After a frustrating experience with Tanda Pearl, a teeth-whitening system that uses gel and trays that are supposedly powered by ultrasound, my teeth had a yellowish hue that might be acceptable back home in the north of England but certainly isn’t amongst a nation of dazzling smiles. White teeth are young-looking teeth and I wanted them. So I stepped into my nearest drugstore to try out Crest’s 3D Whitestrips ($56).

Sometimes there is a drugstore mainstay that is simply hard to beat and this is one of them. It does what it promises to do, while being efficient and simple to use. With long-lasting effects (I’ll come back to this), the price of 3D Whitestrips is reasonable.

I hate using teeth whitening trays. I have never met one that I liked. I have a very sensitive gag reflex and wearing the trays, plus the inevitable oozing into my mouth of the gel makes for a very uncomfortable experience. So I was interested to see how the strips would work. I anticipated that they would be less intrusive and more tolerable but I wasn’t confident that they would stay in place for the full two hours per day required by Crest 3D Whitestrips. And would I even find two hours in my active life when they could safely be worn?

Crest promises that its strips will stay on even while drinking water. And they do. I found that I could attach (which is super easy) them to my upper and lower teeth first thing in the morning after cleaning my teeth (disregarding the instructions that suggest it is “best” not use straight after brushing) and they stayed put whilst exercising or anything else until I was ready to peel them off two hours later. There was a slight difference immediately and by day three my teeth were looking much cleaner and brighter. Day 7 – the full treatment – and I had teeth worthy of my adopted country.

I noticed a little sensitivity on the second day and third day, but after that all was fine. Crest promises its strips are enamel safe, but the 3D set can only be used once a year.  The whitening are the typical hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide. Maintenance, which three weeks later I have not yet needed, can be done with the 3D Gentle Routine strips. I shall definitely be investing in these at some point though for full conversion to Crest Whitestrips. Next challenge is to get my husband to try them.

Ingredients: PVP, PEG-8, water, hydrogen peroxide, acrylates copolymer, sodium hydroxide, sodium saccharin.