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The Best Teeth-Whitening Kits

Men's Health Logo By Garrett Munce, Isadora Baum of Men's Health | Slide 1 of 11: Plenty of foods and drinks can stain your teeth. Fortunately, home teeth-whitening kits can brighten your smile back up, and they’re generally not hard to use and don’t take forever…unless you spend hours online trying to figure out which is the best teeth-whitening kit. Let us save you some time and money. Discover which teeth-whitening kits are best, and what you should look for in top teeth-whitening products, including pens, strips, and gels. What to Look for in a Teeth-Whitening ProductGet the right ingredients. Hydrogen peroxide is the most important ingredient to look for. "Most OTC whitening products contain a concentration of hydrogen peroxide that is between 7% and 10%. Or they contain a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, called carbamide, a peroxide which is as effective in higher concentrations," says cosmetic dentist Brian Kantor, DDS, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in NYC.Make sure it can stay in contact with teeth for a while. Another quality of an OTC product is how well the product can remain isolated on the teeth, he says. "A teeth-whitening pen will not work as well as something that will remain on the teeth and won’t get washed away by saliva," he explains. Look for long-lasting effects. Teeth-whitening toothpastes aren’t so effective because they only remove the external surface stain on the tooth. If you have a lot of stains, they will remove them so teeth will appear whiter, but they do not soak into the enamel and bleach the teeth. “Using both whitening strips and whitening toothpaste is a good one-two punch for a quick whitening fix,” he says. Which Teeth-Whitening Kits Have the Best ResultsThe length of time your teeth remain brighter varies, and it's influenced by how often you drink trigger beverages such as coffee, tea, dark soda, red wine or whether you smoke (you don't, right?). “The results vary from person to person, depending on how receptive one’s teeth are to the bleaching gel,” says Dr. Kantor. “People whose teeth have more of a yellow/brown tone usually bleach better than people with gray tones in their enamel," he says. And while at-home products generally contain a weaker percentage of hydrogen peroxide than in-office bleaching products do, they can still work. That said, a higher percentage of chemicals might not be better for you. "If you are a patient who tends to have more sensitivity, select a teeth-whitening product that has a lower peroxide concentration (15 percent or less), or select a product that doesn’t use peroxides as their chief whitening ingredient," says orthodontist Heather Kunen, DDS, MS, co-founder of Beam Street.Teeth-whitening products always work best when the tooth surface is clean and free of debris, Kunen says. So brush and floss before you whiten with whatever product you choose. Here are the 10 best teeth whitening kits we've found.

Plenty of foods and drinks can stain your teeth. Fortunately, home teeth-whitening kits can brighten your smile back up, and they’re generally not hard to use and don’t take forever…unless you spend hours online trying to figure out which is the best teeth-whitening kit.

Let us save you some time and money. Discover which teeth-whitening kits are best, and what you should look for in top teeth-whitening products, including pens, strips, and gels.

What to Look for in a Teeth-Whitening Product

  • Get the right ingredients. Hydrogen peroxide is the most important ingredient to look for. "Most OTC whitening products contain a concentration of hydrogen peroxide that is between 7% and 10%. Or they contain a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, called carbamide, a peroxide which is as effective in higher concentrations," says cosmetic dentist Brian Kantor, DDS, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in NYC.
  • Make sure it can stay in contact with teeth for a while. Another quality of an OTC product is how well the product can remain isolated on the teeth, he says. "A teeth-whitening pen will not work as well as something that will remain on the teeth and won’t get washed away by saliva," he explains.
  • Look for long-lasting effects. Teeth-whitening toothpastes aren’t so effective because they only remove the external surface stain on the tooth. If you have a lot of stains, they will remove them so teeth will appear whiter, but they do not soak into the enamel and bleach the teeth. “Using both whitening strips and whitening toothpaste is a good one-two punch for a quick whitening fix,” he says.

Which Teeth-Whitening Kits Have the Best Results

The length of time your teeth remain brighter varies, and it's influenced by how often you drink trigger beverages such as coffee, tea, dark soda, red wine or whether you smoke (you don't, right?). “The results vary from person to person, depending on how receptive one’s teeth are to the bleaching gel,” says Dr. Kantor.

“People whose teeth have more of a yellow/brown tone usually bleach better than people with gray tones in their enamel," he says.

And while at-home products generally contain a weaker percentage of hydrogen peroxide than in-office bleaching products do, they can still work. That said, a higher percentage of chemicals might not be better for you. "If you are a patient who tends to have more sensitivity, select a teeth-whitening product that has a lower peroxide concentration (15 percent or less), or select a product that doesn’t use peroxides as their chief whitening ingredient," says orthodontist Heather Kunen, DDS, MS, co-founder of Beam Street.

Teeth-whitening products always work best when the tooth surface is clean and free of debris, Kunen says. So brush and floss before you whiten with whatever product you choose.

Here are the 10 best teeth whitening kits we've found.

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