What Is White Light System?
The White Light System teeth whitening system claims to use “light technology” to—you guessed it—whiten your teeth.
But, more than just brightening up your smile like every other teeth whitening kit, White Light System claims to get your chompers from faded yellow to bright white fast.
How fast? The speed of light! Well, almost—according to White Light System, their revolutionary patent-pending device can whiten your teeth in as little as 10 minutes.
Since we’ve reviewed a number of teeth whitening kits, this claim left us curious if such rapid whitening was even possible. And, if so, is it safe?
To answer your questions, we’ve copied out the promises in White Light’s infomercial (which can be found on the product’s official website) and addressed their claims one by one.
Taking a Closer Look at White Light System’s “Light Technology” Claims
White Light System Claim #1: “White Light is a revolutionary new system that incorporates the power of light technology...Light treatment is the latest whitening technology used by dentists.”
When you visit your dentist for an in-office whitening appointment, your dentist may or may not use a bleaching light to help lift and remove stains. The light used is UV light—”UV” is short for ultraviolet.
So what is UV light anyway? All light is categorized by its different wavelengths, which you can see charted here as the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
Image via BestUV.com
Traditional UV lights were made by passing an electric current through vaporized mercury or some other gas. Obviously, this isn’t something you want in your mouth!
Alternately, less-powerful UV lights can be made with LED (light-emitting diodes)—which is what we’re assuming is inside White Light due to its small size.
Just looking at the source of UV light, we’re already seeing a difference in what equipment you’d experience at a dentist's office versus a device that’s safe for at home use. But, let’s go a step further: What good do these UV lights do when it comes to teeth whitening?
None. Multiple studies have shown that UV lights do not lighten teeth more effectively than the use of whiteners by themselves. (Hein 2003, CRA 2003, Kugel 2006)
Wait, then why did dentists ever use bleaching lights in the first place?
The idea that UV light helps to boost a whiteners lightening power comes from a time before dentists began doing what’s called a “split-arch study”—when only half of a mouth is treated at a time to measure a whiteners effectiveness.
Image via Animated-Teeth.com
Before split-arch studies, it was observed that UV lights did, indeed, help make teeth whiter. However, it wasn’t until dentists started measuring a patient’s treated teeth against their untreated teeth in follow-up visits that they realized the extra boost of a UV light faded away.
Researchers learned that the initial lightness seen with the teeth treated with a bleaching light was due to a dehydration effect that occurs as they dry out during their treatment process—not to increased whitening due to light activation.
Basically, the UV lights would dry out a patient’s teeth, making them appear temporarily lighter. However, as the teeth regained moisture, they would revert back to the lesser-white shade achieved with a whitener alone.
So, why do some dentists still use UV bleaching lights? In one survey, those asked responded:
- Because it came with my system.
- Because patients ask for it.
- Because it's good for marketing.
Bringing this back around to White Light: Even if the LED UV lights in this at-home system packed the same punch as those used by your dentist, bleaching lights don’t actually whiten your teeth—they just dehydrate them, and the effect is over in a day.
White Light System Claim #2: “This unique White Light system can help you achieve the same results at home in 10 minutes. And, it’s easy to use: Just insert the device and turn it on.”
If by “same results” they mean that their system can achieve the same effect as a bleaching light, then yes! However, as we’ve just learned, bleaching lights are ineffective, so this isn’t really something to write home about.
Further, when Dr. Mark Burhenne, family and sleep medicine dentist, was asked about the effectiveness of teeth whitening toothpaste and gums, he ixnayed the idea that these products can be fast and effective:
“Whitening chemicals need to be in contact with the teeth for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to effect a color change.”
That’s double the amount of time in which White Light claims to work, leading us to believe that their claims of whitening in seconds aren’t accurate.
White Light System Claim #3: “The patent light system, combined with our specially formulated gel, rapidly removes surface stains. It also penetrates deeply to lift out embedded stains.”
In How to Choose an At-Home Teeth Whitening System That Works, we share in-depth information on how to pick a kit that’s right for you; and include a comparison of the two most popular teeth whitening solutions: carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.
Our point isn’t that one is better than the other, but that higher quality teeth whitening kits will tell you which active ingredient they use, and at what concentration.
White Light System does not share any information regarding their whitening gel. But, here’s the thing: stronger isn’t always better. In fact, weaker solutions allow you to leave the whitener on your teeth longer, while stronger ones may cause increased sensitivity and gum pain.
No matter which way you cut it, it’s our opinion that applying an unknown solution to your teeth is inadvisable.
White Light System Pricing & Refund Policy
An order of White Light Whitening System with Whitening Gel comes with the UV light device, two trays, and a tube of the whitening gel. It’s available for $19.99, and shipping is free.
If you aren’t happy with your White Light, simply return the product within 30 days for a refund of your purchase price, excluding shipping and handling.
Who’s Behind White Light Whitening System?
White Light is manufactured by “As Seen on TV” (ASOTV) giant Telebrands, who also makes dozens of popular ASOTV products.
Here’s the thing: It’s our opinion that not all Telebrands products are bad news. Some are well received by consumers. However, in our years of researching Telebrands products, we’ve learned that the very nature of ASOTV can breed customer dissatisfaction.
ASOTV products try to grab your attention with big claims and promises that a product will be life changing. However, it’s our experience that at the end of the day, they’re often made with cheap parts and simply don’t live up to their claims.
This view is supported by more than 250 readers who’ve provided feedback on HighYa, and given Telebrands an average rating of 1.5 stars. Poor reviews primarily revolve around complaints of poor quality, failure to work, and difficult customer service experiences. And while you might not experience the same with White Light System, it’s certainly worth noting.
Bottom Line: Can White Light Brighten Your Smile?
White Light’s claims represent a fundamental misunderstanding regarding what whitens teeth—namely, the idea that UV lights are effective.
Not only would the effects of the light disappear within 24-48 hours, but studies also show that whitening treatments generally only last about a month—after which you’ll need to start the process again.
All that exposure to UV light and harsh whitening gels is damaging to your living tissue, and can even result in more permanent staining, along with temporary pain and sensitivity.
If you’re still interested in an at-home whitening kit, we recommend checking out our comparison of popular methods. But, as far as getting the most bang for your buck while keeping your chompers safe, there’s still little evidence that any at-home kit can compare with biting the bullet and visiting your dentist.
- CRA (Clinical Research Associates). CRA Newsletter: Clinicians' Guide to Dental Products & Techniques. Vol. 27, No. 3. March 2003
- Hein, D. et al. In-office Vital Tooth Bleaching-What Do Lights Add? Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, Special issue: Tooth Whitening. Vol 24, Number 4A. April 2003.
- Kugel, G. et al. Clinical evaluation of chemical and light-activated tooth whitening systems. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry. Vol 27, Number 1. Jan 2006.