Best Home Teeth Whitening Kits: Reviews, Costs and 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.

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 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 teeth whitening kits in the UK 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 SmileCheck the latest price
Treatment Time: 20-30 minutes
Treatment Duration: 10 days
Main Whitening Ingredient: Urea peroxide & hydrogen peroxide
Smile AvenueCheck the latest price
Treatment Time: 20-30 minutes
Treatment Duration: 1-2 weeks
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium Carbonate Peroxide
Crystal SmileCheck the latest price
Treatment Time: 20 minutes
Treatment Duration: Up to 45 minutes
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium perborate

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

Crystal Smile

Treatment Time: 20 minutes
Treatment Duration: Up to 45 minutes
Main Whitening Ingredient: Sodium perborate

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 decent, lasting results after 1-2 weeks’ use.

Usually, teeth whitening kits cost £15 – £40 in the UK. More expensive options might have stronger gel, better quality ingredients, or more components included. They 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

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 exclusive discount codes for two of these products to make your teeth whitening even more affordable.

#1 Smile Avenue

ProductMouldable or Fixed Shape Trays?LED Light?Main Whitening IngredientTreatment TimeTreatment DurationGel includedRefills Available?
Smile Avenue Fixed Yes Sodium Carbonate Peroxide 20 minutes 1-2 weeks 30ml No

Smile Avenue Professional Teeth Whitening Kit is an exciting new 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 – 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 treatments, depending on how quickly you see results.

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 the LED light attaches directly to the tray so you can get on with other things while your teeth are getting whiter!

Although Smile Avenue has only just launched in the UK, it has already seen success in the French market, achieving a 5-star rating on amazon.fr (as of March 2019). Here are some Smile Avenue whitening kit reviews, translated from French:

“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.”

“Product more than recommendable! I was sceptical at the time of my order but I confess pleasantly surprised by this product!”

Read our full review of Smile Avenue here.

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

ProductMouldable or Fixed Shape Trays?LED Light?Main Whitening IngredientTreatment TimeTreatment DurationGel includedRefills Available?
Very Good Smile Fixed Yes 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 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 freshly 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 with the kit. Plus, for a limited time you can get 10% off when you buy Very Good Smile teeth whitening kit on Amazon – just click below and enter code VGSMILE1 at the checkout.

 

#3 Crystal Smile

ProductMouldable or Fixed Shape Trays?LED Light?Main Whitening IngredientTreatment TimeTreatment DurationGel includedRefills Available?
Crystal Smile Mouldable Yes Sodium perborate Up to 45 minutes As long as needed 10ml No

Crystal Smile produce a range of professional teeth whitening kits. Their basic kit comes with thermoforming (mouldable) mouth trays, whitening gel and an LED accelerator.crystal smile teeth kit

Premium versions of the kit include a pre-treatment stain remover, a remineralising gel, and larger quantities of the whitening gel. Replacement gum trays and gel refills are available on the manufacturer’s website and on Amazon, so it’s a flexible solution if you’re planning to repeat your treatment regularly and don’t want to have to buy a new complete kit every time.

The active ingredient is sodium perborate, which is less likely to cause sensitive teeth than peroxide alternatives.

Treatment itself takes up to 45 minutes and should be repeated for as many consecutive days as need to get the desired results. This kit contains enough gel for 10 applications. The light is used for just the first five minutes of each treatment to activate the gel. Top-up treatments can be done every 3-4 weeks to maintain whiteness.

“Works for me.. no sensitivity and def getting whiter. Been using a week so far :)” noted one user. Others commented that it took longer than expected for them to start seeing results. Overall, this kit has 3.3 stars on Amazon as of March 2019.

 

The video below shows one user’s review of the kit and an explanation of what was included with the one he bought:

US made brand. Purchased on the Amazon Prime sale. So far an amazing product!! Any questions? just ask below 🙂

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 each kit vary, the principle behind them is the same: you apply a bleaching gel to your teeth for a certain amount of time each day. Most kits come with a set of trays (which look like mouth guards) that fit to your teeth and hold the gel in place.

The bleach, usually 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 home kits come with an accelerator fluid which you must apply directly to your teeth before fitting the trays.

Each 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
  • Trays that can be moulded to fit your teeth better
  • A peroxide-free gel for gentler whitening on sensitive teeth
  • Additional whitening products such as a tooth polisher, whitening pen, or toothpaste

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

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.

Home whitening safety

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. The following table lets you easily compare at-home whitening systems side by side:

ProductMouldable or Fixed Shape Trays?LED Light?Main Whitening IngredientTreatment TimeTreatment DurationGel includedRefills Available?
Smile Avenue Fixed Yes Sodium Carbonate Peroxide 20 minutes 1-2 weeks 30ml No
Very Good Smile Fixed Yes Urea peroxide 20 minutes 10 days 10ml Yes
Crystal Smile Mouldable Yes Sodium perborate Up to 45 minutes As long as needed 10ml 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 whitening as well. If this is too much to ask, at least abstain for a couple of hours after each 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

Home whitening kits are an affordable and convenient way to whiten 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 to use our exclusive discount codes to get 10% off these whitening kits on Amazon:

Best Home Teeth Whitening Kits: Reviews, Costs and Comparisons
3.8 (75.56%) 9 vote[s]

Sources

Oral Health Foundation https://www.dentalhealth.org/tooth-whitening Consulted 24th April 2019.

Dentristy https://www.dentristy.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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