What is a teeth whitening pen—is it even effective? A teeth whitening pen is, as its name suggests, a pen-like device filled with whitening gel that you can conveniently use on your teeth to make them look brighter, sometimes in as little as one week!
Maintaining a white smile is just as important to your confidence as fitting into the right dress or losing weight. But sometimes, whitening dull teeth can be inconvenient.
Teeth whitening pens are a convenient alternative to strips, trays, and in-office care, so we’ve rounded up some of the best teeth whitening pens currently available.
Let's take a closer look at teeth whitening pens and help you pick the best teeth whitening pen one for your needs.
If you want to know about whitening options other than pens, one product we recommend is the Snow teeth whitening system. This is an at-home kit that uses LED lighting to make treatment faster and more effective.
You only have to use it for 9 minutes per day, and a single kit comes with a year of treatments. Plus, it's made in the US!
Check out their best-selling Original kit to get started!
Table of contents
What is a teeth whitening pen?
A teeth whitening pen is a very thin plastic tube containing whitening gels that remove stains on each tooth’s surface. This is both functional and portable for use at any time.
Consuming food and drink like coffee, red wine, soda, berries, and red sauces can gradually stain teeth. Nicotine-rich products like cigarettes are another notorious cause of staining. Once teeth become stained, it can become very difficult to whiten them with conventional methods of oral hygiene like brushing and flossing.
This is where teeth whitening technology comes into the picture, and for a while, the best option was professional, in-office whitening. There have been many advances in at-home teeth whitening products, and teeth whitening pens are among them.
Using teeth whitening pens produces noticeable results, partially because of the presence of carbamide peroxide. Unlike hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide is a slow-acting bleaching agent that lessens tooth sensitivity and gives teeth whitening pens a longer shelf-life.
That being said, the results depend on several factors such as whitening agent exposure time and active ingredient concentration.
A teeth whitening pen can last for up to 30–60 applications if applied twice daily over a two-week period.
How to use a whitening pen
Whitening pens are an affordable, easy-to-use, and no-mess option for people who wish to brighten their teeth at home. You can use a teeth whitening pen as part of your daily oral care routine twice a day. Most whitening pens are made with similar ingredients and usually include a form of peroxide.
Choose a pen based on what's most convenient for you. Once you’ve chosen a pen, then you can focus on the application process.
You can choose morning, evening, or both to develop a consistent whitening routine just after brushing your teeth. To use the pen:
- Spread your lips apart to expose the upper and lower teeth and apply the whitening gel in short vertical strokes from the top to the bottom of the tooth, just like drawing lines with a pen or pencil. Take care to avoid the gums because the whitening gel may cause irritation. In fact, this is a major bonus for choosing a whitening pen; it helps you target the teeth while easily avoiding the gums.
- Apply it to all of the visible teeth, then let the product set at least for 1 minute.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water until all of the product is removed.
Use the pen regularly for at least one week for visible results. Each whitening pen brand/formula may have slightly different instructions regarding application frequency and how long to let the product sit. For complete cleaning, floss just before using.
Best teeth whitening pens
There are several teeth whitening pens available on the market, and sometimes it can get really confusing as to which one to choose. We’ve compiled a list of the best teeth whitening pens for your convenience.
Crest Whitening Emulsions
Crest Whitening Emulsions offer the fastest and most effective way to whiten your teeth. It's not really a pen, per se, but it's super easy to use, with no mess and no fuss.
Crest Emulsions contain hydrogen peroxide and a special emulsion that keeps the gel from washing off of your teeth, which means that it continues to whiten long after application.
Plus, you can simply apply the emulsion and get on with your day — you won't even feel it on your teeth. Find out more in our Crest Whitening Emulsions review.
And if you really want to accelerate your teeth whitening, you can get emulsions bundled with an LED light — and at 25% off when you get subscription!
Colgate Optic White overnight teeth whitening pen
Known for its rapid whitening action on old stains, the Colgate whitening pen features an advanced whitening technology that delivers results in just one week of use. Colgate suggests cleaning teeth and applying the clear gel at night. You may be wondering: Is the Colgate whitening pen safe?
