The 3 Best At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

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In-office teeth whitening is anything but cheap — in fact, one session can cost upwards of $500 — but it isn't your only option if you're after a whiter, brighter smile. At-home teeth whitening kits offer a more affordable alternative, and typically, take much less time as well. But obviously, not all teeth whitening kits are created equal, and some don't really make any difference at all. To help narrow down the best at-home teeth whitening kits that actually work, I spoke with Dr. Lawrence Fung, DDS, founder of Silicone Beach Dental.

"Whitening strips do work great for minor whitening needs, and they are really great for at-home maintenance," says Dr. Fung, who explains that these strips work by using either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. "The peroxide penetrates the enamel, reacting with the discolored molecules in your mouth, breaking the bonds that hold the stains together, leaving just the healthy white parts of your tooth," he says.

Both of these peroxides are safe for to use on your teeth, according to Fung and the Journal of the American Dental Association, and they both provide the exact same results. That said, "hydrogen peroxide may require shorter wear times since it breaks down faster than carbamide peroxide," notes Dr. Fung, so it's important to pay attention to and not exceed the recommended wear time. If you're looking for a more natural route, Dr. Fung says activated charcoal is a good option, because "it provides a safe and mild abrasion to lift stains."

If you have sensitive teeth, Dr. Fung says to pay attention to the ingredients used in the strips. "I would look to see if the strips contain potassium nitrate," Dr. Fung says. This ingredient is a desensitizer, which can help shield your teeth against harsh ingredients. If it doesn't, you could use a toothpaste that's formulated for sensitive teeth after using your white strips.

Scroll on to discover the best at-home whitening products you can buy on Amazon.

1. The Overall Best At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit

As far as at-home teeth whitening goes, it doesn't get any better than Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips. This tried-and-true pick comes with two different types of treatments in each box: Professional Effects and 1 Hour Express. Wear the Professional Effects strips for 30 minutes each day, and you'll see a whiter smile in three days (expect to see full results within one month).

While the Professional Effects strips are great for long-term whitening, the 1 Hour Express strips are better for immediate results (perhaps you have a cocktail party or business meeting, and could use a bit of last-minute brightening). Leave the express strips on for one hour, and you'll have an instantly noticeable whiter smiler.

In total, you get 44 treatments — 20 Professional Effects and two 1 Hour Express strips, both of which come with top and bottom strips.

2. The Best All-Natural Teeth Whitening Kit

According to Dr. Fung, activated charcoal is a safe and mild alternative to peroxide-based whitening strips. The ActiveWow Activated Coconut Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder is an Amazon reviewer-favorite; you might have seen it's popular on social media, too. The powder boasts over 14,800 five-star reviews and comes in a variety of different flavors (natural, peppermint, spearmint, and vanilla mint).

As far as application goes, it couldn't be easier. After brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste, dip a wet toothbrush into the powder and brush again for one to two minutes. The charcoal will gently lift stains and whiten your teeth without causing sensitivity, and you can use the powder up to twice a day.

3. The Best Teeth Whitening Pen

The AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen perhaps offers the least-fussy solution. Simply apply the pen wherever you want — it makes targeted application much easier, if you only have certain teeth you want whitened. It also means you can go about your day while you're whitening, since there's no sitting around with a strip across your teeth. Instead, you can apply the treatment and move on — run errands, talk on the phone, whatever. Use the pen up to two times a day, and expect to see results after just a few treatments. Just make sure to avoid food and drinks for at least an hour after application.

Another popular choice with Amazon customers, the AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pens have over 1,900 perfect five-star reviews. Some reviewers even report results after just one use.

The Best Toothpaste To Use To Maintain Your White Smile

If you want to maintain a bright, healthy smile after completing your whitening treatments, Dr. Fung suggests reaching for a toothpaste like Hello Oral Care Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste. This toothpaste contains "a calcium/mineral blend that helps maintain your bright smile," according to Dr. Fung. The toothpaste also has the benefit of being peroxide-free, SLS-free, and paraben-free, making it a great choice for people with sensitive teeth (and skin).

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