You might expect more from a product marketed specifically as a teeth whitener than from a mere whitening toothpaste — after all, you tend to pay more for them, they usually require more effort, and some you use in addition to toothpaste, rather than instead of. Most dedicated whitening products also make quite strong claims about their effects, which can raise expectations: “whitens teeth by up to 5 shades in just 14 days”, “whitens up to 10 shades” and “continuous application for 7–10 days will achieve amazing results”, for example. Some even go so far as to guarantee a whitening effect.
To try and assess if they’re all they’re cracked up to be, eight CHOICE staff members in pursuit of a white smile volunteered to try out eight different products on the market. Each trialist followed the instructions and time frame specific to the single product they were using. Because each product was tested by only one trialist, we can’t draw conclusions about specific brands, but results averaged across the brands suggest there was a small increase in whiteness — if only by one or two shades. But by two weeks after the trial, some trialists’ teeth had already lost some of the whiteness they’d achieved. And the feedback about satisfaction with the result, and whether the trialist would buy the product, was varied.
The whitening products on trial were:
Mouth tray with gel
NATURAL WHITE 5-Minute Tooth Whitening System
NATURAL WHITE Rapid White Tooth Whitening System
WHITE GLO Tooth Enamel Whitening System
NATURAL WHITE 5-Minute Tooth Whitening System Non-Peroxide Formula
All these kits, except NATURAL WHITE’s ‘non-peroxide formula’, use a peroxide bleach. You place a mouth tray with whitening gel over your teeth and leave it in your mouth for a set period of time. Some kits include ‘whitening accelerator’ to coat your teeth with beforehand, and require you to use the whitening toothpaste or mouthwash provided afterwards.
MACLEANS Brilliant White Dental Whitening Strips
You mould whitening strips to your teeth and leave them on for 30 minutes.
COLGATE Simply White Advanced Clear Whitening Gel
MACLEANS Brilliant White Whitening Treatment Gel
You apply whitening gel to your teeth with an applicator, and leave it on for a set time period.
Bleach and enzyme paste
This is whitening toothpaste and bleaching gel rolled into one product. You brush teeth as you normally would.