I had never thought much of it really. But a beautiful smile can go along with the other preparations for your wedding day such as the dress, makeup and hair. My friends at Review.com presented me with their findings in researching 86 different products. The best products are presented here for your wedding preparation.
How We Found the Best Teeth Whitener
To separate the products that will actually improve your smile from the duds that’ll only take a bite out of your wallet (and maybe even hurt your mouth in the process), we interviewed dentists, reviewed the research, and conducted at-home tests with over 30 participants.
We started with 86 products culled from beauty magazine “best of” lists, recommendations from dentists, and Amazon ratings of 4 stars or higher. What we didn’t include: whitening toothpastes, gums, or lipsticks that claimed to create the illusion of whiter teeth. And, all of our products had to be available without a visit to — or prescription from — a dentist, which eliminated popular whitening systems Opalescence and Philips Zoom right off the bat.
We cut products that didn’t explicitly list their ingredients.
If a product is going to be hanging out in your mouth day after day, we want you to know what’s in it. The FDA does not currently regulate tooth bleaching products, so shady products do exist (like this whitener we found on Amazon that boasts its gel is “made fresh every seven days!”).
The other reason why an ingredients list is important: to know if it’s actually going to work. For a teeth whitener to be really effective, it needs to contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as an active ingredient. (Only peroxides remove both surface anddeep stains, whereas whitening products like toothpastes and gums can only target surface stains.) If we couldn’t confirm these active ingredients — and at what percentage — we didn’t bother.
We eliminated anything with more than 10 percent hydrogen peroxide or 35 percent carbamide peroxide.
An American Dental Association (ADA) brief on teeth whitening spelled it out: “It is known that at concentrations of 10 percent hydrogen peroxide or higher, the chemical is potentially corrosive to mucous membranes or skin, and can cause a burning sensation and tissue damage.” (Note that, while there is some disagreement as to the exact exchange rate of hydrogen peroxide to carbamide peroxide, the ADA and the dentists we spoke with mentioned between 28 and 35 percent carbamide as equal in power to 10 percent hydrogen peroxide.)
If you go above 10 percent hydrogen peroxide or 35 percent carbamide peroxide, “then you’re getting into the professional grade,” says Seattle-based dentist Dr. Paul Amato, DDS, FAGB, referring to whitening products that should only be used with oversight from a dentist. “If the tray or whitening strip does not fit accurately, you can cause damage to the gum tissue or the root surfaces.” Dentists can give patients products with much higher percentages of active ingredients (think 25 to 40 percent hydrogen peroxide) because they first completely protect gum tissues with a rubber dam or gel.
We found some teeth whitening products touting 16 percent hydrogen peroxide and 44 percent carbamide peroxide. While most tissue irritation is temporary and goes away after you stop treatment, the ADA says that irreversible tooth damage has been reported on rare occasions. Which brings up a good point: the ADA cautions that there have not been enough studies done “to support unsupervised long-term and/or repeated use of bleaching products.” So, consult your dentist before you begin any whitening regimen.
We picked the tops products from each brand.
We discovered that several brands had nearly identical products that differed only in little things: time to see best results, for example, or the inclusion of an LED light (more on those later). Crest 3D White Luxe Supreme Flexfit Whitestrips are virtually identical to Crest 3D White Luxe Professional Effects Whitestrips, except the strips of the former are bendier — the whitening properties between the two are exactly the same. In these cases, we chose to eliminate the less established product with fewer reviews.
And, then we got to testing.
With our narrowed field of 16 whiteners, we set out to see them in action on real human teeth. It wasn’t anything too fancy: We recruited 32 participants across a wide range of ages to try out our top products. The experiment began with each tester recording his or her pre-whitening teeth shade against a dentist-provided teeth shade guide and snapping a “before” pic. After using the teeth whitening product for the recommended length of time, our testers took an “after” photo, evaluated their new teeth shade, and completed an exit survey describing the experience. Using these findings, along with ratings from beauty sites such as TotalBeauty.com, Men’s Health, and Consumer Reports, we were able to determine our top picks.
Our Picks for the Best Teeth Whitener
Go Smile Double Action 6-Day Whitening KitGo Smile is effective, works fast, and is even easier to apply than traditional strips.
This whitening kit was a complete surprise. Its signature ampoules (little pockets filled with gel that you mix and rub on your teeth) seemed like a gimmick compared to the strips we were all used to. But once we tried them out, we were sold. The Go Smile Double Action 6-Day treatment whitened our testers’ teeth an average of three shades — among the most of any product we tested — in just six days. Pretty speedy, considering the average time until full results for the products we tested was 13 days.
The gel was quick to apply and really wearable — you could whiten during the course of a day, which was a major bonus compared to messy trays or strips that, for better or worse, end up making you drool. One tester remarked, “It was super easy to apply after brushing my teeth. It was a quick habit to form.”
We also liked that sensitivity was minimal. Although Go Smile won’t disclose the exact percentage of peroxide it uses, it does confirm that it’s less than the ADA-approved 10 percent. Plus, the paint-on approach meant we were more in control of how much of the whitener got on our gums than having to manipulate and place one-size-fits-all strips.