Well, this product is vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free, and it contains 3% hydrogen peroxide. So it's about as safe as any of the other store-bought whitening pens out there.
Some of the best features of this pen include:
- Minimizing tooth sensitivity for enamel-safe teeth whitening
- Precision brush to target the surface area of each tooth
- Rapid-drying whitening gel
- Easy-to-use pen that lets you control the whitening gel and minimize irritation
Sounds pretty good, right? But let’s also have a look at some Colgate Optic White overnight teeth whitening pen reviews:
“Absolutely amazing. I’ve only used the teeth whitening overnight stick 3 times and people are already starting to notice a difference in my teeth. I also have very sensitive teeth and tooth pain but this hasn’t affected my pain at all. I highly recommend this teeth whitening product!”
“I have never had sensitivity until using this product, yikes it is not comfortable! It also forms a really thick substance that costs your teeth like a web and the whitening is spotty. Not a fan.”
“It worked a bit, but if you're someone who has texture problems I would steer clear of it cause when it’s setting on your teeth it gets very gritty.”
Take a look at this review of the Colgate Optic White teeth whitening pen. The reviewer likes that it's a cheap way to whiten your teeth, even though you aren't going to get the same results you get with a complete whitening kit.
Beaueli teeth whitening pen
If the words behind the makers of this pen are to be believed, Beaueli contains the same ingredients used in professional teeth brightening. It also contains peppermint, which has been proven effective for fortifying tooth enamel and strengthening teeth and gums. Glycerin increases the shelf life of the product. The best aspects about this product are:
- 35% carbamide peroxide provides maximum whitening potential
- 100% safe and effective
- 360-degree twist dial for serum release
- Travel-friendly compact design
- Comes in a clear tube; easy to see how much gel you have left
Per the manufacturer, you can relax your lips after 10 seconds of application. It is advised that you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after using the product.
Here’s what Lynn, a Beaueli customer, had to say:
“I love this stuff. It's a very thick sticky gel which is important because it is thicker than saliva so it doesn't easily get diluted when in the mouth. This is why I am satisfied with this teeth whitening gel.”
We recently reviewed a similar product, the Radiance teeth whitening pen. Read more about whitening pens and the full Radiance review.
AsaVea teeth whitening pen
A professional teeth whitening pen, AsaVea can help with coffee, tea, wine, smoke, soda, and several other stains. It features a compact design that’s really easy to use. Affordable and offering premium quality, it causes minimal sensitivity.
The pen provides results with just one minute of daily use, and the 30-second quick-drying whitening gel saves you time. Let’s have a look at the key highlights of this product:
- Natural mint flavor to keep your mouth feeling fresh
- Features a durable twist mechanism with soft brush tip for gentle application
- Powerful, with 35% carbamide peroxide
- pH neutral
The manufacturer recommends that you relax your lips after 30 seconds, but avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after application.
According to one of its users:
“I always worry whether this stuff will actually work, look good, be easy to use, taste decent, be safe for my teeth…and this stuff has it all and I'm more than impressed!”Mindy
Active Wow 24K charcoal teeth whitening pen (peroxide-free)
Although this is a teeth whitening pen without peroxide, this product from Active Wow shows almost immediate results. Within 60 seconds of use, the pen produces visible whitening. The peppermint oil adds a pleasing taste and leaves a minty fresh fragrance.
Featuring sodium bicarbonate as one of the primary ingredients, this product works as a natural teeth whitener and removes stains quickly. Activated charcoal also draws stains out from the teeth. Here’s a round-up of this pen’s best features:
- Simple, fast, and effective teeth whitening
- Compact design
- Contains sodium bicarbonate and activated charcoal
- Peppermint oil
According to the manufacturer, after using the pen you should hold your smile for 60 seconds for the gel to dry and then rinse after 20 minutes if necessary.
“The pen usually is off putting to me due to sanitary reasons but this pen didn't gross me out. The taste was minty, it didn't taste terrible like charcoal. It didn't irritate my gums or lips which is a huge plus and NO SENSITIVITY ISSUES after!! At first I didn't notice any difference in my teeth but after about an hour or so after rinsing my mouth, I noticed a difference! My husband wants to order a few for the medicine cabinet because he agreed that this is so convenient. You can apply it without really needing to look at yourself in the mirror. A great product overall. Definitely will buy again!”-Katherine
Summary of the best teeth whitening pens
To give you a concise look at the highlights of the products discussed above and to help you make a decision, here’s a quick comparison between them.
