One of the most human gestures that can boost your confidence and make you more relatable to any audience is a bright, white smile. A good smile indicates excellent oral hygiene, but teeth can stain easily – common beverages like coffee and tea or other foods can dull your pearly whites and cause staining. There is no shortage of options to whiten your teeth, from pens and trays to strips and lights. In this article, we’ve rounded up the best teeth whitening products on the market that are safe, effective, and affordable, so you can achieve a radiant smile without breaking the bank.
A smile may have more of an impact than you think. According to a study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Spark Aligners, 2,000 U.S. respondents found that most people base a first impression of someone else on their smile (76%) or eyes (69%), more so than on their clothes (56%) or social media presence (27%). Three in five Americans actually hate how their smile looks in photos. Choosing to maintain proper oral hygiene can give your smile that much needed sparkle.
While brushing and flossing are essential parts of your daily oral hygiene to prevent cavities and the formation of new stains, they do not necessarily help to whiten teeth. A radiant smile requires professional or in-home whitening procedures. In the future you may be able to take advantage of a new treatment. Research from the American Chemical Society has resulted in the development of a new hydrogel treatment that breaks apart cavity-forming biofilms and whitens teeth without harming them.
Ready for a brighter smile? StudyFinds did the research for you, consulting ten expert websites to find the best teeth whitening products currently on the market. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended products across these sites. Have a favorite treatment of your own? Let us know what you use for your own smile maintenance in the comments below!
The List: Best Teeth Whitening Products, According to Experts
Crest Whitestrips are your best and safest bet when it comes to at home-whitening, as the only over the counter product approved by the American Dental Association. “Outside of gels, there are whitening strips, and five of the experts we spoke to mentioned Crest 3-D Whitestrips as their No. 1 recommendation in this category,” says The Strategist. “They are the only product on our list that has the ADA seal of acceptance, which means they have been evaluated for their safety and efficacy.”
Crest also makes express treatments for faster results and sensitive options for those with more particular teeth. “These ultra-popular Crest whitening strips are dentist-approved, and are designed to remove old tooth stains that are up to 14 years old. Plus, as an added bonus, this kit also contains two one hour express treatments for same-day brightening results. There’s even a sensitive version of Whitestrips for those in need,” writes Harper’s Bazaar.
“True to its claim of professional-level whitening, these Crest Whitestrips are the GH Beauty Lab’s gold standard for smile brightening,” raves Good Housekeeping. “Lab evaluations found that after 20 days of daily use, they lightened teeth a noticeable two to four shades.”
If you want an option closer to the whitening treatments you’d find at your dentist, Opalescense is a great option. “A number of dentists selected Opalescence Go as their favorite pick when Forbes interviewed them to select the best teeth whitening kits. They praised the strength of the solution in particular,” explains Forbes.
This kit uses 15% hydrogen peroxide gel, higher concentration than most over the counter kits. The trays allow for better coverage of teeth than strips or pens. “The benefit of using a mouth tray or mouth guard with gel is that, unlike white strips, you aren’t as likely to miss spots on the teeth or irritate your gums,” says Insider. “Opalescence is known for its whitening products in the dental industry.”
“The Opalescence Go Prefilled Trays use a 15 percent hydrogen peroxide treatment, which is higher than some of the other options on our list, meaning you’ll get faster results,” writes Health. “Our tester noticed almost immediate results after one use, while noting that the higher dose caused some discomfort and sensitivity.”
Users who tested the SmileDirectClub kit liked it for its ease of use, reasonable pricing, and noticeable results. “The SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit is everything a whitening product should be, which is why it came in as our best overall pick: it whitened our teeth, was easy to apply and use, and caused zero sensitivity,” raves VeryWell Health. “In fact, we were hard-pressed to find a single downside to using this product.”
Even if the solution is only 9% hydrogen peroxide, you will still see results with consistent use for only five minutes, twice a day. “We saw a noticeable improvement within a couple of days, and after a week of consistent use, we were thrilled to report our teeth were a full 10 shades lighter,” says People.
“After testing 21 different teeth whiteners, SmileDirectClub’s whitening kit was an easy pick as our best overall—our tester’s teeth visibly whitened in just a week without causing or exacerbating any sensitivity,” writes Health.
The AuraGlow kit comes with a light that activates the solution, which is easily applied into trays. “However, if you’re looking for a whitening kit that costs less than $100, it couldn’t hurt to try this one, as long as you don’t have sensitive gums or teeth,” explains CNET. “The whitening gel is easy to dispense from the syringes — a welcome feature after spending too much time and effort squeezing tiny tubes of whitening gel with other products.”
The whitening process requires wear of 30 minutes per day, but provides excellent results without causing any sensitivity or pain. “Dr. Lieb waxes poetic about the AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit, as it’s highly effective and also more affordable than other products on the market,” says Allure.
“Overall, the whitening results were significant enough to make us recommend this product as a good choice, especially since it didn’t cause any pain or discomfort and is priced within the average range for a whitening kit,” writes VeryWell Health.
GLO Science’s kit is a bit more of an investment but provides dentist-quality results. “A little bit on the pricier side, this is pretty much the closest you can get to a pro-style treatment at home,” writes Byrdie. “You start by applying the protective lip balm, then brush a thin layer of the whitening gel along the fronts of your teeth. Pop in the mouthpiece and turn it on, either manually or via the app, fancy.”
The kit provides extra protective care for your lips as well. “This hydrogen peroxide kit isn’t just approved by a dentist, it was actually invented by one. We also love that it comes with a protective and hydrating lip balm to wear while using the heated light, too,” says Harper’s Bazaar.
“While this kit requires a bit more of an initial commitment, both in time and money, it does aim to deliver faster results that are more akin to those achieved in the dental chair,” advises Forbes. “Dentist Dr. Angelique Freking, the director of Park Slope Dentistry Seventh Avenue, recommended this teeth whitening kit to us when previously interviewed, confirming the LED and hydrogen peroxide combo works well together.”
You might also be interested in:
- The Strategist
- Harper’s Bazaar
- Good Housekeeping
- VeryWell Health
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.