If you love starting your day with coffee, then winding down with a big glass or red wine in the evening, chances are your teeth might be a bit stained. Don't freak. As an avid chai drinker, I can assure you that you're not alone. There's truly nothing wrong with having a little bit of a ~tinted~ look to your happy face, but I personally love keeping a few good teeth whitening kits and strips on-hand for times I want my smile to look a bit brighter and whiter.
If you're new to the at-home teeth whitening game, you may feel it could be a bit daunting to find something that's both effective, fast, comes dentist-recommended, and may also work well with sensitive teeth. That's why I consulted six dentists to see which teeth whitening kits and strips they recommend to their patients.
1Best Teeth Whitening Overall3D Whitestrips Crest Read More
2Best All-Inclusive Teeth Whitening KitOptic White Teeth Whitening Pen and LED Tray Colgate Read More
3Best Teeth-Whitening Kit For The ValueTake Home Kit DayWhite 6% HP Philips Zoom Read More
4Best No-Frills Teeth Whitening KitHome Teeth Whitening 35% Syringes Opalescence Read More
5Best Teeth Whitening Kit For Sensitive TeethAt-Home Whitening Kit Laughland Read More
Dentist Dr. Maria Ryan, DDS says to start by looking for active ingredients, citing hydrogen peroxide as one she particularly recommends. "Hydrogen peroxide is used in oral care products to effectively whiten teeth," she says. "It serves as a bleaching agent that chemically breaks down stains by penetrating the teeth and removing compounds that may cause discoloration." And, cosmetic dentist (and founder/CEO of SymplBrush) Dr. Keith Arbeitman, DDS agrees that hydrogen peroxide is a great whitening agent, also citing that carbamide peroxide is a good one to look out for on whitening kit ingredients labels.
And while you can, of course, eat and drink anything you'd like, if you're really serious about upping your teeth whitening game, cosmetic dentist Dr. Lauren Becker, DDS has the ultimate loophole to those of you foodies and lovers of wine. "Avoid acidic beverages like juices, sodas, or dark sauces like soy sauce and ketchup," she says. "Instead of whiskey or red wine, I recommend my patients enjoy white wine, vodka, or tequila. Since I'm a cool dentist and know how to have a good time, instead of cutting out alcohol all together, I suggest options that are lighter in color. "
See below for the best dentist-recommended teeth whitening kits and strips in 2022.
Arbeitman raves about Crest's bestselling Whitestrips. "I tend to recommend Crest Whitestrips simply because they led the way and actually invest considerably into research and development," he says. "The only reason we’re even having this discussion is because Crest put it into the market." And, they even have an option for sensitive teeth which Becker recommends.
Bonus: I'm a personal fan of these, and love how travel-friendly the little packets.
Yes, this is $76, but it includes everything you need for intense teeth whitening and maintenance. Ryan loves that the LED light in this kit bolsters the whitening effect of the hydrogen peroxide-infused gel in the pen. "It's rechargeable, designed for no tooth sensitivity, water resistant, and hands-free," she says. "Plus, it's easy to use and designed for varying mouth sizes."
And, when you're not using the LED tray, you can use the pen alone for touch-ups.
For just $30, Philips Zoom offers a fully customized whitening kit based upon a consultation you do with your dentist. Periodontist Dr. Timothy Donley, DDS highly recommends it to his patients.
"You'll be fitted for a customized tray to perfectly fit your teeth and gum line, ensuring that the whitening solution penetrates teeth without creating any irritation to your gums," he says. But, no matter what Donley notes that whatever formula you get, they're all packed with enamel-protecting ingredients that reduce sensitivity. "Patients get noticeable results in days, whitening teeth up to eight shades lighter.
Biologic cosmetic dentist Dr. Gerry Curatola, DDS recommends Opalescene's no-frills carbamide peroxide gel-filled syringes to you minimalists out there. "There are lots of other at-home whitening systems, but this remains one of the mainstays of the
most researched and most used professional at-home teeth whitening products," he says.
My personal favorite, I love how easy Laughland is to use and that it gives me a lot of control over how strong of a whitening sesh I want to have depending on the results I'm looking for or how sensitive my teeth feel at the time. Simply push some gel on to the LED mouthpiece, plug it straight in to your phone, and watch Real Housewives for as long as you'd like to leave it in for (I usually do about 20 minutes).
"I’ve always liked Laughland’s approach," says periodontist Dr. Peter TJ Kwon, DDS. "They’re among the only safe at-home whitening products to clearly state the bleaching agent they use, as well as the amount in each formula, giving patients the ability to choose the formula that best fits them."
Ok, so maybe you want to dip your toe in the teeth whitening pond rather than dive straight in with LED kits or strips. In that case, Becker recommends this budget-friendly kit from Crest.
"My patients get noticeable results in under a week's time with this without breaking the bank," she says. "White strips can be bulky, annoying & require consistency and time while all this requires is the two minutes in which you should already be brushing your teeth." She says that the first step removes plaque while helping prevent sensitivity, and then step two contains the bleaching agent, peroxide.