Active whitening ingredient
Easy applicator built-in or separate — you choose!
3% hydrogen peroxide
Clumping can be removed by clicking the pen
3% hydrogen peroxide
360-degree twist dial for serum release
35% carbamide peroxide
Durable twist mechanism with soft brush tip
35% carbamide peroxide
Sodium bicarbonate + activated charcoal
Whitening pen alternatives
In addition to whitening pens, there are many other products that you can use to whiten teeth like whitening toothpastes, gels, rinses, strips, trays, etc. Based on your oral health condition and medical history, people with healthy teeth (those who don’t have crowns or filings, etc.) can use these methods for teeth whitening at home.
Whitening strips are very thin (almost invisible) and are coated with peroxide-based whitening gels. You can see the results in a few days and they last for around four months.
You could also opt for whitening gels that are peroxide-based and can be applied with a small brush on the surface of the teeth. The instructions can vary with the formula strength, so make sure you read them carefully before using them.
Strips are considered a convenient, fast and affordable way to whiten teeth, but there are two things that give some customers pause — the unpleasant flavor and the goo that always gets left behind.
To solve these problems, Snow has come up with their dissolving white strips. These powerful strips whiten in just 15 minutes per day, and they dissolve directly on your teeth, leaving behind zero gooeyness.
They also come in a refreshing lavender-mint flavor that customers love.
One at-home whitening treatment that you may want to try is the Snow teeth whitening kit. Snow is a kit that uses blue LED light to speed up and enhance the teeth whitening process, targeting stains from coffee, tobacco, tea, and more.
With Snow you have two kit options: the Original kit or the Wireless kit. The original kit comes with everything you need for dramatically whiter teeth:
- LED mouthpiece
- Whitening wands with whitening serum
- Extra strength serum
- Universal, USB, and iPhone connections
The Wireless kit comes with a few extra goodies like lip balm and a travel case and is, of course, wireless. It's also waterproof so you can even whiten while you're in the shower!
All toothpastes have the capability to remove staining from teeth to some extent because of the presence of abrasives. But in the case of long-term stains, some additional polishing and chemical agents are required for more effective whitening.
This is where whitening toothpastes come in. These products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening. Fairly new among whitening solutions, this is similar to mouthwash and contains hydrogen peroxide.
It should be used twice a day just after brushing your teeth. It also helps freshen breath and reduce dental plaque. You can read more about these in our guide to the best whitening toothpastes.
Everyone wants the perfect smile, and teeth whitening pens can help maintain them. When looking for a quick and convenient whitening solution for your teeth, whitening pens can prove to be the perfect choice.
Are teeth whitening pens safe?
According to this study from NCBI, carbamide peroxide-based whitening solutions (like in teeth whitening pens) are safe to use and can be effective in whitening teeth. Some teeth whitening pens have chemicals and additives that can cause tooth sensitivity.
These effects usually go away within 24 hours. Overusing the pen can cause gum irritation, so follow the instructions given.
Can everyone use teeth whitening pens?
Though teeth whitening pens are largely safe to use for most people, in some cases patients are advised to avoid them, such as pregnant women, and those with certain dental restorations. Pregnant women shouldn’t use them excessively because the peroxide concentrations in quick teeth whitening solutions are high.
Also, if you have dental crowns and bonding, using whitening pens can make the surrounding teeth whiter but it will have no effect on the color of the crown, and the contrast of color between the crown and other teeth may look awkward.
Are teeth whitening pens effective?
Teeth whitening pens can prove to be quite effective in cases of extrinsic staining (staining on the surface of teeth). The active ingredient in the pen’s whitening gel will help clean surface stains. That’s why these pens usually come in a portable design so that you can carry them with you and use them immediately after having food or drink.
Health.com: The 10 best teeth whitening pens for your brightest smile ever. Consulted 27th August 2020.
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: Tooth whitening: What we now know. Consulted 27th August 2020.