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Blame your morning coffee. Or maybe it’s enjoying a glass of red wine a little too often. Then again, it could be your afternoon tea. No matter the culprit, we all want whiter teeth. Let’s be honest—the pressure to have a sparkling smile is greater than ever. When you can’t make a splurge at the dentist’s office on a professional whitening, at-home products are the next best thing. Whether you prefer whitening strips, gels, pens, or kits, there’s a type out there for everyone. A word of advice: Just be sure to actually read and follow the directions for maximum results—and to avoid damaging your teeth. Sink your teeth into our picks for the top whitening products.
Best Overall: Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light Teeth Whitening Kit
When Crest introduced their original whitening strips, it was a total game changer for at-home teeth whitening. Their latest kit takes their original innovation up a few notches, and it’s the fastest and best at-home whitening option from the brand. These new whitening strips have been designed to stick to your teeth without slipping around. But that’s not all: The set comes with a lightweight handheld blue light device that helps the whitening gel penetrate the enamel, making it much more effective.
Crest’s blue light system actually uses the same technology as dentists, with a blue light that works to weaken stains. As a result, using this gizmo makes the whitening strips far more effective than just using the strips solo. Even better, the results can last up to 36 months. Simply apply the strips for 60 minutes and hold the light up to your mouth until it beeps. The kit includes one light and 10 teeth whitening strip treatments, each with one upper and one lower strip.
Best Budget: Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste
If you’re looking for a brighter smile on a budget, this is your wallet-friendly solution, since it doesn’t get any cheaper than whitening toothpaste. Keep in mind that this won’t have the same wow-effect as some other whitening strategies, but for two tubes under six bucks you really can’t expect more. The formula features both baking soda and peroxide for a two-pronged approach to whitening, which are great for lifting stains. It prevents future stains from forming, too, with its Stain Defense technology.
Best for Sensitive Teeth: Oral Essentials Whitening Strips
When you have sensitive teeth, the thought of peroxide might make you wince. But these gentle whitening strips were made just for the sensitive type, sans peroxide. Formulated by a pair of dentists based in Beverly Hills, they were the first to feature natural ingredients in whitening strips, including Dead Sea salt, coconut oil, sage oil, and lemon peel oil to gently lift stains. They’re even safe for crowns, porcelain caps, and veneers. Wear them for just 30 minutes for brighter, whiter teeth.
Best Toothpaste: Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste
It only takes three days for this super speedy toothpaste to remove up to 95% of surface stains. It’s the most advanced whitening toothpaste yet from Crest. Additionally, it boasts 3X Stain Fighting Power to fight future stains. Even though it’s tough on stains, it’s easy on sensitivity and even strengthens teeth. It’s safe on enamel, too. Another bonus is it contains fluoride to fight cavities.
Best Gel: Go SMiLE Teeth Whitening Gel
If you want results with minimal effort, this gel is right up your alley—there are no trays or strips to deal with. However, it does require the use of a Sonic Blue Toothbrush. Simply add the gel to your toothpaste whenever you brush your teeth and the blue light-wave technology in the Sonic Blue Toothbrush activates the whitening gel on contact with teeth. This gel is more effective than a whitening toothpaste, since it penetrates the teeth to whiten from the inside, as opposed to only tackling surface stains—but this gel does that, too. Have sensitive teeth? No problem. It’s also safe to use on caps and veneers.
Best Pen: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen
Perfect for on-the-go, this pen can be tossed into your purse or bag. It contains 35% Carbamide Peroxide, a whitening gel that break downs and removes surface stains from the teeth caused by coffee, wine, soda, tea, and smoking, to name a few. The pen includes more than 20 whitening treatments and it’s easy peasy: All you do is twist the bottom of the pen and the mint-flavored gel appears. Paint it onto each tooth to whiten. To maximize results, use it one to two times per day. The formula won’t damage enamel and is gluten-free. You’ll never have to worry about running out, since the clear tube’s design lets you see exactly how much is left in the pen.
Best Strips: Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Whitestrips
There have been many imitators, but the original Crest Whitestrips are still in the lead. They can remove up to 10 years’ worth of stains from wine, coffee, and smoking. If you use the full treatment (which is once a day for half an hour), the results will last six months or even longer, and these are 25 times more effective than the leading whitening toothpaste. Unlike previous formulas, thanks to Advanced Seal Technology, you can even drink water while whitening your teeth—these have a grip that keeps them in place. The box includes 14 teeth whitening strip treatments, with one upper and one lower strip.
Best Kit: GLO Science Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device
This is as close as you can get to a professional whitening in the comfort of your own home, making it worth the splurge. The set comes with the GLO Brilliant teeth whitening device, mouthpiece and case, lip care balm, 10 vials of whitening gel (to last for 10 days of whitening), a universal USB power cord and adapter, a user manual, and a travel case.
The first step is applying the lip balm and brushing the whitening gel onto the front of your teeth. Next, activate the controller and place the mouthpiece inside your mouth. Then, the GLO technology — which stands for Guided Light Optics—uses light and heat to deliver lightning-speed whitening, along with the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide. The session lasts for eight minutes and should be done four times a day for three to five days to get the best results. Reviewers report seeing noticeably whiter teeth after just a few days, and there’s no sensitivity.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular teeth whitening products on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different products overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 3 of the products themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.