We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Why trust us?

9 Best Teeth Whitening Kits and Products of 2022

These brightening lights, strips, pastes and pens really work.

best rated teeth whitening kits including colgate optic white, smile direct club and go smile kits
Colgate/Smile Direct Club/Go Smile

This article was updated by the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab with additional shopping information, expert FAQs and new consumer product feedback.


Sparkling white teeth are one of the major keys to a beautiful smile. In fact, having bright-white teeth can make you look up to five years younger, according to Karen Asp, author of Anti-Aging Hacks: 200+ Ways to Feel-and Look-Younger. But even with the aid of water flossers and the best toothbrushes and toothpastes, daily wear and tear to your pearly whites can lead to stubborn surface stains over the years. Luckily, there are both professional and at-home teeth whiteners that effectively help erase stains and brighten teeth.

For the most dramatic and instant results, you'll want to visit your local dentist's office or teeth whitening clinic for a professional whitening treatment, which offers a higher concentration of active bleaching ingredients. The downside: Pro whitening can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,500. If that's not in your budget, the good news is that over-the-counter teeth whitening products have come a long way, and the results now rival those provided by professionals. They can provide noticeable results both instantly and with use over time.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab has tested teeth whitening products including toothpastes, strips, pens and more. In the Lab, scientists measure testers' tooth shades under standardized lighting before and after using a label-masked teeth whitening product as directed over a specified time period to gauge changes in tooth color. Testers also evaluate the products at home on factors such as ease of use, flavor, tooth sensitivity, cleaning efficacy (if applicable) and perceived whitening effects. Beauty Lab scientists then tally hundreds of data points to find out whether each product performs before determining the best whitening kits. Here, GH Beauty Lab scientists and experts share everything you need to know about the best-tested teeth whitening kits and treatments that really work, including options with LED light and for sensitive teeth:

    What at-home teeth whiteners really work?

    There are four main options for teeth whitening at home: whitening strips and trays, LED light devices, pens or gels and toothpastes. Here's a guide to what differentiates each of the options and how they function so you can choose the right form for you, according to the dental experts:

    ✔️Whitening strips and trays: These kits contain a plastic strip, tray or mold, which is used to apply the bleaching ingredient hydrogen peroxide directly to teeth. Each session lasts 30 minutes to two hours (follow the directions on the teeth whitening kit's packaging for how to use), so results can be visible in one day, though you'll need up to three weeks of repeated application for full results. If you want to make your teeth white fast or you want to turn yellow teeth white, strips are one of the most effective OTC teeth whiteners, as the active ingredient is left on teeth for an extended period of time.

    ✔️Whitening light devices: A whitening agent is directly applied to teeth; then a blue LED light is held over them to increase penetration and accelerate results. Like teeth whitening strips, light devices are very effective because of the amount of time the active ingredient makes full contact with your teeth.

    ✔️Whitening pens or gels: These formulas contain the active teeth lightening ingredient hydrogen peroxide in a pen or gel form that you glide over your teeth to whiten them. Some are left on teeth (even created to be left on overnight), while others are meant to be rinsed off. Because the ingredients can be diluted or washed away in your mouth over time, the whitening results are generally more moderate.

    ✔️Whitening toothpastes: Pastes typically contain mild abrasives like hydrated silica, sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate to polish and remove surface stains and/or low concentrations of the active teeth whitening ingredient hydrogen peroxide to bleach teeth. "Most conventional whitening toothpastes largely work by using an abrasive called silica to mechanically scrape stains off of teeth, hence the 'whitened' result, not by actual bleaching," explains Justin Rashbaum, DMD, a general and cosmetic dentist in New York City for Supersmile. Look for pastes that contain hydrogen peroxide if you want noticeable results. You can expect to see visible effects after five or more days of twice-daily use, but only expect minimal to moderate whitening results, due to lower levels of bleaching ingredients.

    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
    Best Overall Teeth Whitener
    3D Whitestrips Professional Effects Teeth Whitening Strips Kit
    Crest
    Crest

    • Proven to whiten teeth up multiple shades
    • Clear strips are discreet to wear
    • Easy to use

    True to its claim of professional-level whitening, these Crest Whitestrips are the GH Beauty Lab's gold standard for smile brightening. Lab evaluations found that after 20 days of daily use, they lightened teeth a noticeable two to four shades. The strips simply stick on teeth and can be worn during daily activities for convenience. "My teeth were stained and after using this product, I was amazed — I actually had one person think my teeth were fake because they were so white and a few ask me what I had done," a reviewer marveled.

