Best Home Teeth Whitening Kits UK: Reviews, Costs, Comparisons

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Are you considering using a home teeth whitening kit to brighten up your smile? If so, you're certainly not alone. There are all kinds of things that can cause our teeth to become discoloured. Everyday foods and drinks like tea, coffee, wine, sauces and berries are just a few of the main culprits.

But how do you know which is the best teeth whitening kit for you?

white teeth
You're not alone in wishing your teeth were whiter

The whitening industry has boomed in recent years and there is now a huge variety of whitening products and treatments available in the UK. And while it's nice to have options, this choice can be overwhelming if you're new to it all.

It's great that you're here to do some research before deciding how to whiten your teeth. With the recent crackdown on beauticians and other untrained individuals performing whitening treatments illegally, people are becoming more concerned about finding a safe (and legal) way to get a whiter smile.

In this article we explain why home whitening kits are such a popular option for people dissatisfied with the shade of their teeth. You'll be able to compare the cost and effectiveness of some of the best at-home teeth whitening kits in the UK for 2020 to make your decision easier. Finally, we offer some advice on how to prepare for teeth whitening at home and care for your teeth afterwards.

Best Home Teeth Whitening Kits

Very Good Smile

Check the latest price

Treatment Time: 20-30 minutes
Treatment Duration: 10 days
Main Whitening Ingredient: Urea peroxide & hydrogen peroxide

smile avenue whitening kit

Smile Avenue

Check the latest price

Treatment Time: 20-30 minutes
Treatment Duration: 1-2 weeks
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium Carbonate Peroxide

MySmile

Check the latest price

Treatment Time: 10 minutes
Treatment Duration:9 days
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium chlorite

Best Home Whitening Kits

Very Good Smile

Treatment Time: 20-30 minutes
Treatment Duration: 10 days
Main Whitening Ingredient: Urea peroxide & hydrogen peroxide

Check the latest price

Smile Avenue

Treatment Time: 20-30 minutes
Treatment Duration: 1-2 weeks
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium Carbonate Peroxide

Check the latest price

MySmile

Treatment Time: 10 minutes
Treatment Duration: 9 days
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium chlorite

Check the latest price

Ways to make your teeth whiter

There are many whitening products and treatments available to try. Some are performed in a dentist's office while others can be bought over-the-counter or online to use at home. Choosing the right one for you will come down to two main factors: how much you want to spend and how drastic you want the results to be.

brushing teeth
Toothpaste is cheap but less effective

Whitening toothpastes are the cheapest option but they are abrasive to teeth and prolonged use can cause sensitivity. Results are mild and only last for as long as you are using the product.

On the other end of the scale, you can visit your dentist for whitening treatment using advanced laser technology. Although this delivers impressive results with just one visit, the cost of treatment can easily exceed £1,000 (but you might find it cheaper abroad). There is also a risk that you'll end up with dazzling white teeth that just look weird.

Cheaper yet effective

Somewhere in the middle, offering a balance between price and results, is the option of a teeth whitening kit. Available in many high-street chemists as well as online, these kits can produce good, lasting results after 1-2 weeks' use.

Most teeth whitening kits cost £15 – £50 in the UK. More expensive options usually have stronger gel, better quality ingredients, or more components included. They are much cheaper than visiting a dentist, and offer the added benefit of allowing you to do your teeth whitening at home, when it suits you.

But even if you have decided to whiten your teeth at home with one of these kits, you're still faced with many options. Should you go for a kit that uses an LED light? Which kind of mouth tray is easiest to use? Should you supplement your whitening with other products like toothpaste, mouthwash or a whitening pen? And how can you be sure it's safe to use?

We're focusing on at-home kits in this article but if you're interested in other ways to whiten your teeth you should check out our complete guide to teeth whitening as well. This covers other methods like whitening strips and pens as well as professional treatments carried out at the dentist. There is even a section on natural whitening techniques for those who would rather try a chemical-free approach.

