A year or so ago, a number of celebrities began popping up on Instagram, showing off some new teeth whitening products that they were supposedly using to maintain their famous smiles. This is an at-home, light-based whitening kit, and a lot of well-known people snapped pictures of themselves holding the glowing devices next to their bright white smiles.
Just looking at the pictures, you might want to believe that this small, white circular device was solely to thank for the state of their smile.
Of course, deep down, a lot of us will just assume that these are obviously pictures that feature someone who has been paid to pose with a teeth whitener. After all, give a Kardashian a blue light to shine on her teeth, and it will still get shared by tens of thousands of people.
It may look a little overly-posed and fake to some people, but who can blame these celebs for doing it? Who wouldn’t want to make some good sponsorship money for a single selfie and some relevant hashtags?
It’s one thing top see a celebrity showing off their white teeth, but since their career depends on their appearance, they’re probably already paying a lot of money for a professionally bright smile.
A lot of celebrities and semi-celebrities have shared Instagram posts that touted the effects of one teeth whitening solution or another, but it was when Kim Kardashian West shared a picture of herself with a new blue-light device that people really started talking.
So, with the potential popularity from this kind of endorsement, it has to be asked whether or not these light-based whitening kits actually work.
The kit works very similar to a lot of other systems. You’re given some whitening gel, which you use to line some dental trays, and then pop them into your mouth and turn on the LED light. The reason for the light is to help the gel solution, which is why you are only supposed to have it on for 10 minutes (unlike many other current systems which require at least 30 minutes on your teeth).
After all, we often use lights in our own dental services. So, there must be something in these lights that help to accelerate the process? Right?
Well, not necessarily.
In order for the light to actually work, there must be something in the gel that actually reacts to it. This is called a “photocatalyst.”
In-office treatments – which are much more powerful that what you can buy over the counter – have these photocatalysts. Many of these systems that are showing up all over Instagram may not have them.
So, when you’re looking for an at-home, light-accelerated solution, make sure the chemical agent has a photocatalyst, such as ferrous gluconate, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide.
If they’re big seller is “peroxide,” then they’re just trying to sound smart. Because LED light will have no impact on how the peroxide works on your teeth.
Once you’ve got a gel that has ingredients that actually react under specific light, be sure the system uses LED blue lights rather than ultra-violet treatments. UV lights carry too much risk and can damage your gums and lips.
There have also been some instances of people testing out these kits and finding that it made their teeth incredibly sensitive. So much so that they said it hurt to drink water. So, if you have sensitive teeth, you might want to give this a miss.
Of course, the best option is to always check with us before beginning any kind of at-home whitening regimen. We can advise you on cosmetic dental procedures and the best products and help you get a lasting smile.