From Khloé Kardashian to Ciara, shots of celebs using at-home, light-based whitening kits are blowing up all over Instagram. And it's no surprise since your smile is one of the first things that other people notice. But with so many companies targeting the huge followings that back these celebrities, we decided to dig a little deeper to find out if the bleaching tools were really worth the hype and if their claims of whiter, brighter, teeth were true.
We turned to Jennifer Jablow, D.D.S., a graduate of NYU's dental school who has helped groom famous smiles like those of some Victoria's Secret Angels, for the lowdown. Surprisingly, she revealed that "a lot of the 'light' accelerated systems on the Internet do not do anything." In order for stains to be lifted from the surface of teeth there are key additives that must be included in gels. "It is scientifically proven that the added light does nothing without the photocatalytic ingredient," she said.
Photo-what? A photocatalyst is a substance that triggers a chemical reaction. In order to get a better understanding of exactly what this means, Dr. Jablow elaborated: "Without a photocatalyst such as ferrous gluconate [found in professional dental treatments like Philips Zoom], zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide, the light does nothing." So, while shopping for the best stain removers, double check to see if they include one of the photocatalysts in their elixirs.
The dentist also recommends that consumers be cautious of products that say they offer the highest levels of peroxide, because, "the light alone will do nothing to help the peroxide work faster or better."
After double-checking the ingredients be sure to steer clear of any ultra-violet treatments, as the lamps' rays can damage your gums and lips. Instead, reach for, "LED blue lights, which are safer than using a UV light," Jablow advises.
One of the expert's favorite ways to score a pearly white effect is by brushing with Supersmile ($21; supersmile.com). "It has been around forever. It will take longer to whiten, but it's easy [to use] because you just brush [the product on]," she said. For faster results at home, try IntelliWHITE Coolblue Pro ($225; hsn.com). Said Jablow: It delivers "the same results as the dental office whitening, but without the sensitivity and never uses heat, which is dangerous for the tooth."