamel-safe and was specifically designed to whiten teeth without causing sensitivity.
Colgate's advanced teeth whitening kit only requires 10 minutes of your day. After just 10 days of use, you'll have noticeably whiter teeth.
If you want to use the same brand for all of your oral care needs, Colgate also has the leading whitening toothpaste and mouthwash on the market.
How Long Does LED Teeth Whitening Last?
The results of a whitening treatment depend on the user's diet and lifestyle. Several factors can impact tooth discoloration, including eating certain foods, smoking, certain medications, age, and genetics can impact teeth whitening. These factors are why results can vary after using an LED tooth whitening system.
To maintain a whiter smile after treatment, follow these steps:
- Stay hydrated – Water rinses away compounds from dark-colored foods and drinks that can stain enamel.
- Rinse your mouth – Rinse with a glass of water after drinking acidic beverages like coffee, soda, or wine.
- Use a straw – Drink dark-colored liquids through a straw when possible to prevent them from staining the teeth' surface.
- Brush with a whitening toothpaste – Proper oral hygiene keeps teeth clean and bright.
- Schedule a cleaning – Regular dental exams keep teeth healthy.
- Avoid tobacco products – Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco can cause staining
All types of bleaching — whether over-the-counter, take-home kits, or in the dental office — are temporary, requiring touch-ups at some point.
How Often Can I Whiten My Teeth At Home?
Before whitening your teeth at home, have your teeth checked by your dentist for any tooth problems which could cause the pulp to become irritated during whitening. This can cause temporary sensitivity and discomfort.
You should ask your dentist which teeth whitening products they recommend, based on your personal needs and dental history.
When using a home whitening system, follow the manufacturer's instructions for as many treatments as it takes to reach your desired shade of whiteness. Each whitening kit is different, so be sure to read the directions carefully and follow the guidelines.
Once you've achieved your desired shade, you can transition to whitening maintenance depending on your diet and homecare.