The 8 Best Teeth Whitening Products of 2021

The best products for maintaining those pearly whites

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Teeth Whitening

First Look

Best Overall: GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device at Amazon

"It combines the easy comfortability of being at home while giving you the clinical level result with its LED light."

Best Budget: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Whitening Kit at Amazon

"Their ‘no slip’ grip allows you to drink liquids during sessions without having to worry about your treatment being compromised."

Best for Sensitive: Zimba Teeth Whitening Strips at Amazon

"The best product for anyone with sensitive teeth and gums."

Best Kit: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit at Amazon

"This LED powered gadget is chock full of all the bells and whistles you would expect in kits double and triple the price."

Best Pen: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen at Amazon

"The gel dries quickly—in just 60 seconds—and is safe enough to use twice daily."

Best Peroxide-Free: Oralgen NuPearl at walgreens.com

"This whitening system complete with a whitening pen relies on natural botanicals activated by NuBright LED Technology."

Best Toothpaste: Opalescence Teeth Whitening Toothpaste at Amazon

"This toothpaste is gentle enough to be used daily and will whiten up to two shades brighter."

Best Strips: Spotlight Oral Care Dental Teeth Whitening Strips at Ulta

"A much gentler type of teeth whitening treatment, it promises a more gradual but irritation-free whitening process."

Once upon a time, brightening up your smile a few notches involved a trip to the dentist's office for a professional treatment costing hundreds of dollars. But the process of teeth whitening has dramatically evolved over the last decade. Now, there are many effective teeth whitening products available with the click of a mouse, many of them costing less than dinner for two at your favorite restaurant.

But before purchasing one of the hundreds of teeth whitening tools available, there are a few things you should take into consideration, Marianna M. Weiner, DDS, of Brooklyn-based Envy Smile tells Verywell Health. “When wanting to whiten your teeth, you should definitely do some research regarding what type of products you’d be putting into your mouth,” she explains. 

The main ingredient you should look for? Hydrogen peroxide, “as this is the most powerful whitening agent that breaks down into chemicals that are okay to ingest such as water and oxygen,” she explains. 

Chemicals she suggests avoiding include polyethylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, diethanolamine, ammonium hydroxide, and alcohol. “Alcohol is especially problematic because it dries out our gums and mouth leaving us without saliva to protect us,” she points out.

Here are a few of the best teeth whitening products on the market. Remember, if these products cause any irritation or sensitivity, stop using the product and consult your dentist.

Best Overall: GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device

Dr. Weiner’s favorite all-encompassing whitening product is the GLO brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device, an FDA-registered product that is not only dentist approved, but also was created by one of the top aesthetic dentists in New York City. “It combines the easy comfortability of being at home while giving you the clinical level result with its LED light,” she explains. While somewhat of a splurge compared to some of the other teeth whitening products on our list, it is the most similar to the professional treatment you would get at your dental office. The kit consists of a high-end gadget utilizing the brand’s trademark Guided Light Optics (hence the name GLO) utilizing LED lights and warm heat to brighten teeth, undoing the daily damage wreaked on your pearly whites. Just apply the hydrogen peroxide gel solution onto the front of teeth with the included brush, cover with the mouthpiece, and press GLO. Each treatment is just eight minutes with four recommended treatments a day. The kit is proven to brighten up your teeth after five days of treatments.

Best Budget: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Whitening Kit

Crest Whitestrips have certainly done their part in revolutionizing at-home teeth whitening. First introduced in 2000, the system has been updated using the latest science and technology several times over the last two decades. Crest 3D White Whitestrips are coated in hydrogen peroxide, which immediately targets stains during one-hour treatment sessions. The brand suggests using them daily for 10 consecutive days, and promises that they can undo five years of damage, transforming discolored teeth into pearly whites. One cool thing about them? Their “no slip” grip allows you to drink liquids during sessions without having to worry about your treatment being compromised. Each box offers 10 daily treatments plus two Crest 3D White Whitestrips 1 Hour Express for those situations where you need an instant fix.

What Our Editors Say

"I've been using Crest's whitening kits for years, and they've made a huge difference in my smile (and confidence)! I only need to use one box of Whitestrips a year, and what seals the deal for me is that they're a lot cheaper than professional bleaching treatments and more effective than whitening toothpastes. While I'm not a huge coffee or tea drinker to begin with, I imagine these would tremendously help any stains left behind by drinks. I'm a fan of each type, from the Professional Effects, 1 Hour Express, to Vivid Plus; I've gotten countless compliments from strangers and friends alike." — Tori Zhou, Associate Health Commerce Editor 

Best for Sensitive: Zimba Teeth Whitening Strips

Dr. Weiner endorses Zimba Teeth Whitening Strips as the best product for anyone with sensitive teeth and gums. “This comes with 28 strips that are gentle enough for any level of sensitivity,” she explains. An added bonus? While many whitening products have an icky, medicinal taste, these are infused with natural flavors—including icy fresh mint or coconut oil— to make your teeth whitening session a little more palatable. Each box includes 28 strips—enough for your top and bottom teeth for the recommended 14 day treatment. They are also extremely affordable if you are on a budget.

