The Kardashians do it, and so does singer Ciara, Amber Rose and dozens of other celebrities that we love to follow on Instagram. We’re talking about those futuristic looking teeth whitening devices that you fasten onto your open mouth. The ones that blast your teeth with blue lights until they are sparkly white and red carpet ready.
With so many of brands of these devices appearing on Instagram accounts (some promising to deliver “whiter, brighter teeth in 3 days” from about 50 dollars a pop) we can see their appeal. But how exactly do they work and are they worth the money?
Before we can answer that question, we need first to understand how these devices claim to work. You get a package of mouth guards that you gently heat and then place in your mouth, moulding the guard to the shape of your teeth. You then syringe a special gel into the mouth guards, place it in your mouth, switch on the LED lights and leave it in place for 15 minutes. The products usually recommend use for about 2 weeks, and never for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Drawbacks include temporary gum and tooth sensitivity, which reportedly goes away after a few days.
You could very well get brighter teeth with this method – but how long will it last and how bright will it get your teeth?
If you’re dealing with drastic teeth discoloration from antibiotic use or years of smoking, this is probably not going to get you noticeable results. Plus, the UV lights can also damage your tongue and lips.
The bottom line is that these at-home teeth whitening kits are probably suitable for light discolouration but come with a risk of damaging the sensitive parts of your mouth. To get your desired level of brightness requires dozens of packages over several months, cancelling out any potential cost saving.
If you want a guaranteed and safe result, you’re better off going with a professional teeth whitening treatment, and this comes with a guarantee that you do get what you pay for.