Best teeth whitening kits in the UK for 2020

To start with, let's look at three of the top teeth whitening kits available in the UK. You will see:

  • How they work
  • What each kit contains
  • Pros and cons
  • Any unique features

This information will help you make up your mind about which is the best teeth whitening kit for you. We've also included excerpts from real home teeth whitening kit reviews so you can see what other people thought of their results.

Plus, we've got an exclusive discount code for one of these whitening kits to make it even more affordable.

#1 Smile Avenue

Product Mouldable or Fixed Shape Trays? LED Light? Main Whitening Ingredient Treatment Time Treatment Duration Gel included Refills Available?
Smile Avenue Fixed Yes, built-in Sodium Carbonate Peroxide 20 minutes 1-2 weeks 30ml Yes

Why have we selected this as the best teeth whitening kit in the UK right now?

Smile Avenue Professional Teeth Whitening Kit is highly rated product which has recently launched in the UK market. This kit is made in the US with high-quality ingredients. Its gentle gel formula produces visible results in 1-2 weeks (or less, according to some reviewers), and you can check your progress with the shade guide provided.

Since you get 30ml of whitening gel in this kit, it will last for up to two complete courses of treatment, depending on how quickly you see results. Refills are available too, so you can repeat your treatment later without having to buy a whole new kit.

It also includes a cleaning spray, which you use to brush your teeth before each application. The fixed-shape mouth tray is easy to use, and has built-in LED lights (rather than an exterior one) for better coverage. It conveniently plugs into your phone or laptop, and there are no batteries to worry about.

Smile Avenue's teeth whitening kit reviews are generally very positive in the UK as well as in France, where it first launched. Here's what some users have to say about it:

“I’ve tried several teeth whitening kits and this is going to be my new go-to now. It’s really easy to use…”

“I have not completed the recommended 14 days of treatment yet but I already feel that the improvement is visible. I am very satisfied with this purchase and the ease of use of the kit.”

“I purchased this Smile Avenue kit with it being made in the USA and product of France. I am impressed with the results so far. I have used the kit for 6 days and I have seen my teeth 3 shades whiter and I have plenty more of the product left too.”

View our full review of Smile Avenue here to read more about why we've selected it as the best at-home teeth whitening kit for 2020.

To make this kit even better value for money, you can get 10% off Smile Avenue on Amazon for a limited time by entering the code SMILEA10 at checkout. Click below to get started!

#2 Very Good Smile

Product Mouldable or Fixed Shape Trays? LED Light? Main Whitening Ingredient Treatment Time Treatment Duration Gel included Refills Available?
Very Good Smile Fixed Yes, exterior Urea peroxide & hydrogen peroxide 20 minutes 10 applications 10ml Yes
gentle teeth whitening kit
This gentle whitening kit conforms to EU regulations

Very Good Smile's Professional Home Teeth Whitening Kit comes with everything you need to brighten your smile – including a shade guide so you can check your progress. It contains enough gel for 10 applications, with a recommended usage time of 20 minutes per day.

Once you have finished your first treatment you can buy Very Good Smile gel refills which work out at an affordable £9 per treatment course.

What sets this kit apart is the fact that it's manufactured in France and therefore conforms to EU safety regulations. It also has a gentle formula so is a good choice if you're worried about tooth sensitivity or have had a bad experience with high-strength hydrogen peroxide whiteners.

The LED light attaches directly to the mouth tray for easy hands-free use, and there is no fiddly moulding required.

Read our full review of Very Good Smile here.

Very Good Smile's teeth whitening range has been recently released to the UK market but in other European markets it has already gained a good reputation as a kit that's easy to use and gives noticeable results in just a few days.

The manufacturer's generous 30-day money-back guarantee gives extra peace of mind should you have any problems whitening teeth at home with this kit.