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide
    Results in:
    20 days
    Recommended usage
    : Daily
    Level of whitening:
    Up to four shades

    Best Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
    Optic White Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
    Colgate
    Colgate

    • High levels of hydrogen peroxide
    • Effectively removes stains
    • Affordable

    Get noticeably whiter teeth at a bargain price by just brushing with Colgate’s groundbreaking whitening toothpaste, a GH Beauty Award winner, which contains high levels of the bleaching active hydrogen peroxide. Data shows that this toothpaste formula, with 3% hydrogen peroxide, can remove up to 10 years of yellow stains on teeth in only four weeks of twice-daily use, GH Beauty Lab analysis confirmed. "It works!" a reviewer raved. " I drink a lot of coffee and tea, and I noticed that my teeth are so much whiter after using this toothpaste."

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide, silica (plus fluoride)
    Results in: Four weeks
    Recommended usage:
    Twice daily
    Level of whitening: Up to 10 years of stains

    Best Teeth Whitening Kit with Light
    Sonic Blue Smart Brush Whitening Kit
    Go Smile
    Go Smile

    • Visibly whitens teeth in two days
    • Time-saving

    • Pricey

    This GH Beauty Award-winning Go Smile kit features a LED blue light toothbrush that's used with an included hydrogen peroxide gel for enhanced teeth whitening results, no extra steps in your routine needed. Just combine equal parts toothpaste and peroxide, then brush for two minutes. GH Beauty Lab testing found that when used twice daily, the kit whitened the teeth of 90% of testers in just two days. "I actually saw results," a tester marveled. Bonus: You'll have clean teeth and fresher breath at the same time!

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide, silica, LED light
    Results in: As soon as two days; 30 for maximum results
    Recommended usage:
    Twice daily
    Level of whitening claimed: Up to over seven shades

    Best Teeth Whitening Kit for Sensitive Teeth
    Bright On Teeth Whitening Kit
    Smile Direct Club
    SmileDirectClub

    • Gentle
    • LED light accelerates whitening
    • Can be plugged into your phone for on-the-go use

    SmileDirectClub's mess-free kit includes a hands-free LED accelerator light and whitening pens made with the same whitening agent used by dentists during in-office treatments (but at a lower dosage, so there's less pain from sensitivity). You can even plug the light tray into your phone for on-the-go whitening sessions. The company recommends 10 minutes a day for at least one week to see results. "I have REALLY sensitive teeth and gums, I have never been able to use white strips with out discomfort," a reviewer reported. "I can notice a big different after only two treatments!"

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide
    Results in: One week
    Recommended usage
    : Daily
    Level of whitening claimed: Up to nine shades

    Best Overnight Teeth Whitening Kit
    Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen
    Colgate
    Colgate

    • Works while you sleep
    • Saves time

    • Formula may harden on teeth or brush

    Whiten your teeth while you sleep with Colgate's time-saving pen that contains 3% lightening hydrogen peroxide. "I used this three or four nights in a row and saw my teeth go from yellow to a nice, bright white," an Amazon reviewer reported.

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide
    Results in: One week
    Recommended usage
    : Nightly
    Level of whitening claimed: Up to fifteen years of stains

    Best Fast-Acting Teeth Whitening Kit
    Whitening Emulsions Leave-on Teeth Whitening Kit
    Crest
    Crest
    Now 31% off

    • Simple to use
    • Visibly whitens teeth within a day
    • Gentle and non-irritating

    • Pricey

    This easy-to-use Crest teeth whitening gel with a spatula applicator delivers real lightening effects in a single day, no rinsing necessary. "It painlessly whitened my sensitive teeth about two shades over one day — the difference is noticeable" marveled GH Beauty Lab Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann. "It stayed put, and after a minute or two, I didn’t even feel it on."

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide
    Results in: One day
    Recommended usage
    : Multiple times daily
    Level of whitening: Two shades+

    Best Dissolving Teeth Whitening Strips
    Dissolving Whitening Strips
    Moon
    Moon

    • Strips don't need to be removed
    • Good for on the go
    • Effective whitening

    Moon's innovative minty teeth whitening strips with hydrogen peroxide are self-dissolving after about 15 minutes on teeth, so you can stick them on and forget about them. "This product actually worked after the first use!" an Ulta reviewer raved. "Within 20 minutes they were completely gone and they taste really great too."

