The best teeth whitening kits are easy to use at home when you need to brighten your smile (like our best overall pick from Ultradent Opalescence Go). They’re also a convenient alternative to having it done at the dentist’s office and often just as effective as a professional treatment, at a more affordable cost. These at-home products come in many forms, including LED mouthpieces, strips and trays that are suited for even the most sensitive teeth.
Dentists recommend shopping for treatments that include active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which help to diminishing stains. “Hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient in most tooth whitening products; this or carbamide peroxide act as bleaching agents to change the color of teeth,” says If Your Mouth Could Talk author and dentist Dr. Kami Hoss. “Peroxide can partially penetrate the layers of teeth, removing compounds that cause discoloration.” Read on for the best teeth whitening kits and how to use them, according to experts.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
As users of at-home teeth whitening kits and products ourselves, the Forbes Vetted staffers and contributors who have written, updated and edited this list have years of combined experience in this personal care category. The beauty and grooming vertical is overseen by Jane Sung, a senior editor who has covered lifestyle and wellness topics for well over a decade. We work with expert contributors to test and analyze products so you can look and feel your best. We also consulted with industry professionals like dentists Huang, Fung and Hoss on tips and what to look for in the top teeth whitening kits.
How We Chose The Best Teeth Whitening Kits Of 2023
To find the best teeth whitening kits, we consulted with five dentists for recommendations on how to get a more radiant smile. The products on this list feature hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as active ingredients, which are commonly used to effectively lift stains according to several of our experts.
From there, we chose teeth whitening kits from top-rated brands (some were also recommended by the pros) and then looked at their overall value, key features and customer reviews. We also made sure the selected products accommodate various types of teeth, lifestyle factors and preferences.
For those who are hesitant to try teeth whitening products, Huang recommends the Opalescence Go because it’s strong enough to whiten without causing sensitivity. For those who would prefer a customizable system, Huang recommends the tailor-made plan from Smile Brilliant, which takes a mold of your teeth and is also available in a sensitive option. This story is regularly reviewed and edited to provide the most current and accurate information possible; it was last updated in May 2023.
What Do Dentists Recommend To Whiten Teeth?
Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are two of the most common key ingredients recommended by dentists for whitening teeth. “They can be quite effective and safe when used in the right way,” says Huang. “They are made up of water, oxygen and radicals. The reaction from these free radicals will lift stains from teeth and make teeth appear whiter.” According to Hoss, most over-the-counter products feature a range in concentration from 3% to 10%, while dental professionals typically offer treatments with concentrations up to 40%.
What Is The Best Tooth Whitener On The Market?
There were several top contenders when assembling this list of teeth whitening kits, but there was one that stood out to our team. Ultradent Opalescence Go earns our overall best spot since it has an effective formula that is suitable even for sensitive teeth. It also comes recommended by the experts.
Which Ingredients Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity?
“When an active ingredient travels through the microtubules of the teeth from the enamel to the deeper part, that’s when sensitivity may occur,” says Huang. Fortunately there are things you can do to reduce potential sensitivity. “The first is to use at-home whitening products as directed and not to overuse them,” she says. “The second tip is to brush with a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth for a few weeks before treatment to temporarily plug these microtubules. This will significantly reduce the sensitivity pathway during and after your whitening procedure.”
How Long Does The Whitening Effect Last?
“Whitening lasts as long as you can keep new stains from forming,” says Huang. She cites some ways to potentially extend the longevity of your results, such as avoiding stain-causing foods, using a straw to drink dark-colored liquids and brushing and flossing twice daily. Fung also adds “for some people, the brightness can last a month or two, while for others it may last up to 6 months.”
Keep in mind that these aren’t a substitute for routine dental cleanings and exams, but maintaining those can certainly help. “Those who see their dentist regularly, brush twice a day and floss daily will be able to keep the whitening effect lasting longer,” Fung says.
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