Aside from that, Giri Palani, DDS, a board-certified dentist in Beverly Hills and Palos Verdes, California, says the most important thing to look for when you’re shopping is ease of use. “Also, [you] want to make sure that the product you buy has a good shelf life and you store the product properly in the refrigerator to last longer,” he says.

Once you have a kit, Dr. Messina says you can use it for 7 to 10 days to start, and then once every other week or so for maintenance. Before you do so, though, consider taking a trip to the dentist for your standard teeth cleaning and to consult on your at-home whitening plans. “Tooth whitening is something that should only be done in a healthy mouth situation,” he says. “If somebody has cavities or periodontal disease, or some other reason why their teeth aren’t white, whitening is not the right choice for them. That’s why it’s always good to have a thorough examination done by your dentist before starting on a whitening program.”

Not to mention, if you do the whitening right after having your teeth cleaned at the dentist, Dr. Messina says, you’ll be whitening your tooth enamel itself rather than the tartar or buildup on top of it. Regardless, he says, involving your dentist in the discussion will help you ensure you’re taking the right path. 

Once you have that conversation, consider one of the best teeth-whitening kits below to enhance and supplement your existing oral-care routine. Hello, brighter smile.

Colgate Optic White ComfortFit Teeth Whitening Kit

Colgate Optic White ComfortFit Teeth Whitening Kit

In case you weren’t already familiar, Colgate makes some of the best teeth-whitening products on the market. Both New York City-based, board-certified cosmetic dentist, Pia Lieb, DDS, and Phoenix, Arizona, board-certified dentist Brian Harris, DDS, have previously revealed that they’re fans of Colgate’s Optic White at-home kits. This latest iteration is called the Optic White ComfortFit LED Teeth Whitening Kit, which features a flexible, rechargeable LED light that more easily conforms to the shape of your mouth. 

The process is simple: Apply a thin layer of the Teeth Whitening Pen to each tooth, let the serum dry/set for a mere 10 to 15 seconds, and then plug the LED device right into our phone. From there, you let it do its thing for 10 minutes (the device will automatically shut off after that period, in case you lose track of time). Avoid eating and drinking for 30 minutes, or leave it on overnight for better results. Either way, use your handy toothbrush to sweep away the dried serum after you’re through.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects Teeth Whitening Kit

Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects

There’s no doubt that Crest Whitestrips are one of the most recognizable over-the-counter teeth-whitening systems available. It seems almost as if they’ve been around forever — and professionals still love them. The hydrogen peroxide in the strips eliminates up to 14 years of stains, according to the brand.

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