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide
    Results in: Two weeks
    Recommended usage
    : Twice daily
    Level of whitening claimed: Up to seven shades

    Best Teeth Whitening Gel Kit
    Whitening Gel
    Bite
    Bite

    • Targeted applicator brush
    • Plastic-free packaging
    • Gentle formula

    • Gel may get clumpy over time

    This simple (plastic-free!) teeth whitening kit from Bite contains a bottle of carbamide peroxide gel plus a small brush to paint the no-rinse formula on teeth. While we haven't tested this in the Beauty Lab, reviewers raved about how well it works and liked that the brush allows you to target specific discolored teeth. "It’s very simple, just painting the whitening gel on your teeth and waiting two minutes, and I have noticed a significant improvement in my teeth color," one said.

    Whitening active: Carbamide peroxide
    Results in: Two weeks
    Recommended usage:
    Twice daily
    Level of whitening: N/A (brand claims "noticeably whiter teeth teeth")

    Best Travel Teeth Whitening Treatment
    On the Go Teeth Whitening Pen
    Go Smile
    Go Smile

    • Lower level of active to minimize irritation
    • Great for touch-ups

    Whitening pens like this one from Go Smile won't drastically whiten your teeth due to a lesser percentage of hydrogen peroxide, but a lower dose of the active ingredient also means it won't irritate sensitive teeth. They're a good pick-me-up — use as needed after teeth-staining culprits, like coffee and red wine.

    Whitening active: Hydrogen peroxide
    Results in: Instant
    Recommended usage
    : Twice daily
    Level of whitening claimed: Up to two shades

    What to look for in a teeth whitener
    double line

    Active ingredients and potency: For optimal teeth whitening results at home, "look for the active lightening ingredients hydrogen or carbamide peroxide — the maximum percentage is 10% for over the counter products," advises Sharon Huang, DDS, MICOI, a cosmetic dentist and founder of Les Belles NYC in New York City. "Don’t focus on the percentage, though, as long as the product contains the active ingredient, which bonds to the stain on teeth and lifts it."

    Sensitivity-friendly ingredients: If you have sensitive teeth, "carbamide peroxide is less sensitizing than hydrogen peroxide because it takes more time for the whitening action to occur," Dr. Huang explains. For extremely sensitive teeth, there are also products that don’t contain peroxide, and instead are made with ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil, which have natural whitening effects that pull stains from the teeth, she says. "They're not as effective as peroxide, but are a good natural option that’s gentler on the teeth," Dr. Huang notes.

    Form: As for the best teeth whitener form,"I recommend whitening strips and use them personally," she says. "Since the strip wraps around the teeth, the whitening solution has constant contact with teeth, and they’re the easiest to keep in the mouth for the prescribed amount of time."

    What's the safest whitening option for sensitive teeth?
    double line

    If you have sensitive teeth, you'll want to take some extra precautions before using at-home whitening products. "I recommend seeing your dentist if you have sensitive teeth, as they may be a sign of dental problems," says Dr. Timothy Chase, cosmetic dentist and practicing partner at SmilesNY. "If your teeth are okay but you simply have sensitivity, your dentist can help with desensitizing treatments."

    Just pay attention to how your teeth react. "If you experience sensitivity or if the edges of your teeth start to appear see-through, you should stop the whitening regimen," warns Dr. Chase.

    How long does teeth whitening last?
    double line

    It depends on whether you go pro and your lifestyle habits. "Professional whitening will provide results that last longer — people usually get touch-ups every six months to a year," Dr. Huang says, but "with at-home products like teeth whitening strips, you may need a touch-up every month to take the superficial stains off and keep teeth white over time."

    What you eat and drink and whether you smoke also contribute to the longevity of teeth whitening effects. "If you’re meticulous at avoiding anything that will stain teeth and upkeep with whitening touch-up products, results will last longer," she explains. "Some of the most teeth-staining foods and drinks are tea (which actually stains more than coffee!), tobacco and red wine, then dark foods and juices like beets, turmeric, curry, and blueberries."

    To avoid darkening teeth, drink any colored beverage through a straw to keep it from coming in contact with your teeth, Dr. Huang advises. Or try rinsing your mouth with water immediately after drinking or eating to prevent staining (but don’t brush, because the enzymes in your mouth can make enamel softer and more prone to staining at that time), she says.

    Unlock exclusive content and money-saving deals with our all-access membership program. LEARN MORE

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below