Best Teeth Whitening Pens for Convenient At-Home Brightening

Find out how to use a teeth whitening pen, how they stack up to other whitening methods, and the best options to buy.

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It's no secret that a lot of people desire a brighter smile, some of whom will take drastic measures from using tooth polish to trying a Magic Eraser. The value of the teeth whitening industry is set to reach $8.21 Billion by 2026, suggesting that people don't mind shelling out money to achieve the smile of their dreams. That said, not everyone can spend hundreds of dollars on professional whitening sessions, which is why at-home alternatives such as teeth whitening pens remain popular. If you're wondering whether getting a pearly white smile is truly as easy as swiping a pen over each of your teeth, here's what you should know.

How do teeth whitening pens work?

The process is pretty simple. Teeth whitening pens contain a whitening gel that's dispensed when you twist the base of the pen or click a button. Then you just paint the whitening gel onto your teeth and let it sit for the time specified on the instructions on your teeth whitening pen of choice, typically under a minute.

Teeth whitening pens generally contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (the same ingredients used by professional dentists) as active ingredients to help safely whiten your teeth, according to Amber Bonnaig, D.D.S., dentist at DentaQuest. Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide (which breaks down to release hydrogen peroxide when in contact with water) break down stain-causing compounds, making your teeth appear lighter. Typically, at-home whitening solutions contain about three to 20 percent of these active ingredients, while in-office systems can have anywhere between 15 to 43 percent, says Bonnaig. For best results, avoid smoking and drinking dark beverages as these impact the effectiveness of your teeth whitening with any teeth whitening solution including pens. (

You should always brush your teeth right before using a teeth whitening pen, according to Bonnaig. Otherwise, you run the risk of trapping plaque and bacteria between the film of the whitening gel and your teeth, which can lead to issues such as tooth decay, she explains. Additionally, it's best to consult with your dentist before jumping into any at-home teeth whitening solution, says Bonnaig. With their help, you can come up with a whitening plan that caters to your needs and won't put you at risk for sensitivity, gum irritation, and demineralization (the breakdown of tooth enamel aka the protective outermost layer of teeth).

Teeth whitening pens vs. other teeth whitening methods

Though teeth whitening pens are generally considered a safe means of whitening your teeth, they have some disadvantages compared to other options such as teeth whitening strips, says Bonnaig. "Teeth whitening pens lack protection to keep the film in place on teeth, meaning the whitening agent can move or detach, reducing consistent contact with teeth," she says. "Direct exposure of the product on the teeth is necessary for optimal whitening."

Of course, they also have their advantages. Using a teeth whitening pen only requires a few minutes of your time (compared to 30 minutes needed for whitening strips), they can be used on the go if necessary, and they're relatively affordable. If you do decide to opt for a teeth whitening pen, following the included instructions closely is super important to see the best results and minimize the chances of damaging your teeth in the process, says Bonnaig. (

If you're on the hunt for a teeth whitening pen to try, ahead are some options worth checking out.

Best Teeth Whitening Pen Options

01 of 08

ARC Precision Applicator Teeth Whitening Pen

ARC On-The-Go Teeth Whitening Pen, Anytime Treatments, Mint Flavor, 0.13 Fl Oz
Amazon

If you don't have much time to spend on whitening, then the ARC Precision Teeth Whitening pen will probably sound appealing. You just have to brush the whitening gel onto your teeth, let it sit for 60 seconds, and you're on your way to a brighter smile. To see optimal results with this whitening pen, the brand recommends using it twice daily for at least 14 days.

Even a shopper who "never ever" leaves reviews on Amazon has raved about their quick results from this ARC teeth whitening pen. Another reviewer reports that they get endless compliments when they use it.

02 of 08

Moon Kendall Jenner Teeth Whitening Pen Vanilla Mint Flavor

Kendall Jenner Teeth Whitening Pen Vanilla Mint Flavor
Ulta

With just a single click, twice a day, you can take advantage of this Moon teeth whitening pen from the brand's collab with Kendall Jenner. This whitening pen is powered by hydrogen peroxide and has a vanilla mint flavor that sets it apart.

03 of 08

Go Smile Glow On The Go Teeth Whitening Device

Glow On The Go Teeth Whitening Device
Ulta

This Go Smile teeth whitening pen is more expensive than a lot of options, but it's not hard to see why. It features blue light technology that helps speed up the whitening process while killing bacteria as well as a self-sanitizing cap.

To help guide you through the process of brightening your smile, the water-resistant device beeps every 30 seconds signaling to you alternate between your bottom and top row of teeth.

04 of 08

Spotlight Oral Care 6% Teeth Whitening Pen

Spotlight Oral Care 6% Teeth Whitening Pen
Ulta

Of the options on this list, Spotlight's teeth whitening pen requires a bit more time commitment (five minutes compared to just a few seconds), that's still a small price to pay for whiter teeth. The six percent hydrogen peroxide formula is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.

05 of 08

Tarte Pearly Girl Vegan Teeth Whitening Pen

Tarte Pearly Girl Vegan Teeth Whitening Pen
Ulta

You may be familiar with Tarte's vegan makeup line, but the brand also has your smile covered. Tarte's whitening pen promises a pH-balanced formula that's gentle enough for sensitive teeth and gums. You only need to let the gel sit for 30 seconds (up to four times a day) to see optimal results. The brand advises that you avoid eating or drinking for the first 15 minutes after using the teeth whitening pen so that the gel can penetrate to remove stains.

06 of 08

Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen

Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen
Amazon

Just one quick scroll through the Amazon reviews for the Colgate's overnight teeth whitening pen will shift your idea of beauty sleep. This unique overnight teeth whitening pen is powered by hydrogen peroxide, helping you wake up to a brighter smile. Using this teeth whitening pen is as simple as applying the gel to dry teeth before bed. While you get your rest, the treatment works its magic to leave you with a brighter smile.

07 of 08

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen
Amazon

Thirty Five percent carbamide peroxide is the star in this teeth whitening pen formula. One Amazon reviewer who shared that they're a lifelong smoker and coffee drinker with tooth discoloration wrote that the Auraglow Teeth Whitening pen restored their smile and their confidence. It's intended for use one to two times daily for one minute per session.

One important thing to remember with this pen is that you should avoid eating or drinking at least one full hour after using the pen, which can be a longer window compared to other options.

08 of 08

AsaVea Teeth Whitening Pen

AsaVea Teeth Whitening Pen - Set of 2 Pens
Amazon

Of the options on this list, this AsaVea whitening pen is one of the most budget-friendly options. For under $20, you'll get a two-pack of travel-friendly teeth whitening pens. Some users swear that it is by far one of the easiest yet most effective teeth whitening pens that money can buy.

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