GET GLEAMY-GORGEOUS WHITE TEETH, and why you should never sleep with your dentist

The best part? All of the whitening products I swear by are DRUGSTORE.
Publish date:
January 17, 2012
shoppables, dental work, drugstore awards, teeth, whitening

Sorry about the weird photo. I don't really know how else to show off my teeth; I don't know. Once again, I loathe the xoJane always-include-a-photo-of-yourself policy, though I also recognize why it's super-awesome and makes you guys feel like you know us better.

But sometimes I just want to write a roundup of really gorgeous hand soaps or whatever and then I'm all, "Do I have to POSE with a hand soap? Or do I have to take a picture of one in MY house, next to my messy sink?" And then I don't write the article.

Well. I’ve written this story elsewhere before, but since no one but my diehard fans (FACT: I do not have diehard fans) from my Lucky days or whatever have read it, I have no qualms about vaguely plagiarizing myself in pieces here. I only like the same four dental products anyway, and there's only so many ways to describe a dental product. So. Whatever.

OK! So I have a million reasons why I hate dentists. Such as:

1) My grandfather was a dentist -- a retired dentist, who had never treated children professionally but unfortunately made exceptions for his own family -- with an office adjacent to his Philadelphia house.

Until he died of lung cancer when I was nine (he was also a chainsmoker), every Easter visit meant a horrible, uncomfortable teeth cleaning followed by a miserable fluoride treatment: He’d maneuver an adult-sized Styrofoam tray into my midget-y (it still is) young mouth, and then I'd weep and gag as the vile, tangy fluoride oozed down my throat for four whole minutes.

As an adult, I’ve given at least a thousand blow jobs, and believe me, they were more pleasant than these stupid fluoride treatments. Also, he was as far right wing as anyone I have ever personally known and his wife, my grandmother, was president or of some equally way-high rank on the board of the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women, so there was no where to run and hide in the whole house without bumping into a picture of her with Nancy Reagan or him with his menthol cig and cavity drill.

At least that's how I remember my visits there.

2) Before my parents divorced last year, my big sister, little brother and I were all convinced (perhaps erroneously, but 1000% sure nevertheless) that my psychiatrist father (a.k.a. son of dentist grandfather and GOP-superstar grandmother) was having an affair with a sexy WASP blonde dentist whom we used to see, and who has had her hands in my mouth. Or maybe my father was using “dental work” as an excuse for whatever the fuck else he was doing, and so we accordingly became confused.

Either way, he suddenly lost like 40 pounds -- Carson Daly-style -- and cut all of his three kids off financially (which I guess we all deserved; I, at least, was 27, in and out of rehab, and essentially useless), and bought a wildly-embarrassing-unless-you-are-Steve-Sanders kind of car called the BMW Z4:

…which he crashed within three weeks with friends inside of it; he’d been showing off for them, swerving around on a road. He was a Washingtonian magazine “best psychiatrist” about a zillion years in a row (until he moved across the country last summer with a new piece named Susan). Uh huh.

3) One time I went to this swanky Central Park South (known in the '80s as "MISTRESS ROW") dentist for a whitening treatment and made the mistake of telling him he was handsome. Because he was! I was just paying a compliment, like I would to...I don't know. Harrison Ford.

Like, at the time I was 25, and he was probably 55, with photos of his wife and kids in his office. And because I was and am spectacularly naive around older, married men, I assumed that he was looking at me, you know, the way my father looks at me: with equal parts contempt and confusion no interest in boning whatsoever.

However. I guess I gave this dude the wrong idea, because after the appointment he kept emailing me and calling me with special "non-work" cell phone numbers that weren't on his card, or mentioning that he would be out in Amagansett with friends that weekend and I would I be in the Hamptons too? GROSS. I HATE sleazy married guys. I bet he drove a convertible.

4) This other glamorous cosmetic dentist type, who had a big gorgeous office right across from Barney's on the Upper East Side, once told me I had "Miley Cyrus gums"...which traumatized me for at least a year.

Anyway, I could go on and on. Dentists!

But I do have good teeth and always have (I insisted to my mother that my braces go on in fifth grade so that they'd be long gone by the time I was ready to start seriously making out, and it worked), and they are white.

Now in my many years as a beauty editor, I've tried everything. EVERYTHING (and smoked cigarettes and guzzled coffee the whole time)! I've tried laser whitening and every other in-office zillion dollar (but free for me) procedure a publicist has ever offered me. I've used $40 toothpastes from Hollywood cosmetic-dental wunderkinds and I've tried the ampules that come in a glam lucite jar at Sephora. I've been fitted for the custom molds and oozed them full of gross gel and gagged on them in my sleep at night.

And you know what? Of the whitening products that work best, those that I use and love and always will are all drugstore brands.

You know you love it...

Let's go:

Arm & Hammer Dental Care Whitening Booster

This is a clear gel that tastes like nothing that you add on top of your toothpaste on your toothbrush when you brush your -- omigod, I apologize for this writing -- teeth. You notice the difference right away and then it keeps getting better and better.

Someone who sees me every day noticed right off the bat and asked if I was using white strips -- more on those in a second -- but no, I'd just been using the booster gel for five days. And it's like $5, or at least it is here on Swag.

Crest Vivid 3D White Strips

Crest Whitestrips are awesome. They're the original. The brand keeps honing the formula. They work, they work, they work. And while they work best when you use them as directed -- in order, every day, for 10 straight days -- you can also use them sporadically, like before a wedding, or whenever it is you want to look hot.

I personally am rarely invited to weddings, but sometimes I'm asked to attend a special function at a bar or something, and I slap on a top and bottom strip for a big whitening boost while I take my shower. And it all adds up. The more you use these, the better your teeth look. Period.

Rembrandt Intense Stain Whitening Mint Toothpaste

This toothpaste really is the best for right-away whitening. It tastes good, but not too deliciously good (which I like because I never trust that), and it has micro-particles that sort of exfoliate the stains from your teeth without stripping the enamel (in fact, this toothpaste is good for enamel; heads up to those of you who dabble in bulimia and binge drinking).

Rembrandt Whitening Mouthwash With Fluoride Plus Peroxide in Fresh Mint

Why aren't these product images centering themselves properly on the center of the page? God, I hate writing for the Internet. I love my job and Jane obviously, but I hate online stuff sometimes now that I'm doing it full time for the first time. SO frustrating.


This $8 mouthwash is so good, whitening-wise, that it's insane. Because, seriously, before I used it I didn't really believe in whitening mouthwashes, just like I still don't believe in whitening gum or whitening floss or whatever. But now when I run out of this mouthwash I feel hideous and paranoid! No, I just go buy more.

I use it in tandem with the Rembrandt toothpaste above, and as I've never really used it with a different toothpaste, I can't say for sure that it is AS amazing with another brand of toothpaste as it is with its own. But it truly makes my teeth whiter and gleamier, and then I feel happier. After all, isn't that what dental hygiene is all about? No? Oh.

Now I want to hear your dentist trauma stories, and about the products you love for brightening up your teeth, and about your Republican relatives, or just anything you want to tell me about. I read all of your comments, every column. So leave 'em...

Follow Cat on Twitter! She is going to reveal those giveaway winners soon -- sorry about that.