#3 MySmile

Product Mouldable or Fixed Shape Trays? LED Light? Main Whitening Ingredient Treatment Time Treatment Duration Gel included Refills Available?
MySmile Fixed Yes, exterior Sodium chlorite 10 minutes 9 treatments 9ml Yes

The MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit is produced in the USA and contains sodium chlorite. The manufacturers claim their formula results in “no sensitivity”, and the teeth whitening kit reviews for this product seem to agree, although some report gum irritation.

Included in the MySmile home whitening kit is:

  • A soft silicone mouth tray (fixed shape)
  • An LED light with automatic 10-minute timer
  • 3 x 3ml syringes of gel (9ml total)
  • Instruction manual

The recommended treatment time is just 10 minutes, after which the light shuts off. This is considerably shorter than some other treatments, but it's still long enough to produce noticeable results in just a few days.

“After just one use I can see a slight difference! Very neatly packaged and looks good,” says one reviewer. Another shares a similar experience: “I noticed the difference after the first use. I’m now on day three and my teeth are definitely brighter.”

The kit contains enough gel for 9 days of treatment – less than the other two mentioned here – but refills are available. This pack of 6 x 3ml MySmile gels works out at less than £1 per treatment.

Reading reviews of this teeth whitening kit, the one thing that stands out is how easy it is to use. The mouth trays don't need to be moulded, the light attaches for hands-free usage, and it only takes 10 minutes out of your day.

Other kits

What about the Insta-famous kits you've probably seen plastered all over social media? Often all that really differentiates them is the ingredients in the gel, the price, and the celebrities that are paid to endorse them.

There may not be anything intrinsically wrong with these whitening kits, in fact many users are happy with their results. But big marketing budgets have to be funded somehow, and that's usually reflected in the price of the kits.

Also make sure you compare the kit contents so you can see what value they offer. Cheaper kits often have less gel for fewer treatments, which means you'll be forking out for a new kit or refills much sooner.

We have full write-ups of HiSmile and iWhite kits which you can read if you want to know how they compare to others on the market.

How do teeth whitening kits work?

mouth trays for whitening gel
Most kits use syringes to dispense whitening gel into mouth trays

Although the individual components of home whitening kits vary, the principle behind them is the same: you apply a bleaching gel to your teeth for a certain amount of time each day. Mouth trays (which look like mouth guards) hold the gel in place around your teeth.

The bleach, often containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, seeps through your tooth enamel to whiten the layer of dentin below. Dentin is naturally a darker yellow colour, which is why our teeth aren't perfectly white in the first pace.

Some kits come with an accelerator fluid which you must apply directly to your teeth before fitting the trays.

Your whitening kit will include instructions to tell you how much gel to use, how long to leave the trays in for, and how often to repeat the treatment. Some may have different options depending on whether you'd rather have several short treatments in a day or one longer one. The timings are all dependent on the ingredients used in the products, and you should follow the manufacturer's instructions closely.

Certain kits come with additional features or components which make them faster-acting, more comfortable, or easier to use. Premium kits may include:

  • A blue light used to accelerate the whitening process
  • Individual pre-filled trays for each use
  • Pre-measured amounts of gel in syringes
  • A peroxide-free gel for gentler whitening on sensitive teeth
  • Additional whitening products such as a tooth polisher, whitening pen, or toothpaste

There are two kinds of mouth tray available. One is a fixed shape which is ready to use; the other has to be placed in boiling water and then moulded to fit your teeth. Although mouldable mouth trays can be more comfortable and give better coverage, a lot of people find the moulding process itself difficult to master. Perhaps because of this, more and more teeth whitening kits now come with fixed-shape trays.

Keep in mind that a more expensive kit won't necessarily produce the best tooth whitening results. Cheap teeth whitening kits can be just as effective if used properly, but the process itself may be less enjoyable.

blue light whitening
You don't have to visit the dentist to get good results

LED teeth whitening kits

If you've seen images of people with a device crammed in their mouth emitting an eerie blue light, they were probably whitening their teeth at the time.

