The Best Teeth Whitening Products, According to Dentists

The Glo Science Teeth Whitening Device will help brighten your smile

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glo science brilliant deluxe teeth whitening kit

Byrdie / Ashley Rebecca

Teeth whitening products can help reveal brighter, whiter teeth by removing surface stains. When evaluating the best teeth whiteners, you'll want to check the ingredient list. According to Marianna M. Weiner, DDS, of Brooklyn-based Envy Smile, the "most powerful whitening agent" is one that "breaks down into chemicals that are okay to ingest such as water and oxygen"—like hydrogen peroxide.

Reviewed & Approved

Our best overall pick is the GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device, which features an alochol-free formula that works in 8 minutes and is a favorite of the dentists we spoke to. Crest 3D Whitestrips are a great, low-tech budget option.

However, you'll want to read labels carefully and make sure you don't purchase a product that includes the following chemicals: 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,” Dr. Weiner says.

When reviewing the best teeth whitening products, we looked carefully at the ingredient lists, considered the price per application, how easy the products are to use, and how long they will take to help you reach your desired results. We read countless reviews and consulted with dentists, including Dr. Weiner.

Based on our research and reviews, these are the best teeth whitening products available right now.

Best Overall: GLO Science GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device Kit

4.8
GLO Science GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Application only takes 8 minutes

  • Auto turn-off

  • Alcohol-free

  • Features hydrogen peroxide

Cons
  • Batteries required

  • Features ammonium hydroxide

The GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Device is our top overall pick because the alcohol-free formula contains powerful hydrogen peroxide, is quick and easy to apply, and also happens to be a favorite of Dr. Weiner's. The 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.

Form: Mouthpiece | Dose: 4 back-to-back applications for 8 minutes daily

Best Budget: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Whitening Kit

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Whitening Kit

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Batteries not required

  • No-slip grip

  • Simultaneous water drinking is allowed

  • Alcohol-free

  • Features hydrogen peroxide

Cons
  • May not be suitable for those with tooth sensitivities

  • Consult with healthcare provider if pregnant

  • Features sodium hydroxide

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.

Form: Strips | Dose: Classic Vivid once a day for 30 minutes, 1 Hour Express once a day for 1 hour

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 toothpaste. 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

Zimba Teeth Whitening Strips

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Reduced-sensitivity formula

  • Non-slip design

  • Vegan and gluten-free

  • Features hydrogen peroxide

Cons
  • Not flavorless

  • Features alcohol

  • Consult with healthcare provider if pregnant

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.

Form: Strips | Dose: 30 minutes once a day

Best Kit: AURAGLOW Deluxe Teeth Whitening Kit

AURAGLOW Teeth Whitening Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • One-size-fits-all mouth tray

  • Built-in timer

  • Alcohol- and gluten-free

Cons
  • Batteries required

  • Not suitable if pregnant

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.

Form: Mouth tray | Dose: 30 minutes once a day

Best Pen: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen

3.5
AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen
Pros
  • Alcohol-free

  • Gel dissolves in 60 seconds

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • Not flavorless

  • Not suitable if pregnant

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.

Form: Pen | Dose: Use once or twice a day for 60 seconds

Best Peroxide-Free: Oralgen NuPearl 32x Advanced Teeth Whitening System

Oralgen nupearl
Courtesy of Amazon.
Pros
  • Alcohol-free

  • Vegan

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • Not suitable if pregnant

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 to 20 minute long treatments. Both the whitening gel and pen are 99% natural and 100% vegan, free of fluoride, sulfates, GMOs, gluten, and artificial colors and flavors.

Form: Pen | Dose: Apply and rinse after 25 minutes once daily

Best Toothpaste: Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride

Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste

 Amazon

Pros
  • Alcohol-free

  • Dentist-developed

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • Not flavorless

  • Features sodium hydroxide

If you are on the market for a slower, steady, more cost-effective (yet efficient) whitening treatment, 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 explains. In just one month of twice-daily use, this sodium fluoride-infused toothpaste promises to lighten up your teeth two shades.

Form: Toothpaste | Dose: Use twice daily

Best Strips: Spotlight Oral Care Dental Teeth Whitening Strips

Spotlight Oral Care Whitening System
Courtesy of Skinstore.
Pros
  • Dentist-formulated

  • Vegan-friendly

  • Features hydrogen peroxide

Cons
  • Strip features alcohol

  • Not suitable if pregnant

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 vitamin-E oil to soothe any gum irritation.

Form: Strips | Dose: Use once a day for 1 hour

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.

How We Rated Teeth Whitening Products

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best teeth whitening products we reviewed. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These teeth whitening products are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great teeth whitening products, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These teeth whitening products are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend teeth whitening products with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

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 toothpaste 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 ones! 

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 averse to medicinal tasting products, veer toward those that are infused with mint.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is teeth whitening safe?

    Yes, it is safe as long as you use a reputable product, says Kendra Zappia, DDS, an Albany, NY, dentist and New York State Dental Association member. But you want to first check with your dentist to make sure it's safe for you in particular.


    "We want to make sure that your teeth are healthy, that you don't have any active decay and that you don't have any active gum disease, gum loss or bone loss," Dr. Zappia says. "If we put bleach on top of that, we can do more harm than good and the patient can be in a lot of pain.


    Also, make sure that you're a good candidate for whitening and don't have any dental work such as a crown bridge or implant that will not whiten.

  • How long does teeth whitening last?

    "For some people it only lasts three or four months, and for other people it can last up to a year or more," Dr. Zappia says. "It depends on your habits and the health of your teeth." So, if you're someone who drinks a lot of coffee, tea, wine or soda, which can all stain your teeth, be prepared for this not to last as long.

  • Do you brush your teeth after whitening strips?

    Dr. Zappia recommends that you brush and floss before to clear away any plaque that may interfere with the process, but that after whitening you wait a little bit before brushing again. "You might want to wait about 1/2 hour before brushing, the reasoning being that teeth have pores like your skin," Dr. Zappia says. "When you bleach, you open those pores up so that you can break the stain down and it's going to take a little bit of time for those pores to close back up." If you brush too soon, your teeth may be a bit sensitive.

  • What foods should you eat after teeth whitening?

    There are lots of foods to eat after whitening, as long as they don't discolor your teeth. "We kind of call it the white diet," Dr. Zappia says. "Anything that will not stain." So, cheese, yogurt, fresh fruits with the exception of berries, vegetables, pasta and other foods that won't easily darken your teeth are all great choices.

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 provide 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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