I Used This LED Teeth Whitening Kit—And I’ll Never Use Strips Again

Updated: May 18, 2022

Whitening your teeth with an LED light charged through your smartphone sounds like science fiction. But could it whiten teeth without causing sensitivity? I tried it to find out.

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Raise your hand if you want whiter teeth, but fear the painful side effects of nerve jarring tooth pain that can come from at-home whitening kits. I had to put both my hands down to write this review.

I used to whiten my teeth at home a few times a year with over-the-counter teeth whitening strips and keep the intense whiteness going between cups of coffee with a tooth whitening toothpaste. Then, I went to the dentist for a cleaning and felt a jolt of tooth pain. The hygienist told me to take a break from Crest strips. My tooth whitening products went into the garbage and my smile dimmed over time.

At-home teeth whitening kits and strips are popular because they’re affordable and they deliver fast results. But if you’ve ever whitened your teeth at home, you’re probably familiar with the pull of pearly whites versus the pain of tooth sensitivity. But what if there was a way to whiten teeth at home without the pain? Enter: Glowup.

Hands holding a box and tooth whitening setvia heyglowup.com

LED teeth whitening kit review

Glowup is a personalized and customizable at-home tooth whitening kit. Glowup uses your results from a quick online quiz (complete with animated GIFs) to analyze dozens of factors that affect the color of your smile. It takes about five minutes and includes topics like your teeth sensitivity, natural color, brushing habits, and diet to create a customized whitening formula.

Essentially, the quiz results decide how much hydrogen peroxide and sodium bicarbonate to add to your custom teeth whitening gel. These are the main ingredients for whitening teeth, and their ratios impact sensitivity and results. Makes sense! 

After I filled out the quiz, emphasizing my fear of tooth pain, I received the Glowup kit in the mail. The small kit comes with three plastic injectors pre-filled with your customized whitening gel and a plastic mouth tray. This is where it gets interesting. The mouth tray has a cord with three USB adapters at the end. One of these will fit your smartphone and charge the blue light in the tray, amplifying the whitening process. Neat!

What does a dentist think about LED teeth whitening?

Since I take my mouth health pretty seriously, I reached out to Julie Cho DMD for her thoughts on Glowup. “An LED light activates free oxygen molecules from the peroxide and allows it to penetrate the stains,” Dr. Cho explained. “It’s totally safe.” She does caution against leaving the whitening gel on the teeth for too long, which can dry out your teeth and cause them to look dull as they rehydrate. Follow the time directions that come with Glowup and you should be fine.

Cho also advises that this type of teeth whitening product works best on surface stains caused by drinking coffee, tea, and red wine—or smoking cigarettes. “If your teeth are yellow from genetics, they’ll be more difficult to whiten.”

After two months of using, Glowup, I had a cleaning scheduled with my dentist. As soon as I sat in the chair, the hygienist commented how white my teeth looked. I didn’t have any tooth pain during the cleaning. I’d call that a success story! If you’re heading to the dentist for your own check-up, here’s what you can expect at re-opened dentist offices during COVID-19.

Woman whitening her teeth with Glowupvia heyglowup.com

How to use an LED teeth whitening kit

Using Glowup’s LED teeth whitening kit is pretty simple. Start with freshly brushed teeth. Then squeeze about 1/4 bottle of the whitening gel onto the top and bottom teeth trays. Plug the whitening light into your phone’s charging port. Then hold the tray with the light on in your mouth for 10 minutes and let the gel get to work fighting stains.

The blue light is pretty dim. It didn’t distract me while I watched TV and whitened. In fact, I turned on my phone camera a few times to make sure the blue light was still glowing. It makes for a pretty fun selfie.

The whitening gel doesn’t taste great, though it includes chamomile and aloe to help with the taste. I was definitely ready to rinse it off after 10 minutes.

I noticed an immediate increase in whiteness. Not as dramatic as what I was getting with the white strips and whitening toothpaste, but a definite improvement. And more importantly, I didn’t feel any tooth pain or numbing. If I wasn’t as concerned with tooth sensitivity, I think my whitening results would have been even more dramatic.

To keep teeth white and free from pain throughout any whitening process, Dr. Cho has two suggestions. “Use a toothpaste like Sensodyne between treatments to help with tooth pain,” she says. “And avoid eating and drinking anything that could stain your teeth for a few weeks. The rule of thumb is to avoid anything that would stain a white shirt.”

To test Glowup over time, I waited another month and repeated the blue light process. During this session, I noticed a definite increase in pearly whiteness and still didn’t experience any tooth pain. Since Glowup keeps my formula on file, I can have the strength increased or decreased over time.

Tooth Whitening Kit from Glowupvia heyglowup.com

Glowup LED teeth whitening kit pros

  • You can customize your whitening gel to get white teeth without the pain.
  • LED light increases the whitening process, which means less time with gel on your teeth.
  • Results are fast! Expect to see an immediate difference in whiteness after the first session.
  • Kits start at $60 for a two-month supply—way cheaper than going to the dentist for whitening.
  • Kit comes with three USB ports to charge the blue light.

Glowup LED teeth whitening kit cons

  • The teeth whitening gel does not taste great.
  • You need a smartphone to use the blue light.

Where to buy an LED teeth whitening kit

Glowup is only available on the company’s website. There are multiple kit models, though all come with the same mouth insert and LED light. The difference is how much whitening gel you get to use over time. I tried the Standard for $60, which includes a two-month supply of whitening gel. The Gold package includes a six-month supply for $75, and the Diamond package is a year’s worth of whitening for $135. If you need a refill or strength adjustment, you can simply email the company. Goodbye forever to white strips!

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