Saturday, 29 September 2012

A dim future for bright teeth?

I recently attended the Olympia Beauty exhibition and as I was leaving I was accosted by a teeth whitening sales lady from Megawhite or (as per my receipt.) £249.99 reduced to £89.99 reduced to £69.99 and now at the show, £49.99. I was vaguely temped but moved on. "OK, name your price" the manager tried. I said £30 and the deal was done. So, I thought I might as well review it here.

Teeth whitening used to be the preserve of dentists, and a real dentist's chair, in a real surgery. But nowadays it's just another aspect of beauty and has been absorbed into the high street. On the one hand the 1984 Dentists Act says that the practice of dentistry can only be legally carried out by dentists, or trained dental professionals who are supervised by a dentist. The General Dental Council insists that whitening teeth is a form of dentistry. On the other, a 2001 House of Lords judgement classed teeth whitening products as cosmetics, not medicines. Now the law is about to change but still seems rather cloudy, hinging on the strength of the peroxide. It is a bit odd that these sales people have no knowledge of dentistry at all (that I could discern.) I was put in a chair and had the protective goggles and the mouth tray but when it came to the blue light, which apparently makes no difference anyway to activating the solution... the sales people were unable to position it properly. "Make sure it's pushed right up," I would hear the manager hiss as he repositioned the light stands to rest right against the mouth tray. I don't know why it didn't occur to me, but sitting exposed to a UV lamp for 20 minutes must have been horrific for my skin and wrinkles, surely?! Although the poster exclaims: "No structure or enamel damage", we have no clue what is in the solution. It is so funny how casual one is to just putting a tray in and sitting in front of a lamp.

Anyway so after 20 minutes was up I checked my teeth and was horrified to see that I had tons of patchy calcium white spots all over my teeth, it was positively disfiguring in my view! I was assured this is normal and goes away within a day or two. I was convinced I had landed myself with a huge hassle of having to go to a professional dentist and spend a small fortune on covering them all up. Thankfully though they did indeed go away. I think my teeth went a little whiter but certainly not worth the stress and not worth the potential harm to skin that the UV light must surely cause.

I have some funny photos which unwittingly capture the scene of the staff rallying around me to comfort me that my teeth were not in fact scarred for life. I took them on an 'intelligent' camera that you wear around your neck and it takes photos at will. I used the Vicon revue, an old forerunner of the Autographer. (You forget you are wearing that thing and it takes pictures of your whole day.)

I will be posting a summary of my experience at Olympia Beauty in my next post....

My recommendations as far as teeth whitening are: Rembrandt toothpaste (£9.39 at Boots but definitely worth it as it actually works!) and an amazing Italian toothpaste, which I discovered via my US friend Proudchapina who pays over £12 to get it over there, but in fact in Italy I picked it up for around £3 or £4. It's called Marvis Whitening toothpaste and you can thankfully find it on ebay. I adore it and the packaging alone is so sophisticated.

White teeth are a great fast way to look younger. Sadly I have never known true white teeth but these 2 toothpastes have been brilliant. As for high street teeth whitening booths, I would give it a miss. I am glad I didn't invest anything much in it or I would have been very let down indeed. Perhaps a dentist professional whitening is worthwhile, but from my brief experiment I would conclude that the high street variety is a million miles wide of that mark.

Have you ever tried teeth whitening or have any great toothpastes to recommend? Please do share!

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