Whiten Up: 6 Moves for Your Prettiest Smile Ever
Tooth Brighteners Put to the Test
FITNESS staffers put over-the-counter tooth brighteners to the test.
Colgate Luminous Enamel Strengthening Toothpaste in Mint Twist, $2.99, drugstores
The claim: Fluoride gently lifts away surface stains, while minerals help rebuild weak enamel so teeth appear whiter.
Our tester says: "The texture wasn't abrasive like other whitening toothpastes I've tried and the mint flavor made my mouth feel really clean." --Sara, 24
The pro says: "By removing tartar on a daily basis and strengthening the enamel in between professional cleanings, it will make your smile brighter," says Dr. Liechtung.
GoSmile Zen Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth, $18, sephora.com
The claim: Potassium nitrate helps block exposed areas in the enamel, while silica polishes away stains and fluoride prevents decay and strengthens the enamel.
Our tester says: "The paste felt slightly chalky but my teeth didn't have the sensitivity they usually do while brushing." --Tara, 28
The pro says: "Minerals combined with your saliva help to close off exposed nerve fibers and lessen sensitivity from overwhitening," says Dr. Rosen.
Crest Whitestrips Daily Multicare, $39.99, drugstores
The claim: Daily use of these five-minutes-a-day formfitting gel strips prevents stain buildup, whitening teeth several shades after one kit (42 pouches).
Our tester says: "I noticed a slight difference after one week, but once I finished the box, I got tons of compliments on my super-white smile." --Nicole, 27
The pro says: "Even low amounts of peroxide can have a big effect -- it's really about using the active ingredient on a consistent basis," says Dr. Rosen.
Listerine Whitening Pre-Brush Rinse, $5.49, drugstores
The claim: Germ-fighting ingredients prevent bad breath, while whitening agents brighten your smile after 12 weeks. Our tester says: "I didn't like the taste it left behind, but my teeth are whiter and it's super-easy to use." --Kathy, 45
The pro says: "A whitening rinse is a great tool to prevent already whitened teeth from rebounding back to their original shade," says Dr. Liechtung.
Sally Hansen Smile Brightening Lip Treatment in Radiant, $6.95, drugstores
The claim: The blue-based hues diffuse yellow tones and make not-so-bright smiles seem super-white.
Our tester says: "I never think my teeth look really white, so I loved applying a gloss to instantly make my smile seem brighter." --Jenna, 31
The pro says: "The color white that your eye can see naturally has blue undertones," explains Dr. Rosen.
Tip: Watch what you sip. Coffee, tea, dark soda and red wine (and, of course, cigarettes) can penetrate teeth's enamel and cause yellowing. "Skip them entirely for 24 hours after a professional treatment, when teeth are more apt to absorb dark hues, or use a straw to lessen the contact," advises Dr. Rosen.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2007.
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