A study ranks Crest 3D White Vivid as the fourth-most abrasive whitening… (Procter & Gamble )
It's hard to believe, but there was a time not long ago when everyone walked around (in public!) with naturally colored teeth. Today, with so many whitening gels, strips and trays out there, yellowish grins aren't as common — nor the natural look as appealing — as they used to be.FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Dr. Vincent Mayher, a dentist, as being based in Philadelphia.
Whitening mania is especially obvious in the toothpaste aisle. Just about every major brand now comes in special whitening formulas.
While strips and trays work by soaking the teeth in bleach for long stretches of time, whitening toothpastes take a faster approach. They generally rely on abrasives (toothpaste companies prefer to call them "polishers") that help remove surface stains left behind by coffee, cigarettes, juices and foods.
Crest, a Procter & Gamble brand, offers 3D White Vivid and 3D White Advanced Vivid. Both varieties contain hydrated silica as an abrasive. The advanced version, which comes out of the tube in two separate chambers, also has sodium hexametaphosphate, a compound that helps loosen the stains so the abrasives can do their job. Users are instructed to brush after meals or at least twice a day. Expect to pay about $4 for the 4.1-ounce tube of either product.
Rembrandt, a Johnson & Johnson company, has built its brand around the promise of whitening. Both its Intense Stain and Deeply White toothpastes contain hydrated silica. Deeply White also has the bleaching agent urea peroxide. Users are instructed to brush twice daily "and after meals if possible." A 3-ounce tube of Intense Stain costs about $8, and a 2.6-ounce tube of Deeply White goes for about $7.