Money Wise--The Right Tooth Whitener

Getting your teeth whitened is one of the latest trends. We've all seen the commercials for all the different products out there. But would you be better off going with a professional whitener? Some treatments you can use at home, but there are also treatments that you can get from your dentist. The Good Housekeeping Institute recently looked into the benefits and drawbacks of both options.

GHI chemistry director Karen Rauen said, "In cosmetics today, one of the fastest growing trends is tooth whitening."

An in-office whitening can be pricey. Bleaching systems like BriteSmile cost $400 to $1,000 a pop. BriteSmile dentist Dr. Radford Goto explained, "The active ingredient we use is hydrogen peroxide and we use a high intensity light called a gas plasma light that activates the gel."

The professional whitening works. In fact, Good Housekeeping found its tester's teeth whitened up to seven times their former shade in one quick visit.

"I couldn't believe that in an hour my teeth could lighten up," said tester Marcy Lovitch.

But if you don't want to spend hundreds, for a little under $15 you could get a do-it-yourself whitening. Good Housekeeping had success with Crest's new Night Effects system. Six testers applied the bleaching agent for 14 consecutive nights.

"I noticed a big difference in the first night and within the first five nights," said tester Sue Booth.

Testers reported their smiles brightened between two to five shades. But there is a slight downside.

"Problem was you can't put it on at night and then cuddle and kiss with your husband," said Kathleen Huddy.

So there may be a little more than a financial sacrifice to get that celebrity smile. Good Housekeeping has also tested Colgate's Dimply White tooth-whitening brush-on gel. It lightened teeth one to three shades after the two week test was over. But even better results came from the Crest strips.

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Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,