Top 10 Best Teeth Whitening Products of 2021 – In-Depth Reviews

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If you’re tired of blaming bad lighting for your teeth looking more dingy yellow than pearly white on the color wheel it may be time to take action.  Over time our teeth, unless you live on a diet of white bread and water, will begin to discolor.  As some of the the most enjoyable foods/drinks like wine, tea, coffee, colas, blueberries, chocolate, tomato sauce (and just about anything else that would leave a stain on a white t-shirt) are some of the worse culprits.  

In the age of COVID the convenience of at-home whitening products may be the best plan of action.  Home based treatments are significantly less expensive than in-office procedures.  Also, if tooth sensitivity is a concern, the lower peroxide percentage of at home whitening kits will be gentler on your teeth and gums.  

Versatility is another bonus when it comes to home whitening kits.  You can customize your own system  with kits, strips, pens, toothpastes and toppers.  Here are some of the the best products on the market today:

Top 10 List

SNOW Teeth Whitening Kit with Blue LED Light | Complete at Home Whitening System

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide

Price: $149.95

The SNOW Teeth Whitening Kit includes four gel applicator wands, a blue LED light and a mouthpiece.  

 Three of the gel wands are standard strength (~8% peroxide) for everyday stains and one wand is extra strength (~15% peroxide) for more stubborn stains.  

The process is similar to the other kits: (1) apply the gel to your teeth with the applicator wand (2) turn on the blue light (3) insert the mouthpiece and (4) wait nine minutes 

It will take between 21-30 to see a complete whitening transformation.  

Crest 3D Whitestrips with Blue Light

Active Ingredient: Hydrogen Peroxide  

Price: $59.99

Crest has added blue light technology to their best selling Whitestrips.  The blue light is the same technology used in dentist offices.  The light multiplies the effect of the hydrogen peroxide found in the strips.  Essentially allowing the peroxide to penetrate your tooth enamel more efficiently.   

The protocol is simple: for ten days you apply the strips for one hour.   

You then hold the included blue light up to your teeth for ten minutes.

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit with Blue Light

Active Ingredient: Carbamide Peroxide

Price: $48.95

This AuraGlow kit shares many of the features of in-office whitening systems: 

-35% carbamide peroxide gel  

-mouth tray

-blue light technology 

To use you this kit: (1) attach the blue light to the mouth tray (2) fill the front of the tray with .5 ml of gel (3) place the tray in your mouth (4) turn on the light (5) sit back and relax for thirty minutes.

GLO Brilliant Deluxe Teeth Whitening Kit with Blue Light and Heat Accelerator 

Active Ingredient: Hydrogen Peroxide

Price: $199.00

Created by New York City dentist Jonathon Levine the GLO (Guided Light Optics) kit uses heat and blue light to maximize the whitening effect of the hydrogen peroxide.  

To use: (1) apply the peroxide gel to the brush tip applicator (2) apply the gel to your teeth (3) turn on the GLO light/heat mouthpiece (4) place in mouth for eight minutes (5) reapply gel and repeat for two more eight minute cycles.

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen, 35% Carbamide Peroxide

Active Ingredient: Carbamide Peroxide 

Price: $21.99

Tooth whitening pens’ advantage is their mobility.  Throw one in your pocket or purse and head out the door.  After your coffee heavy brunch apply the whitening gel. Enjoying red wine with dinner?  After dinner apply the gel and proceed with the evening.

The AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen leads the class with its 35% carbamide peroxide gel.  This higher concentration means faster results.  However, if tooth sensitivity is an issue it may be to your advantage to choose a product with a lower concentration of peroxide. 

To use simply apply the gel to your teeth with the applicator pen.  Smile for the next sixty seconds so your lips don’t cover teeth.  That’s it.  Sixty seconds 2-3 times a day and you’re good to go. 

Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen

Active Ingredient: Hydrogen Peroxide

Price: $24.99

The Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen is wildly popular with over 32,000 reviews on Amazon.  Because it is only 3% hydrogen peroxide it is very gentle on sensitive teeth.  The trade-off for the low hydrogen peroxide solution is it needs to be left on for a longer period of time.  However, this is not much of an issue because it works while you sleep at night.  

To use this product: (1) dry off your teeth with a paper towel (2) use the applicator pen to apply the whitening serum (3) wait 10-15 seconds for a clear film to form (4) go to sleep (the dried serum will stay on your teeth all night) (5) brush your teeth in the morning to remove the serum.

Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste

Polishing Agent: Hydrated Silica

Price: $14.39

Whitening toothpastes use a different mechanism than peroxides.  Rather than penetrating tooth enamel to attack stains like peroxide based products most whitening toothpastes use a finely ground polishing compound to buff out surface stains.  

Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste uses hydrated silica as its buffing agent.  In three days users report 95% of surface stains have been removed.  

