Teeth Whitening Kits: Finding the Best Option

What to Look For in a Teeth Whitening Kit

Dentists recommend looking for whitening kits that contain peroxide, which bleaches teeth. Peroxide can help to diminish stains on the surface of your teeth, and it may also work under your enamel to remove intrinsic stains.

The Opalescence Go kit is a popular option because it includes reusable whitening trays that are easy to customize and fit your mouth well. It has a low-dose peroxide solution and long treatment duration for maximum results.

Customised Trays

The most popular teeth whitening kits include custom-fitted trays and bleaching product that you apply at home. These treatments work best for stains caused by smoking, foods/beverages and aging. More stubborn stains, like those from tooth decay and tetracycline antibiotics, may need restorations such as dental bonding or veneers to fade.

Dentists recommend shopping for products that contain active bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break down stains on the surface of the teeth, says cosmetic dentist and If Your Mouth Could Talk author Dr. Kami Hoss.

GH Beauty Lab tested this kit, which includes a maximum-strength peroxide gel and LED light tray. The trays, which look like clear mouthguards, are easy to insert and remove, though you might notice your voice sounds a little slurred while wearing them. The set also comes with three whitening pens (which can be used without the LED tray) and a case to store them in.

Powerful Formula

The best teeth whitening kits will contain at least 3% hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are the most effective whitening ingredients for stains. Some will even have higher concentrations of either ingredient for faster results.

Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scientists test all types of whitening strips, pens and trays for effectiveness and ease of use, measuring testers’ tooth shades before and after using each product. They also evaluate each kit for perceived sensitivity, cleanliness and stain removal.

The Pearly Whites LED whitening kit includes a Pearly Whites whitening lamp that activates the whitening gel and speeds up results, along with mouth trays that mold to your unique smile, syringes of professional-strength whitening gel for 15 treatments, fluoride-enriched desensitization gel that helps replace minerals and soothe sensitive teeth, and a tray case for keeping your whitening trays at home. The kit also comes with a special Best Friends Pack of 2 whitening kits at a discounted price, so you and your BFF can whiten together.

Easy to Use

A whitening kit should be easy to use, with a mouthpiece that’s comfortable to bite for the recommended 10 minutes. In addition to that, the product should have a well-designed case for storage at home and on the go.

The Good Housekeeping Beauty Lab rigorously tests teeth whitening strips, trays, and gels to see how they work in real-life. Our testers’ teeth are photographed under standardized lighting before and after using the product as directed to measure their shade.

Most over-the-counter whitening kits contain peroxide, which causes the bubbling action that makes your smile whiter (it’s also the main ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash). While peroxide is safe for most people to use, pregnant and nursing women may want to avoid it. Other ingredients, like carbamide peroxide (a diluted version of hydrogen peroxide), can be found in some kits as well.


Whitening products work by bleaching (lightening) external and intrinsic stains on your teeth. The type of staining you have will determine which product is best for you. Intrinsic stains, like discoloration from antibiotics or tetracycline, may require additional help from a dentist to resolve.

A good whitening kit will contain both a standard whitening gel and an LED-powered tray to speed up the process. It also comes with a whitening pen that’s ideal for on-the-go touch-ups.

Another bonus: this kit’s whitening pen is formulated with hydroxyapatite, which strengthens enamel and boosts the results of any whitening product.

All of the dentists we spoke to agreed that whitening kits are safe for most people and can be effective, but they’re not appropriate for all types of stains. People with thin enamel or gum disease should steer clear of whitening, until their dental issues are treated first. This includes pregnant women. This is because the toxins that build up in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and potentially cause harm to the fetus.

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