Crest 3D White Luxe Professional Effects WhitestripsThis 10 percent peroxide treatment gets results, but sensitivity may occur.
Crest Whitestrips is a veteran in this space; it began advertising over-the-counter teeth whitening to the masses all the way back in 2001. We had high expectations for such a household name — and because of its 10 percent hydrogen peroxide levels, the maximum amount recommended by the ADA.
Crest delivered well enough. Our testers were all pleased with the look of their teeth after 20 days, but their teeth only whitened an average of 1.5 shades. Could it be because their teeth were already pretty white to begin with? Sure. An avid fan base, plus more than 800 4.5-star reviews on Crest.com and nearly 5,000 4.3-star reviews on Amazon, helps prove that more impressive results are common.
Crest makes a lot of lofty claims about its Whitestrips, not all of which pan out. Its website says you can drink water while wearing them — but one gulp turned our water into a whitening gel cocktail. No thanks.
Crest also says these strips grant results that last up to 12 months, which means you can do this whitening regimen just once per year; we didn’t have a full year to test this out, but on its FAQ page, Crest admits that, “The length of time your teeth will stay whiter is influenced by several factors, including how often you drink coffee, tea, dark colas, red wine, or smoke.” (Right. The weight you lost on a month-long diet will also stay off if you don’t eat carbs, sugar, or alcohol.)
But that stuff is just marketing. The only real downside was two of our testers reported uncomfortable gums while wearing Crest 3D White Luxe Professional Effects Whitestrips, again probably due to the high hydrogen peroxide content. Gum sensitivity occurs when the whitening gel directly interacts with your gums — this can happen if you apply the strips imprecisely or too high up on your teeth.
Best for Sensitive Teeth
Crest 3D White Whitestrips Gentle RoutineLower peroxide levels and a shorter wear time keep teeth and gums comfy.
Tooth sensitivity, on the other hand, is highly subjective from one patient to another. If your pearly whites are prone to pain, we suggest Crest 3D White Whitestrips Gentle Routine.
Crest’s Gentle Routine strips have a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide (only 3–7 percent) and you wear them for five minutes per day as opposed to 30. None of our testers experienced any sensitivity throughout their four-week testing period, but all reported some level of whitening and an appreciation for the lesser time commitment. “I put them on every night before I started my bedtime routine,” one explained. “By the time I was finished washing my face and applying moisturizer, I could remove the strips and go to bed. So easy!”
That said, it takes 28 days to see full results with the Gentle Routine — a full week longer than Luxe Professional Effects, which is something to keep in mind if you’re whitening for an upcoming event.
A+ Professional Strength Teeth Whitening StripsThese strips matched Crest in effectiveness and are less than half the price.
These teeth whitening strips punched above their weight. A 14-day supply of 28 strips will set you back just $12.43 on Amazon — that’s around $40 cheaper than a 20-day supply of Crest 3D White Luxe Professional Effects Whitestrips, and less than half the average $27 of all our testing products.
Our testers experienced little-to-no sensitivity (the levels of peroxide are at 6 percent with these guys) and an average whiteness increase of two to three shades — even more than our Crest 3D testers, although that has as much to do with our testers teeth than the strips themselves. Like the Crest 3D Luxe strips, you have to wear them for 30 minutes per day.
Downsides: one tester didn’t like that the gel seemed to stick to her teeth even after she removed the strips and rinsed with water. These guys may require a quick toothbrush scrub before you’re ready to go about your day.
Go Smile On the Go Teeth Whitening PenStart to finish, whitening with this pen takes about 30 seconds.
Whitening pens bring out the skeptic in us all. As one tester puts it, “I expected to hate this thing. It seemed cheap and like it wasn’t going to work, but I like the way my teeth look. And it was truly convenient.” Start to finish, whitening takes about 30 seconds: twist the end to release the serum and paint it on twice daily for seven days. (Again, Go Smile wouldn’t say how much peroxide is inside, just that it’s less than 10 percent.) Both of our testers brightened their smiles by a shade in just a week. Not standout results, but not nothing either.
Theoretically, this little guy is so discreet you could whiten anywhere — in the office bathroom on a quick break or even stopped at a red light. “You can paint it on and then go about your day; no need to brush your teeth again or take off strips. There’s nothing to even throw in the trash!” one tester said.
Several recent Amazon reviewers have dinged the product for crappy manufacturing, claiming they couldn’t get the gel out no matter how many times they twisted the pen. Neither of our testers reported this, but, unfortunately, if it does happen to you, you may be out of luck. If you order the product over the phone via GoSmile, you can take advantage of the GoSmile return policy: return the pen with its unused materials up to 45 days after the purchase for a full refund or exchange. But if you order via Amazon, you’re subject to their return policy: if you open the pen and it doesn’t work, you’re stuck with it.
This article was originally posted at Reviews.com: http://www.reviews.com/teeth-whitening-products/