Tuesday

Pre(review): Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal


Before I get onto the Crest Whitestrips I'll give you some background on my experiences with teeth whitening. 

Two and a half years ago I whitened my teeth with trays and hydrogen peroxide gel from my dentist. It set me back about £300 which was very over-priced for quite poor quality trays and four vials of HP gel. However, you'll pay about this much to any dentist for whitening and the at-home method was a little cheaper than going for that one-time whitening in the dentist's chair with the blue light contraption and my dentist advised me that the gradual at-home whitening was safer for my tooth enamel, longer lasting and allowed for touch ups in the future as I was supplied with about double the amount of HP gel I needed to get my teeth to a shade I was happy with. So for about 10 (14 were recommended) nights I dutifully applied my whitening trays to my upper and lower teeth and slept with them in overnight. 

The whitening made a huge difference to my confidence and I was happy to grin away in photos. My teeth weren't that bad, but following a course of fluoride tablets to strengthen my tooth enamel prescribed by my dentist when I was seven years old, my once snowy white fangs turned a decidedly dingy colour. Coupled with my pale skin, I had what Lisa Simpson would call a 'British smile'. 

At first I was over the moon with my Yankee smile, but after a couple night whitening treatments I started suffering excruciating tooth sensitivity and every so often (hourly) was struck with the most horrific jab of pain which went right to my core. Thankfully the sensitivity subsided after I stopped whitening for a few days. 

But the teeth sensitivity was not the worst of it. At the end of the day, hydrogen peroxide is corrosive and I do believe weakens your tooth enamel. One year after my initial course of whitening I did a top-up treatment over about 5 nights. Again I experienced pain and discomfort but it was less worrying as this time round I knew it would subside. However, about a month after, I bit down onto the pit of a plum and there was a horrible crunch. One of my bottom front teeth chipped. I had noticed that the top of the tooth was looking quite 'transparent' following the whitening treatments. My dentist gave me a white filling free of charge and admitted that the whitening had possibly weakened my enamel there. After about a month the filling fell out, as she had warned me it would as it was in a precarious place. A few months later, the rest of the enamel which was quite sharp, chipped off too, so now that tooth is a little shorter. 

I also think that whitening your teeth can kick off a vicious circle. First time round I was fastidious about not eating or drinking anything that could possibly stain my teeth during the whitening process (boy did I miss my cuppas!), but on the second go I was a bit more careless and I do think that when your enamel is weakened your teeth are prone to further, worse staining than if you left them alone in the first place. A one-off whitening isn't too damaging, but white teeth are addictive, and the brightness needs topping up about once a year, so after 30 years of whitening I wonder what condition my teeth will be in? (Crest recommend getting through TWO whole packs per year for optimum whiteness!)

So ever since the tooth chipping trauma I have been very wary of whitening my teeth any further. However, my friend picked up this box of Crest Whitestrips for me in the US about a year ago before the chipping and as I'm going to Miami at the end of next week, I'm using them on my upper row to brighten up a little. 

How to use Crest Whitestrips 

One box contains 14 sachets like this, inside of which is a strip for your upper and lower teeth.  Carefully peel the strips off the film and apply to your teeth, folding around the back to secure if necessary.   Leave for 30 minutes, then remove.

Crest recommend using the strips twice a day for faster whitening, but I would advise against this and would use once a day maximum - my teeth would be insanely sensitive with any more!


The information leaflet states that the peroxide on the strips is 'the same enamel safe ingredient dentists use for teeth whitening'. I'm not a scientist but I wouldn't call peroxide 'enamel safe', especially not a concentration that gets to work in half an hour. After all, teeth whitening is big business and lining the very pockets of said-dentists. 


My teeth before Whitestrips-treatment


Wearing the Whitestrips - Crest say you should notice a difference after three days of use.



