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Teeth whiteners put to the test

June 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Say goodbye to yellow teeth and smile with confidence. That's what the makers of teeth whitening kits are telling consumers. Consumer Reports just tested eight whitening kits. And, as we found out, some of these products work a whole lot better than others. Do you dream of having teeth as white as a models? Crest hopes you do. They aggressively advertise on TV and on Facebook to promote their Whitestrips Advanced Seal. Crest promises a dramatically whiter smile.

Listerine says its Whitening Quick Dissolving Strip "simply dissolves to noticeably white." And iWhite claims to provide "dentist-office results."

Consumer Reports tested to see how well eight at-home kits work. They cost anywhere from $17 to $50.

"We had over eighty staff members try out one kit each," said Gayle Williams, Consumer Reports.

There are kits that use strips that stick on - and strips that dissolve. Other kits use trays, including this one from iWhite. It has a battery-operated light designed to accelerate teeth whitening, but it didn't do so well.

"It turns out that the iWhite kit actually whitened teeth the least of all the kits tested," said Williams.

Consumer Reports uses a device called a colorimeter to assess staffers' before and after tooth color.

"Don't expect dramatic results. None of the kits offered a Cover Girl white smile," said Williams.

But the $50 Crest Whitestrips Supreme did outperform the others - rating very good. It's available online.

"If you want to reduce stains on your teeth, go easy when it comes to drinking tea, coffee, colas, red wine and even clear sodas," said Williams.

Be aware that all the kits Consumer Reports tested caution the product may cause temporary tooth and gum sensitivity, and that was the case for some people in the tests.

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