Health

These Are the Best Dentist-Recommended Teeth-Whitening Kits

Wine, coffee, soda, and chocolate—these are just a few of the foods that can stain your teeth. And if asked if you avoid them as a result, the answer is probably no, right? After all, what’s the fun in that? Life is too short to avoid treats and vices just for vanity’s sake.

But there’s still the non-dazzling smile issue. If you want to keep eating the foods you love, you don’t have to spend a fortune at the dentist to whiten your teeth. Fortunately, a wide range of at-home teeth-whitening kits are available on the market, with plenty of options to fit different budgets.

We’ve compiled our list of the best teeth-whitening kits of 2022, as well as what to look for in do-it-yourself whitening products such as gels, strips and pens.

What to Look for in a Teeth-Whitening Product

  • Get the right ingredients. Hydrogen peroxide is the most important ingredient to look for in a teeth-whitening kit. “Most OTC whitening products contain a concentration of hydrogen peroxide that is between 7% and 10%. Or they contain a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, called carbamide, a peroxide which is as effective in higher concentrations,” says cosmetic dentist Brian Kantor, DDS, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in NYC.
  • Make sure it can stay in contact with teeth for a while. Another quality of an OTC teeth-whitening kit is how well the product can remain isolated on the teeth, he says. “A teeth-whitening pen will not work as well as something that will remain on the teeth and won’t get washed away by saliva,” he explains.
  • Look for long-lasting effects. Teeth-whitening toothpastes aren’t so effective because they only remove the external surface stain on the tooth. If you have a lot of stains, they will remove them so teeth will appear whiter, but they do not soak into the enamel and bleach the teeth. “Using both whitening strips and whitening toothpaste is a good one-two punch for a quick whitening fix,” he says.

    Which Teeth-Whitening Kits Have the Best Results

    The length of time your teeth remain brighter varies, and it’s influenced by how often you drink trigger beverages such as coffee, tea, dark soda, red wine or whether you smoke. “The results vary from person to person, depending on how receptive one’s teeth are to the bleaching gel,” says Dr. Kantor.

    “People whose teeth have more of a yellow/brown tone usually bleach better than people with gray tones in their enamel,” he says.

    And while at-home products generally contain a weaker percentage of hydrogen peroxide than in-office teeth-whitening products do, they can still work. That said, a higher percentage of chemicals might not be better for you. “If you are a patient who tends to have more sensitivity, select a teeth-whitening product that has a lower peroxide concentration (15 percent or less), or select a product that doesn’t use peroxides as their chief whitening ingredient,” says orthodontist Heather Kunen, DDS, MS, co-founder of Beam Street.

    Teeth-whitening products always work best when the tooth surface is clean and free of debris, Kunen says. So brush and floss before you whiten with whatever product you choose.

    Here are the best teeth-whitening kits we’ve found for 2022.

    Best Overall

    Snow At-Home Teeth Whitening (ALL-IN-ONE KIT)

    The corded version of this highly effective teeth-whitening kit connects to your phone or other USB device, so there’s no battery pack or charging needed (a great option for whitening on the go). The set comes with two strengths of whitening serum to paint directly on your teeth before inserting the tray (how long you leave it in is completely customizable, too). And for those with sensitive gums, the brand also offers a desensitizing serum to help protect them, though we found we didn’t need it. After just a few days of using this teeth-whitening kit, we were already getting comments on how bright our teeth looked.

    LINHART Teeth Whitening Home Kit with LED Light

    This teeth-whitening kit is recommended by none other than Beam Street orthodontist Heather Kunen. “This kit was custom formulated by NYC cosmetic dentists for a maximal whitening effect with little to no sensitivity.” says Kunen. Complete with an LED light, you’ll never miss a spot (or tooth) for your brightest smile yet.

    HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

    Those whose teeth are prone to sensitivity will love the HiSmile home teeth-whitening kit. “HiSmile uses Pthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) as its principal whitening agent, as opposed to the more traditional and harsher peroxides, so those patients who tend to experience sensitivity will fare better with this product,” says Kunen. This top teeth-whitening kit comes with easy-to-use syringes of gel that are dispensed into a mouth tray that has a blue LED light attached to it.

    ZIMBA Teeth Whitening Strips – Mint

    Zimba white strips also use a gentle chemical formula, making them one of the best teeth-whitening kits for sensitive teeth. These white strips are slick (no gel or goop) and come in tasty coconut and mint flavors.

    Crest 3D White Whitestrips Vivid Plus Teeth Whitening Kit

    Crest Whitestrips were one of the first at-home teeth-whitening products that were affordable and accessible to the masses, and doctors still recommend them. They’re made with a traditional peroxide formula, Kunen says, calling them “effective and safe to use.”

    GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device Kit

    This user-friendly system has an app that allows tracking of progress and previewing of results. The teeth-whitening kit includes an LED mouthpiece and storage kit, bluetooth power pack, whitening glo vials with GLO lip care, a travel pouch, and a user manual with a shade guide.

    Purean Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light

    This at-home teeth-whitening kit comes with two syringes full of teeth-whitening formula and an LED light.”Thirty-minute sessions offer results in just one application,” says Marianna M. Weiner, DDS, a cosmetic dentist at Envy Smile.

    MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light

    “It’s gentle on enamel, and fast and safe for at-home whitenings,” says Weiner of one of the best teeth-whitening kits for sensitive teeth. Offering the familiar LED and universal tray design, it’s easy to use, too.

    Opalescence has traditionally sold syringes of their teeth-whitening gel to pipe into a tray. The new Opalescence GO teeth-whitening kit comes with pre-filled disposable trays, saving you a step.

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