Things to consider if you plan to use Crest Whitestrips 

* The Whitestrips will only whiten natural teeth - caps, crowns, veneers, fillings and dentures will not lighten.  Also don't use them with dental braces - for obvious reasons!
* Do not apply the strips directly after brushing your teeth. Wait an hour or so. 
* After removing the strips don't brush your teeth as this can damage your tooth enamel, just as you shouldn't brush your teeth directly after eating or drinking something acidic which softens the enamel. Instead rinse very thoroughly with water. I'd leave it at least an hour after removing the strips to brush, and don't use a 'whitening' toothpaste at this time either as they have 'exfoliating' particles in to dislodge stains, but are too harsh to use on teeth just treated with hydrogen peroxide. 
* I wouldn't recommend lying down with them in as some of the gel inevitably escapes from the strips near your back teeth and it can cause discomfort if swallowed. 
* The marketing spiel says you can drink water with the strips in, but I wouldn't, unless I was having a coughing fit.  Patience is a virtue! 

What I like 

* If your teeth aren't badly discoloured and just need to be lifted a few shades brighter, I would go with the Whitestrips over any sort of professional whitening treatment as I think it's less harsh on the old enamel.
* Easy to use - no faffing with injectors and trays.
* Wearing them for half an hour is much more convenient than wearing trays overnight.
* Far more economical than going to your dentist for the treatment.
* The strips really seal to your teeth securely and you can get on with things (except eating or drinking) during the half hour application.  Despite this they are easy to remove.

What I don't like  

* The price - even in the US they are overpriced. It's Hydrogen peroxide and stickers. Mine were about $40 but you can get them in from a UK- based website for £26.95. However, compared to what you'll pay a dentist to get your teeth brighter, it's not bad at all. 
* I don't like the fact that the strips for your upper and lower teeth are not separately packaged.  As long as there isn't a huge difference in colour between my upper and lower I prefer to just brighten up my top front teeth and leave my chip-prone bottom row alone. I could just chuck the strip for my bottom teeth, but it I don't like waste. 

So, as you can see, I am quite ambivalent about teeth whitening.  I absolutely love having a bright smile I can be confident about, but I am aware of the damage it's doing to my teeth and am concerned about their condition in the long run.  However I will persevere with the Crest Whitestrips and report back in a couple of weeks on their whitening properties, but bear in mind I won't be using all 14 sachets.  


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9 comments:

  1. I bouth the $50 ones and my teeth are so sensitive I couldnt not tolerate them after the first use...I hate whitestrips there just stripping enamel..Im saving for possessional whitening....plus your teeth looked great before!

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  2. Well I did get a professional at-home whitening system from my dentist, so my teeth are a lot whiter than they used to be, but as I said, I don't think 'professional' whitening, at a dentist or specialist company, is any safer for your enamel in the long run. I would even bet that the one-time 'blue light' treatment is even harsher unfortunately.

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  3. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm completely amazed that you'd even consider whitening your teeth because they look absolutely perfect! Honestly if my teeth were that shape and colour I would be a very happy smiley bunny and you couldnt stop me grinning away like a loon!

    I guess we're our own worst critics though so if you're not happy with them it must be worth trying to "fix" them. Looking forward to seeing how the strips work out :)

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  4. Thanks dear, I think the flash made them look a bit whiter than they actually are, but they're much better than they used to be after the professional whitening I had a few years back, so the strips are just for a touch up before braving America!

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  5. I'm here and there about teeth whitening. Again, I think it's the addictive cycle, and that's why I haven't started. Also, I'd be worried I'd end up with 'Hollywood' teeth - ick!

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  6. It's hard to see before & after coz the flash is bloody strong in the after pic. Did it work well? Should I use these for the wedding? Where can I get them online?

    Vote for Talim!! I've been flooding all my FB groups/pages with messages lol.

    Been ill. Fever, head ache, all that jazz. :( My orgasm/laguna duo arrived! Laguna is more shimmery than I thought but it's good, love orgasm it's a lovely colour, would suit any shade. Will blog about it rather than do a video I think!

    Angel x
    High Heels & Lipgloss

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  7. @Robyn - I think a lot of Hollywood smiles are veneers - they're just too white!

    @Angel - I haven't posted the after pic yet - the second one is of me wearing the strips! I've been so bad guzzling coke, tea, coffee, berries - my teeth will probably end up worse than when I started! Saw your post about the duo, lucky moo, I want one!

    Kat x

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  8. ohh i see now! didn't look properly! yeah the duo is nice i'm wearing it in my 2 latest videos, one on the main channel with Talim and also in the video on my vlog channel.

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  9. I want to try these as well, have you posted the after picture ( did I miss it?) ?

    You have gorgeous teeth, omg, you're so lucky !!

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