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9 Best Teeth Whitening Kits and Products of 2022

Brightening lights, strips, pastes and pens that actually work — even on sensitive teeth.

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 in October 2022 to ensure all picks tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab were available, in stock and correctly priced.


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 natural toothpaste, 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. They can provide noticeable results both instantly and with use over time.

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. What's more, some of the top-rated models are majorly discounted this Amazon Prime Day.

SHOP AMAZON PRIME DAY BEAUTY DEALS 2022

Our top picks:

Ahead, GH Beauty Lab scientists and experts share everything you need to know about the best teeth whitening kits and treatments that really work, including options with LED light and for sensitive teeth. Plus, find a full breakdown of how we test, shopping tips and expert FAQs.

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1
Best Overall Teeth Whitener
Crest
3D Whitestrips Professional Effects Teeth Whitening Strips Kit
Crest
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide
Results in 20 days
Recommended usage Daily
Level of whitening Up to four shades
2
Best Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Colgate
Optic White Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Colgate
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide, silica (plus fluoride)
Results in Four weeks
Recommended usage Twice daily
Level of whitening Up to 10 years of stains
3
Best Teeth Whitening Kit with Light
Go Smile
Sonic Blue Smart Brush Whitening Kit
Go Smile
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
4
Best Teeth Whitening Kit for Sensitive Teeth
SmileDirectClub
Bright On Teeth Whitening Kit
Smile Direct Club
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide
Results in One week
Recommended usage Daily
Level of whitening claimed Up to nine shades
5
Best Overnight Teeth Whitening Kit
Colgate
Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen
Colgate
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide
Results in One week
Recommended usage Nightly
Level of whitening claimed Up to fifteen years of stains
6
Best Fast-Acting Teeth Whitening Kit
Crest
Whitening Emulsions Leave-on Teeth Whitening Kit
Crest
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide
Results in One day
Recommended usage Multiple times daily
Level of whitening Two shades+
7
Best Dissolving Teeth Whitening Strips
Moon
Dissolving Whitening Strips
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide
Results in Two weeks
Recommended usage Twice daily
Level of whitening claimed Up to seven shades
8
Best Teeth Whitening Gel Kit
Bite
Whitening Gel
Bite
Whitening active Carbamide peroxide
Results in Two weeks
Recommended usage Twice daily
Level of whitening N/A (brand claims "noticeably whiter teeth teeth")
9
Best Travel Teeth Whitening Treatment
Go Smile
On the Go Teeth Whitening Pen
Go Smile
Whitening active Hydrogen peroxide
Results in Instant
Recommended usage Twice daily
Level of whitening claimed Up to two shades
How we test teeth whitening products
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The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab rigorously tests all types of teeth whitening products including toothpaste, 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.

What to look for in a teeth whitener
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✔️ 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?
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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?
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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 turmeric, beets, 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.

What at-home teeth whiteners really work?
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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 toothpaste: 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.

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