Best Kit: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit

When it comes to kits, the AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit offers a lot of bang for the buck. This LED-powered gadget is full of all the bells and whistles you would expect in kits double and triple the price, including five bulbs to speed up the whitening process and a built in timer with a beeper to keep track of your sessions. The kit also includes two syringes filled with enough dental-grade carbamide peroxide (hydrogen peroxide and urea) whitening gel for over 20 treatments and a handy carrying case. The brand promises results after just one treatment, and many dental experts have confirmed that it is one of the top whitening kits on the market despite costing significantly less than other light-powered kits.

Best Pen: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen

Whitening pens can come in handy when you need to brighten up your whites on-the-go. This pocket-friendly pen is filled with 15 applications of the similarly powerful carbamide peroxide gel used in AuraGlow’s wildly popular Teeth Whitening Kit. The gel dries quickly—in just 60 seconds—and is safe enough to use twice daily. Another cool feature is that the pen’s clear casing allows you to keep track of how much product is left, so you can order more as needed.

Best Peroxide-Free: Oralgen NuPearl

Oralgen nupearl
Courtesy of Amazon.

While Weiner suggests whitening products with peroxide, if you want to shy away from the chemical then Oralgen NuPearl is an effective option. This whitening system complete with a whitening pen relies on natural botanicals activated by NuBright LED Technology to whiten teeth during 10-20 minute long treatments. Both the whitening gel and pen are 99 percent natural and 100 percent vegan, free of fluoride, sulfates, GMOs, gluten, and artificial colors and flavors.

Best Toothpaste: Opalescence Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

If you are on the market for a slower, steady, more cost effective (yet efficient) whitening treatment, a toothpaste is the way to go. Dr. Weiner maintains that “you can’t go wrong” with Opalescence, a dentist developed whitening toothpastes. “This toothpaste is gentle enough to be used daily and will whiten up to two shades brighter, and with the fluoride percentage fortifying your teeth further, it’s a great product,” she exclaims. In just one month of twice daily uses, this sodium fluoride infused toothpaste promises to lighten up your teeth two shades.

Best Strips: Spotlight Oral Care Dental Teeth Whitening Strips

Spotlight Oral Care Whitening System
Courtesy of Skinstore.

Many people find that whitening strips cause irritation to the teeth and gums. However, Spotlight Oral Care Dental Teeth Whitening Strips are a much gentler type of teeth whitening treatment, promising a more gradual but irritation-free whitening process. The entire product line was formulated by dentists, using dental quality ingredients. For example, these strips feature the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide, with the addition of a vitamin-E oil to soothe any gum irritation.

Final Verdict

There are a lot of products on the market that can help you achieve a brighter smile. However, if it is within your budget, you can’t do any better than the GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device—unless you want to shell out hundreds more for an in-office dental whitening treatment. Dr. Weiner and many other dental experts endorse this LED activated hydrogen peroxide treatment as the most effective teeth whitening product available on the retail market. However, if you aren’t able to make quite such a large investment in your smile, there are a number of other effective treatments.

What to Look for in a Teeth Whitening Product

Ingredients: Like Dr. Weiner mentioned, ingredients are the key to effectiveness in teeth whitening products. While hydrogen peroxide is the most popular ingredient in the genre, if you want to avoid it, there are other options including charcoal toothpastes and other products utilizing fluoride and natural ingredients instead. 

Budget: As always, you need to consider your budget before you start shopping for tooth whitening products. Pay attention to how many treatments are offered with each product and the number of treatments required overall for maximum results. Also, try and remember that compared to a trip to your dentist’s office, all of these treatments are a bargain—even the most expensive! 

Concerns: There are a number of other factors to consider before purchasing a teeth whitening product. One of them is how much time you are willing to invest in the process. Some products work to whiten teeth in days, while others—such as whitening toothpaste—will take months. Also, you need to consider any specific dental concerns. For example, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, you should use a more gentle product. Or, if you are adverse to medicinal tasting products, veer toward those that are infused with mint.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As an internationally recognized health writer and product guru, Leah Groth understands that nobody wants to waste their time or money on products that fail to rear results. Over the years, she has interviewed the world's top health experts and reviewed hundreds of items, to help readers like you discover the most effective health gadgets, goops, and aids that will help you look and feel your very best.

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