Dentists have long been using LED (light emitting diode) and UV (ultraviolet) light to accelerate the whitening process when you go for in-office treatment. Some kits now use this technology in a handheld device to speed up whitening at home, too.

The blue light itself doesn't have any impact on the whiteness of teeth, but it kick-starts the whitening agents. This means that visible results can be achieved much faster with an LED teeth whitening kit. If you don't have much time to dedicate to wearing bleaching trays each day then you may benefit from choosing a kit with an LED light.

LED whitening has widely replaced UV whitening in dental clinics since it is proven to be more effective. It's also thought to be safer; UV light poses a greater risk of damage to gums and other parts of the mouth and face.

Measuring success

The whiteness of teeth is measured using a colour scale. In dental surgeries you may see a row of what look like teeth in different shades of white and yellow. Dentists use these to check your original tooth colour and measure how many shades of whitening you have achieved.

tooth shade guide
Use a shade guide to check your progress

The best home whitening kits come with a shade guide you can hold up to your teeth to assess the change in colour. Without this it can be hard to measure success since our teeth can appear different shades in different lights.

Many kits are labelled with a promise such as “makes teeth 10 shades brighter”, but in reality your individual results will vary depending on the condition of your teeth.

Don't be tempted to use whitening trays or other products for longer than stated on the packet. You might think this will give you whiter teeth faster, but in fact it could leave white blotches on your teeth. Similarly, over-filling the trays with more than the recommended amount of product could cause it to leak out and damage other parts of your mouth.

Over-whitening can also lead to your teeth losing their healthy shine and instead becoming dull and chalky white, so it's best to aim for a modest improvement at first.

Are teeth whitening kits safe?

Any products you buy from a reputable high-street pharmacy should be safe to use. If you look online, though, you'll find numerous other options on offer. Products sold in other countries are regulated in different ways so it can be harder to know whether these are completely safe to use for teeth whitening at home.

check dental problems
Ask your dentist whether it's safe for you to whiten your teeth

Firstly, you can check the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in the bleaching agent. EU regulations limit the peroxide content to 0.1% in home teeth whitening products sold in the UK. If you find a product with a higher percentage it doesn't meet EU standards and might not be safe for home use. Dentists are allowed to use whitening products containing up to 6% peroxide, which is why their treatments are more effective (and expensive!).

In the US, regulations are not so strict and home whitening products usually contain 3-10% hydrogen peroxide.

Other ingredients are not so closely regulated but any kits produced in the EU or the US have to conform to higher standards than some other countries where the focus is on low-cost production.

Although the gel used in home whitening kits is much weaker than that used by dentists, there is still a risk of injury to gums and cheeks if the product leaks out of the trays. Kits with trays that mould to the shape of your teeth can reduce this risk, although some people find these trays difficult to use.

Before going ahead with any kind of whitening it's a good idea to speak to your dentist first. Teeth bleaching kits may be unsuitable for people with gum disease or dental crowns, and if you have any tooth decay the bleaching agent can get to your nerves more easily, causing sensitivity or pain. Your dentist will be able to advise you of any potential risks at your next checkup.

UK teeth whitening kits comparison

Now that you understand more about the different elements of a home whitening kit, here's a reminder of the three products we featured earlier as the best home teeth whitening kits in the UK right now. The following table lets you easily compare these at-home whitening systems side by side:

Product Mouldable or Fixed Shape Trays? LED Light? Main Whitening Ingredient Treatment Time Treatment Duration Gel included Refills Available?
Smile Avenue Fixed Yes, built-in Sodium Carbonate Peroxide 20 minutes 1-2 weeks 30ml Yes
Very Good Smile Fixed Yes, exterior Urea peroxide 20 minutes 10 days 10ml Yes
MySmile Fixed Yes, exterior Sodium chlorite 10 minutes 9 days 9ml Yes

Things to consider before doing home whitening

If you have any artificial teeth or teeth coverings – such as implants, bridges, crowns and veneers – these won't be affected by any whitening treatment. This shouldn't be too obvious with rear teeth but if you have an artificial front tooth you may have to just accept your natural tooth colour.

woman with white teeth smiling
What's the best teeth whitening method for you?

