Best Tips and Tools to Whiten Your Smile
Turn back time with the latest lip enhancers, tooth whiteners, and more.
All the White Moves
The biggest smile booster, bar none, is whitening. In-office treatments, which range from laser- and light-activated bleaching to veneers, provide dramatic improvement, but they also come with a hefty price tag ($300 - $5,000). "But if your teeth just need a little pick-me-up, you'll probably be fine with an over-the-counter bleaching product," says Apa. One he particularly likes: the new Crest 3D 2 Hour Express Whitestrips ($55 for four; drugstores). Like in-office treatments, at-home bleaches oxidize stain molecules with hydrogen peroxide - or ingredients that break down into it - albeit in lower concentrations. The other kinds of at-home whiteners - whitening toothpastes or rinses - use polishing and other non-bleach agents to either scrub off or chemically remove stains that are closer to the surface.
Whether you whiten with a toothpaste, strip, or rinse, you're not likely to sensitize or harm your teeth: "The old bleaches that abraded have been discontinued," says Apa. Any sensitivity you experience should subside as soon as you stop whitening, he says. While whiteners don't lighten bonds, veneers, and other dental work, certain brands, like Go Smile, Supersmile, and Glo, do remove stains on artificial tooth surfaces. A few more products to try: Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Gel ($3.80, drugstores); Supersmile Whitening Professional Whitening System ($36, supersmile.com), and, as of next month, from Jonathan Levine, D.M.D., the GLO, a light-activated home whitening system that claims to mimic in-office results ($275, Sephora).
Originally published on January 7, 2011
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