Cali White Activated Charcoal & Organic Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Polishing Agent:  Baking Soda, Activated Charcoal 

Price: $8.99

Cali White Activated Charcoal & Organic Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Toothpaste offers a whitening product which does not contain sulfates, fluoride or any other ingredients which may concern some users.  Instead they use all natural whitening agents like activated charcoal, certified organic coconut oil and baking soda.  

Simply brush twice a day and this toothpaste has been clinically proven to whiten teeth up to 7.7 shades whiter.  

LINHART Teeth Whitener Gel 

Active Ingredient: Hydrogen Peroxide

Price: $24.00

The LINHART Teeth Whitener Gel is an innovative product.  It is a toothpaste “topper.”  Meaning you squirt a dab of the whitener gel on top of your favorite toothpaste.  You now have a customized whitening toothpaste which uses hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth rather than a polishing agent.  Because you are able to use it with your favorite toothpaste you can avoid the dreaded yuck mouth taste some toothpastes leave behind.  

Use twice a day and your results will be apparent.  

Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips by Oral Essentials

Active Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Sage Oil, and Lemon Peel Oil 

Price: $49.99

Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips are the product for you if you would rather avoid putting hydrogen peroxide in your mouth.  Instead the creators of Lumineux opted to use a natural combination of coconut oil, sage oil, and lemon peel oil.  Do they work? In a word: yes.  Though perhaps not as fast as a 35% hydrogen peroxide solution.  However, because these strips don’t use peroxide tooth sensitivity is not an issue. 


If you would rather whiten your teeth while sitting in your favorite lounge chair rather than The Chair at your dentist’s office you should try these effective at-home products.  Whether you are trying to whiten yellow teeth which haven’t been white since junior high school or you are maintaining a pearly white smile you paid good money to achieve these products are cost effective and efficient tools to have in your arsenal.  


Why do my teeth remain yellow even though I brush them multiple times a day?

There are two main reasons why teeth turn yellow and won’t turn white no matter how diligently they are brushed: 

(1) External staining is the most common reason for teeth discoloration.  The big three external staining culprits are acids, tannins and chromogens.  

Each of the big three  leads to stains via separate mechanisms.  Acids (like orange juice) soften and roughen the enamel of the teeth.  This makes them significantly more susceptible to staining.  Tannins (found in teas and coffee for example) are astringent compounds which bind stains to your teeth.  Chromogens (like blueberries, wine, beets etc) are defined as “a substance which can be readily converted into a dye or other colored compound.” Chromogens essentially dye the enamel of your teeth.  

Smoking is another type of external staining agent.  Because our teeth our porous (like our skin) the tar and nicotine found in tobacco is readily absorbed in to our teeth.  Though nicotine is colorless in isolation it turns yellow when it is combined with oxygen.  Though this fact might be useful in your next game of Trivial Pursuit it is highly detrimental to your quest for white teeth.  

(2) Internal stains are also impervious to brushing.  Internal stains are the result of injury and trauma to your teeth.  When a tooth is damaged it will often develop a dark brown or grey hue.  Think of it as a “bruise.” Unfortunately, no matter how much you brush the outside of the tooth the internal stain will remain. 

What are the potential downsides associated with teeth whitening products?

The main concern is increased tooth sensitivity.  The common compounds used in effective teeth whitening products are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Both can cause sensitivity issues in some users.  

A secondary concern is some products don’t whiten teeth with peroxides but rather with abrasives.  In this case the user must be aware they are may be removing tooth enamel along with the stains.  

How do celebrities get their teeth so white?

Celebrities frequently pay big bucks for porcelain veneers.  Veneers are essentially strong, thin facades made of dental porcelain which attach to the front of your teeth.  

The advantage of veneers is they won’t stain over time.  The acids, tannins and chromogens have little to no effect on porcelain veneers.  

The downside to veneers is they are very expensive.  Veneers typically cost between $900 to $2500 per tooth.  So, you’re looking at $11,000 to $30,000 to veneer your top and bottom front teeth.  

What is the difference between dentist applied, in-office teeth whitening treatments and at-home whitening treatments?

The primary difference is the strength of the peroxide applied to your teeth.  Dentists typically use a stronger peroxide solution than is available in at-home products.  

The whitening solution dentists use can contain between 25% to 40% peroxide.  At-home solutions typically contain between 5% and 20% peroxide.  

There are advantages and disadvantages to a higher concentration of peroxide.  The advantage is the treatment takes less time.  The disadvantage is there is a larger chance you may suffer tooth sensitivity issues.  As the concentration of peroxide increases the chance for tooth sensitivity also rises.  At-home whitening products are much gentler, though they will take more time to see similar results.  

What is the average cost of teeth whitening at the dentist’s office?

The average cost of in-office teeth whitening ranges from $600 to $1200.  The variation in cost depends on the products used, the technology used (such as blue light) and the state/city in which you live.  


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