You should also have realistic expectations about the results you're likely to achieve. A 2018 survey of Brits' experiences with cosmetic dentistry found that 68% of those who had undergone teeth whitening had opted for a home whitening kit. However, only 42% of these patients reported being ‘happy' or ‘very happy' with the results (compared to 69% of those who had professional whitening at the dentist).

Although you might get the best results by visiting a dentist, whitening kits are much cheaper and more convenient. Its a trade-off you need to consider when deciding which treatment is right for you.

Another cause of dissatisfaction is tooth sensitivity (this can happen with any kind of whitening). Some people experience no sensitivity whatsoever, whereas others find it so painful they cut their treatment short. Your experience will depend on the condition of your teeth and the ingredients in the whitening product you use. Choosing a whitening kit with a gentle formula will certainly help reduce your chances of experiencing sensitivity.

Most manufacturers recommend you don't use teeth whitening products while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you're currently undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, you should wait until they are removed before whitening your teeth. You can still use a whitening toothpaste in the meantime.

Aftercare

How long your results last will depend a lot on how well you care for your teeth after whitening.

stain on carpet
If it would stain your white carpet it'll probably stain your teeth

The simplest way to keep your teeth whiter for longer is to avoid exposing them to things that are likely to stain them. This includes:

  • Smoking
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Berries
  • Brightly coloured sauces like tomato sauces and curries
  • Wine (both red and white – although white doesn't cause stains, it can darken existing ones)
  • Soft drinks (even sugar-free ones have damaging levels of acid)

Think of it this way: if it will stain a white shirt or carpet, there's a good chance it will stain your teeth. Drinking through a straw helps keep damaging liquids away from front teeth.

Whitening products temporarily make your tooth enamel more porous so the whitening agent can take better effect. This also means your teeth are more susceptible to staining from other sources while whitening is in progress. It's therefore a good idea to steer clear of these foods and drinks not just after whitening your teeth, but during treatment as well. If this is too much to ask, at least abstain for a couple of hours after each home whitening session.

Your teeth will also stay whiter if you take good care of them (something you should be doing anyway). This means brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day.

A whitening toothpaste will help remove any surface stains that do build up on your teeth. If this causes sensitivity, try using it just two or three times a week instead.

Finally, don't forget to visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings with the hygienist. They use more advanced tools to remove the stuff you miss while you're brushing.

Conclusion

Do teeth whitening kits work? The answer is yes – as long as you're not expecting drastic results. Home whitening kits are an affordable and convenient way to brighten your teeth. Although individual results vary, it's possible to get your teeth several shades lighter in just a week or two.

Because safety is a concern with teeth whitening at home, we recommend you choose a product that is produced somewhere that closely regulates whitening products such as the UK, US, or EU.

Don't forget, you can use our exclusive discount code to get 10% off the Smile Avenue Professional Teeth Whitening Kit on Amazon. Simply enter code SMILEA10 at the checkout to claim your discount. This is our pick for best teeth whitening kit in the UK because it conforms to safety standards, produces good results, and contains a generous amount of gel.

Best Home Teeth Whitening Kits UK: Reviews, Costs, Comparisons
3.9 (78.18%) 11 vote[s]

Sources
Oral Health Foundation https://www.dentalhealth.org/tooth-whitening Consulted 24th April 2019. Dentistry.co.uk https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2018/02/05/40-unhappy Consulted 24th April 2019. General Dental Council https://www.gdc-uk.org/api/files/PublicAttitudesToToothWhitening.pdf Consulted 24th April 2019. British Dentistry http://www.britishdentistry.org.uk/cosmetic/teeth-whitening.html Consulted 24th April 2019. National Center for Biotechnology Information  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058574/ Consulted 24th April 2019.
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