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Pearly whites ahead.

By Hana Hong
Updated April 10, 2020
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Go Smile Sonic Blue Smart Brush Whitening Kit
Credit: ultra.com

The quest to attain pearly whites that pass the “tissue test” is bigger than ever these days. I mean, it’s almost impossible to locate a tube of toothpaste these days without "whitening" featured on the label. My teeth aren’t stained yellow, but I—like many of us—am always trying to crank them up a few shades lighter. And I’m not alone: According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening procedures are now the top requested cosmetic dental procedure, with more than a 300 percent increase since 1996.

But here’s the thing: As a beauty editor, I’ve tried a lot of treatments over the years, but in-office teeth whitening is one that I’m still hesitant about. The first time I got my teeth whitened professionally, I went in with minimal information and maximum excitement. I wasn’t too worried—my parents spent good money on orthodontic work for years to help me straighten my smile, and even my orthodontist can vouch for my high pain tolerance.

However, when they began the procedure on me, my mouth felt like it was on fire. I was told to expect some level of discomfort, including tingly, shock-like sensations, and that it was completely normal. So I tolerated the burning sensation for a couple rounds, but when my dentist came to check on me midway, they decided to stop because my gums were bleached and bleeding. As it turns out, some people just have really sensitive gum tissue, and the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide in whitening treatments don’t work for them.

So, I bought whitening toothpaste. I used Crest Whitestrips. I brushed on whitening pens. Now, don’t get me wrong—I love using at-home teeth whitening treatments, but the effects were temporary and it was hard for me to maintain that frosty white shade, especially with all the cups of coffee and tea I guzzle on the daily.

That’s when I came across Go Smile Sonic Blue Smart Brush. It looks like an ordinary electric toothbrush at first glance, but it has a whole lot of technology packed into it. The brush comes with sonic vibration that offers regular and gentle modes (with up to 33,000 strokes per minute), along with a built-in timer that lets you know how long to brush and when to switch areas. Even the bristles are advanced—they’re anti-bacterial and change color to indicate when it's time to replace it.

But the real MVP is the patented blue light wave design that kills bacteria, fights bad breath, and accelerates teeth whitening. Here’s how it works: Blue light opens up the pores of the teeth and allows oxygen to enter the enamel and dentin, helping to break up stains and discoloration. The kit comes with a tube of whitening gel that is activated by the toothbrush’s blue light to hike up the brightness of your teeth.

Results can vary for each person depending on your teeth’s genetic makeup, but I noticed results after just a week. My teeth were at least a couple shades brighter than what they were before, and most importantly, no sensitivity. Thanks to the blue light pairing, the gel needs less hydrogen peroxide to reap the same effects, which means happier teeth and gums for me.

My final verdict: If you’re on the hunt for a good electric toothbrush, this is a good one. Granted, office treatments have come a long way since custom-made trays, and professional services like Zoom use the same LED concept to activate the bleaching agent. These come with a $600 price tag, however, and contain higher levels of peroxide. For people with sensitive gums, this at-home alternative is one of the safer (and cheaper) methods of doing so. It doubles as a normal electric toothbrush, and you can brush your teeth as you normally would. It just comes with an additional whitening perk, which is definitely a welcome bonus in my book.

To buy: Go Smile Sonic Blue Smart Brush Whitening Kit ($89; ulta.com).

BlueLightToothbrush
Credit: Courtesy of brand