January 29th 2021
With National Smile Month starting on the 15th May, teeth whitening products seemed like the most apt of categories to put to the test this week. From strips to kits to toothpastes, our chemist shelves are heaving with products all promising to be the key to a brighter smile. Claiming to work in a matter of weeks, or even days, do any of them actually deliver? We put seven to the test to find out.
The promise: “This 100% natural tooth polish removes stains and discolouration from the surface of your teeth to significantly whiten and brighten your smile.”
We give it: 7/10
Review: “Containing finely-ground activated coconut charcoal, the dark colour of this teeth whitening polish initially put me off. What won me round however, is that it’s 100% natural and specifically formulated for dental use. Formulated to lift stains (such as those from coffee and a glass of wine here and there!), my teeth definitely looked brighter and the surface felt a lot smoother after a few days of use.
"The high content of Vitamin E and the raw coconut oil helps to nourish gums and after brushing, makes it really feel like you've had a professional clean. It seems to have more of an immediate brightening effect, and if I stop using it, it does seem to wear off. My teeth are naturally quite white so this was fine for me, but those with more severe staining may want something more hardworking. My only down point would be it can leave you with quite a bit of a mess in the bathroom - blame the colour of charcoal!”
The promise: “Guaranteed results without pain and sensitivity, designed to keep teeth white for up to six months.”
We give it: 6/10
Review: “Developed by two certified dentists, Spotlight is the only at-home strip to contain hydrogen peroxide - the whitening ingredient used by pros in treatments. Each box has 14 sachets holding two strips - one for your upper teeth, one for the lower teeth. To apply, you simply dry your teeth and apply the strips for one hour. The aim is to do this daily for two weeks. Despite my sensitive teeth, I didn’t have any trouble with this; only that it’s a little uncomfortable (I’d do this when you’re on your own!) and unless you have a straight Hollywood smile, it’s hard to apply them perfectly. Therein lies the problem. On removal I was amazed to see a massive difference in colour - my teeth were instantly much whiter - but it wasn’t even. I had patchy white marks where the tape had stuck well in some areas and not others. After much panicking, I went to bed and hoped for the best - and sure enough by morning it had faded away. Repetitive use definitely brightens the whiteness of teeth, but the potential for patches is off-putting; though if this were explained properly in the rather brief packaging it wouldn’t be such a concern. For the price, it’s good value - but something that molds better to even the most crooked of smiles would be more useful. I’d use it again, but only at night (to allow it to fade) and with as much precision as possible.”
The promise: “The treatment works quickly to give you naturally white teeth. You can expect to see a difference in as little as 3 to 7 days.”
We give it: 5/10
Review: “On paper, this at-home teeth-whitening system showed a lot of promise – an at-home teeth whitening system developed by dentists with visible changes in 3-7 days. Say hello to California smiles! I should also declare that I was also a little drawn in by the Swiss-ness of the product – the stark white packaging and a promise of Swiss-style performance results (surely Swiss people have excellent teeth, so who better to peddle the white stuff?).
“I used the syringes to dispense a small amount of gel onto one of the trays and inserted it into my mouth. The advice on the packaging is to keep the mouth tray in place for 40 – 60 minutes, but I’m sorry to say I was only able to manage 20 before the saliva build up in my mouth became unbearable and I had to take it out. I also found that even though I hadn’t applied excessive gel to the tray, that I was swallowing quite a bit of it, which was really unpleasant. I did make a second attempt (top set of teeth this time) and it was the same second time around. The one saving grace was that there were no shooting pains up my gums, which I have experienced before with Crest Teeth Whitening Strips, so that’s a good sign. As for the results, I trust that you would see a small difference if you persevered, but I just was not able to get over the awkwardness of the application and the fiddle-iness of the syringing.”
The promise: “Starts working immediately to restore original whiteness.”
We give it: 8/10
Review: “Here I am banging on about Regenerate again (I promise you they’re not paying me). It’s a bit of a wildcard where an edit of whitening treatments is concerned, but I had to squirrel it in here as it has without doubt brightened my teeth up over time, which is a welcome side-effect to the nigh-on miraculous enamel repair effect it reaps. It’s more a treatment than a toothpaste in my book, as it goes above and beyond cleaning to remineralise enamel and re-harden teeth, and as a result sensitive yellow dentine is reduced and teeth naturally look whiter and dramatically more polished.
“The daily toothpaste works well by itself, but when combined with the monthly enamel serum, teeth look a whole lot smoother and whiter, while sensitivity is reduced, which is a novel feature for a whitening system. Admittedly it’s not designed as a whitening range, so you won’t end up with a Simon Cowell degree of snow white, but if you want to whiten teeth the natural way while improving rather than risking your dental health, I wholeheartedly recommend good ‘ol Regenerate. It’s still ⅓ off in Boots if you want to cash in and give it a go. Meet you in the dental aisle.”
The promise: “The highest quality natural whitening experience.”
We give it: 7/10
Review: “Wimpole Street dentist Dr Richard Marques is known for keeping celebrity gnashers gleaming white, so I was curious to see how much power he’d managed to pack into a natural with this new launch. It contains calcium carbonate and silica ‘for a natural teeth whitening experience’ and natural peppermint oil ‘for teeth and gum odour removal and breath freshening.’
“I’ve been using it for a month and have enjoyed the refreshing lack of obvious sweetness of conventional toothpaste (it’s sweetened with tooth-friendly xylitol and sorbitol, a glucose derivative used in sugar-free foods). The minty taste is bracing, in a good way. Calcium carbonate is shown in studies to remove stains better than normal toothpaste and it also contains silica which is mildly abrasive. It doesn’t contain fluoride, which may be a plus or a minus depending on your viewpoint. For me, with my much filled teeth, it’s OK as a temporary intervention.
“I didn’t think it was working, until a friend said unprompted that my teeth were looking pearly. I drink a lot of black tea and this toothpaste seems to have kept stains at bay. Would I buy it again? I’m not sure. It’s pricey at £15 (there are cheaper natural toothpastes) but seems to have good natural whitening ingredients and the tube is large enough to last a couple of months. I’d see this as a good twice-a-year buy.”
The promise: “This intensive BlanX White Shock Treatment has been formulated for daily use with the LED bite that can be placed in the mouth after every brush...use it for 2 weeks, 4 times a year, and get teeth up to 4 shades whiter.”
We give: 6.5/10
Review: “If you have an event coming up in a couple of weeks' time, this could be a good treatment to try. It was quick and easy, but I had a longing to clean my teeth with proper toothpaste afterwards as it just didn’t leave them feeling clean. While they were notably a shade whiter after just 4 days, I wouldn’t say that the results blew me away. Perhaps those with a greater amount of staining than me would notice more of a difference. Out of 10, I’d give it a solid 6.5 based on how easy it was to use and the difference it made in a short time. However, I’ve deducted marks as I feel it could have left my teeth whiter and also because it didn’t leave my teeth feeling clean.”
The promise: “Without messy trays, strips to fix or capsules to break, it’s simple and easy to use and gets to work straight away to restore the natural white colour of your teeth.”
We give it: 6/10
Review: “This 3 step kit left my teeth 2 shades whiter after 10 days of use, proving particularly effective at lifting some of the staining in between them. I was impressed. It was easy to use however, the applicators were flimsy. The brush on the 1st bottle broke off after just 2 uses and so I had to use the brush from the the 2nd bottle for both stages as a result. Would I use it again? I actually would because of the difference it made - not miraculous but definitely noticeable. As a word of caution though, I wouldn’t use the colour chart on the box to keep a track of any changes, but rather take before and after pictures instead.”
January 29th 2021
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