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Best teeth whitening kit 2023: Restore your pearly whites

Our selection of the best teeth whitening kits can help you brighten your teeth and get the perfect smile

If you drink a lot of tea, coffee or red wine, your teeth might not be as white as you’d like them to be. If that’s the case, our pick of the best teeth whitening kits could help restore those pearly whites to a more favourable colour.

The mere mention of teeth whitening can produce fear in many though, as they imagine cheap, ineffective treatments that do little more than increase sensitivity. The other side of it is exorbitantly expensive surgical treatments that only the likes of Simon Cowell can afford.

While there are plenty of duds out there, there are still some home DIY kits that will do a very good job helping you feel more confident smiling, without the need for a celeb budget. And, if you use one of the best electric toothbrushes, you’ll be able to achieve a whiter smile in no time.

Teeth naturally become more yellow as the years pass. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, you’ll find teeth whitening kits all over the place. If you’re want to invest in a kit that will give you a naturally white smile at the right price without too many unwanted side effects, read our guide below.

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Best teeth whitening kit: At a glance

How to choose the best teeth whitening kit for you

What types of teeth whitening kits are there?

  • Whitening strips: These easy-to-use adhesive strips contain a whitening gel that you stick to the surface of your teeth, usually for around half an hour, sometimes longer. It’s a process that needs to be repeated daily for a set amount of time, generally around a fortnight.
  • Whitening toothpastes: These work harder than regular toothpastes to remove stains and plaque. To achieve this, they may contain a mild abrasive or bleaching agent, while others contain activated carbon. You can use them in conjunction with other home kits.
  • Home bleaching kit: These can look horribly complicated, but a good kit will have a comprehensive user manual to guide you through the steps, which basically involve dipping the moulds into boiling water before fitting them onto your teeth (a bit like a mouth guard). You then add the whitening gel into the tray, which you insert against your teeth. They give you quick results.
  • Custom lightening trays: This is the type of kit that dentists are most likely to recommend, but you will need to work with them so they can mould your tray specifically for your teeth and show you how to apply the gel and tray at home. If you want to work with a professional and are prepared to spend a bit more, but can’t afford laser or LED treatment, this will get you the best results of all the kits listed here.
  • Pre-made tray: This is the poor man’s version of the custom lightening tray – in that the process is the same, but the tray isn’t fitted to the exact shape of your mouth. Provided you can cover the entire surface area of your teeth with your tray, it’s a good compromise. If your teeth are a little crooked, though, you may not get an even result.
  • LED gel kit: The LED teeth whitening light won’t make your teeth whiter, but it will accelerate the teeth whitening gel and make it more effective at breaking down tough stains. If you don’t have the custom-made tray created to your exact mouth shape, the LED light is good for reducing the amount of time the gel has to stay in your mouth.
  • Teeth whitening pen: This kit includes a thin, plastic tube containing whitening gel and is small enough to keep in your handbag or even your pocket, making it highly portable. It’s good for touch-ups and hard-to-reach places.

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Are home teeth whitening kits safe?

As long as you get your kit from a reputable source and follow the instructions carefully, yes. All the products we have reviewed are non-harmful, but it’s still best to choose your kit only after a consultation with your dentist as some people have more sensitive teeth.

Some people experience tooth sensitivity when using strips, but some strips are gentler than others. Meanwhile, home bleaching kits can cause blistering and sensitivity to the gums and lips, although gum shields are provided to help avoid this – and even if some of the solution leaks on and does cause soreness, these side effects only last a few days. Some kits warn against using during pregnancy or when breastfeeding and kits also usually suggest a minimum age of use.

Refrain from using teeth whitening kits too often as studies show this can negatively affect tooth enamel.

How long do teeth whitening kits take to work?

Some treatments last a few days, while other treatments last more than ten days.

