One of the hottest and latest dental products is whitening lights. Whitening lights are a product that you place on top of your teeth for a few or several minutes, depending on the intensity of lighting that the product type uses. Like their name suggests, these products have a lighting feature that promises to whiten and brighten your teeth when placed on top of them for the prescribed time period, making your smile whiter, brighter, and cleaner. Some of these products even use LED lighting to freshen up your smile. According to Boston University, Americans spend approximately $1.4 billion a year on nonprescription teeth whitening products like whitening lights “to bleach away the effects of cigarettes, coffee, red wine, or just plain age”. Many people depend upon these nonprescription teeth whitening products because they promise a method of whitening teeth that is quicker and more efficient than relying on toothpaste and mouthwash alone, and which can be cheaper than scheduling regular teeth whitening appointments at your dentist’s office. But are whitening lights worth these billions of dollars, and can lighting actually do the trick of making teeth whiter?
The truth is that yes, whitening lights can make your teeth whiter, but they’re not the most effective or efficient method. Whitening lights are just like household flashlights. Aside from the fact that most brands of whitening lights and household flashlights use LED lighting technology with the intention of brightening something up, whether it be stained teeth or a dark room, like household flashlights whitening lights can make something (your smile) seem brighter but it won’t be the method with the best, greatest, and most long-lasting effects. Shining a household flashlight on your teeth might make your smile seem brighter and whiter artificially, but you certainly wouldn’t depend upon it for a dental product. Though whitening lights are actually designed for dental purposes, the LED properties that most whitening light products use will not do the best job at actually making your teeth whiter, but the lighting will accelerate another feature of the product, a whitening gel, which will catalyze the chemical reactions that break down tough stains on the enamel surface of your teeth.
So, like household flashlights, teeth whitening lights use LED lighting to give your smile an artificially white and bright smile but while whitening lights can break down tough stains, the effects are mostly cosmetic and not too long-lasting or healthy.