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If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then a smile is the invitation in…but it’s hard to break out that beautiful smile if you’re feeling self-conscious about stained teeth. Common habits like coffee drinking, red wine sipping, and even dousing your daily salad with balsamic vinegar can leave your teeth looking less than pearly white, which is where the best teeth-whitening pens come in.

While there are lots of teeth whitening products on the market, one of the easiest ways to brighten your smile is with teeth whitening pens! These handy, affordable, and readily available options can clean up stained spots and leave your teeth looking a little brighter.

“Whitening pens are a less expensive and somewhat effective alternative to in-office teeth whitening procedures. The daily treatment incorporates slow-acting agents that can safely stay on the teeth for long periods of time. Most pens use carbamide peroxide. It whitens teeth slower than hydrogen peroxide, but this actually helps prevent tooth sensitivity,” explains Dr. Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist practicing in New York City. She explains that teeth whitening pens are “the epitome of convenience,” as they’re easy-to-use, pack roughly 20 treatments into a single pen, and can be applied in a matter of minutes. That said, they’re less effective than some other teeth whitening options, especially in-office treatments.

When it comes to selecting a teeth whitening pen, Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani, D.D.S., the CEO and director of Yazdani Family Dentistry in Ontario, Canada offers these tips: “Consider whether the product is reputable and read the reviews. And ask your dentist for recommendations.” So, we took his advice and did just that.

Meet the Experts: Dr. Lana Rozenberg, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist practicing in New York City. Dr. Thomas J. McCarthy, DDS is a dentist and the director of product development at Sporting Smiles in Wisconsin. Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani, DDS, is the CEO and director of Yazdani Family Dentistry in Ontario, Canada.

Our top picks

Based on dentist feedback, reviews, and features, we’ve compiled the best teeth whitening pens.

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Best Overall


Teeth Whitening Pen

Key Ingredients Carbamide peroxide
Flavor Mint

Best Value


Teeth Whitening Pen

Key Ingredients Carbamide peroxide
Flavor No added flavor

Best Vegan

GLO Science

GLO to Go Teeth Whitening Pen

Key Ingredients Pure hydrogen peroxide
Flavor Cinnamon and mint

Best Pen & LED Light Combo


Teeth Whitening Kit With LED Light

Key Ingredients Hydrogen peroxide
Flavor Cool Mint

Best Flavor


Teeth Whitening Pen

Key Ingredients Carbamide peroxide
Flavor Mint

Best Activated Charcoal


Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Pen

Key Ingredients Activated charcoal, Coconut Oil
Flavor Mint

Best for Sensitive Teeth


Teeth Whitening Pens

Key Ingredients Carbamide peroxide
Flavor Mint

Best Overnight


Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen

Key Ingredients Hydrogen peroxide
Flavor No added flavor

How to choose the best teeth whitening pens

✔️ Pay attention to where it was made. Ideally, products should be made in the USA to ensure ingredient safety and reliability.

✔️ Note the active ingredients and percentages, when possible—most feature hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. “Usually, the bleaching agent will be some form of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Up to 10% peroxide content is considered safe for teeth; any higher, and you will likely damage your enamel,” says Dr. Yazdani.

✔️ Read ratings and reviews. Paying attention to what other users are saying about the product is a good indicator of how it will work. If people are consistently saying they’re seeing results, even if the results aren’t drastic, it’s likely a reliable whitening solution.

✔️ Ask your dentist. Dentists are tooth experts, after all, and they may be able to guide you toward products that they feel are easier to use, or that deliver more consistent results. Also, they may let you know that you’re not a candidate for teeth whitening products. “Teeth whitening is designed for individuals who have healthy teeth. Consult with your dentist before trying any product—you want to make sure you don’t have any dental issues and your teeth are healthy.”


Do teeth whitening pens work?

When teeth whitening pens are carefully used according to their instructions on a regular, ongoing basis, they work. The problem that sometimes occurs with pens, though, is that following the instructions correctly can be a little tricky.

“Do the pens work? Yes. Are they the best teeth whitening option? No,” says Dr. McCarthy. “The main issue with the pens is they are messy, there is nothing holding the gel onto your teeth, and it’s hard to get the gel on any teeth well, other than the upper front teeth. With the whitening pens, you have to make sure nothing touches the gel on the teeth for 10-15 minutes. This is hard to do, but it is possible if you’re careful.”


Do teeth whitening pens or strips work better?

Both products can help whiten your teeth, and results depend (in part) on whether you’re able to follow instructions well. Given that strips hold the whitening agent against the teeth, while pens rely on the user giving the gel time to dry before closing their mouth, user error can impact the effectiveness of whitening pens.

That said, whitening pens are easier to use on-the-go, while strips are designed more for home use.

Results, ultimately, come down to personal preference and proper user application, which vary from person to person.


How we Chose the Best Teeth Whitening Pens

Before beginning our selection process, we consulted with three separate dentists—Dr. Lana Rozenberg, Dr. Thomas J. McCarthy, and Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani—to get their input on whitening pens. They helped explain what ingredients to look for, common pitfalls in application, and how to identify more effective products.

Then, we checked scores of products amd read ratings, reviews, ingredient lists, and special features to make our selections.

For more than 70 years, Prevention has been a leading provider of trustworthy health information, empowering readers with practical strategies to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Our editors interview medical experts to help guide our health-focused product selections. Prevention also examines hundreds of reviews—and often conducts personal testing done by our staff—to help you make informed decisions.

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