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The best teeth whitening kits and toothpaste to buy in 2023

1. Billion Dollar Smile Teeth Whitening Kit: The best teeth whitening kit for sensitive teeth

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Superdrug

You’ll have no problem getting to grips with this easy-to-follow and exceptionally well-presented kit, provided you follow the straightforward instructions. The non-peroxide gel has been clinically tested and it doesn’t feel or smell as though you might be doing your mouth harm, which can be the case with some kits at this price range. That makes it a good option for those with sensitive teeth (although don’t use it if you haven’t gone to the dentist in a long time). In fact, it has a surprisingly pleasant aroma and you can see it taking effect after just one week, provided you use it daily. But you’ll need to avoid the likes of coffee, tea, curry and smoking during that time.

Key specs – Kit type: Tray

Check price at Superdrug

2. iWhite Instant 2 Teeth Whitening Kit: The best pre-moulded tray teeth whitening kit

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at LookFantastic

This pack of ten pre-filled trays is quick and easy to set up and use, thanks to the trays already containing the gel, which fit onto the front and back of your teeth. Our tester’s teeth were visibly whiter after 20 minutes and you can use it for five consecutive days for results that last, particularly if you invest in the iWhite toothpaste and mouthwash for daily use afterwards, plus the polisher for when you start to get plaque build-up. In fact, iWhite used to sell the whole lot together as an “advanced kit” and it’s a damn shame they stopped. Have a paper towel at the ready as it can all get pretty messy.

Key specs – Kit type: Pre-moulded tray

Check price at LookFantastic

3. Curaprox Black is White Toothpaste and Toothbrush: The best teeth whitening toothpaste

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon

Unlike typical whitening toothpastes that contain abrasive particles and bleaching agents, this charcoal-based toothpaste uses activated carbon to gently absorb and remove stain particles that discolour teeth – the idea being that it’s kinder to your enamel and ultimately a healthier way to get a gleaming set of gnashers. Also, unlike other teeth whitening toothpastes, it doesn’t dry out the mouth. It’s probably the priciest toothpaste you’ll buy in your life, but it’s a lot cheaper than some of the gel kits and we found whiter teeth after just a few days. Don’t be alarmed by the black frothing at the mouth when you use it (although you might want to warn your other half) as it leaves your mouth feeling really clean, with a fresh, ever-so-slightly lingering taste.

Key specs – Kit type: Whitening toothpaste

4. Rapid White 1 Week Tooth Whitening System With Charcoal: The best cheap teeth whitening kit

Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Boots

After brushing your teeth with the charcoal toothpaste, you put the gel-filled trays into your mouth and leave them for five to ten minutes. It’s not as uncomfortable as some trays, so no need for acute jaw ache, but we found it quite a loose fit and it can seem like a very long ten minutes. You’ll need to use it every night and morning for a week to get those pearly whites shining more brightly and be warned the actual colouring doesn’t really change. So it’s not a game-changer in the long run, but it’s definitely a way to offer a bit more dazzle to your choppers in a relatively short period of time and without breaking the bank.

Key specs – Kit type: Pre-made tray

Check price at Boots

5. Spotlight Oral Care Teeth Whitening Pen: The best teeth whitening pen

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Boots

The great thing about quality teeth whitening pens, such as this one from Spotlight Oral Health, is that they marry ease of use with effective results. It works by dispensing a small amount of gel, which includes the active whitening ingredient hydrogen peroxide, to actively dissolve stains rather than simply covering them up. Most importantly, it can start to work after just one use depending on the current state of your teeth.

Rather than lugging around a whole kit, this pen makes it easy to touch up your teeth on the move and keep them bright wherever you are.

Key specs – Kit type: Whitening pen

Check price at Boots

6. Procoal Activated Charcoal Whitening Powder: The best teeth whitening powder

Price when reviewed: £9 | Check price at Amazon

If you’re after something that’s created by those in the know – namely dentists – but at the same time completely organic, this little pot makes for a great purchase. Don’t be put off the black powder that looks as though it will have the exact opposite effect of whitening your teeth. By dipping your brush into the powder and using it like toothpaste, you only have to wait a couple of weeks for it to take effect. You won’t get professional-looking results, but it does get rid of stains more effectively than whitening toothpaste and mouthwash. On the downside, it’s really messy and can get stuck on and in-between your teeth. So go easy when getting the toothbrush to your mouth and remember you may need to use your mouthwash a good few times to get rid of every last bit.

Key specs – Kit type: Whitening powder

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