When it comes to whiter teeth I am a bit of a sceptic about how and if whitening toothpastes and similar products actually work.
If it was or is so simple, would we not be going around with pearly white smiles?
Here are the key bits of information you probably with to know, but for the full review, continue reading.
Does it actually work?
Yes, it does.
Do not expect miracles. If you have a thorough dental hygiene routine already the results will be limited.
It will not increase your tooth colour by a couple of shades.
Where it works best is for someone who has poor oral hygiene and very stained teeth. Once the teeth are much cleaner after a few weeks of use, the effects will be limited and use of a normal and cheaper fluoride toothpaste can take place.
Those with particularly white teeth be that natural or through cosmetic treatment will unlikely see a difference.
- It does work for many people
- Tastes good
- Lasts for about 2 months
- Peroxide free
- Has to be generally ordered offline
- Will not whiten teeth for all
- Must be used within 6 months
Would I recommend it?
Yes I would. However, I would suggest buy one tube, use it to get your teeth cleaner and then once used invest in a regular fluoride toothpaste and a good oral hygiene routine. It will be just as good long term and cheaper.
I would love a whiter smile (not Hollywood white) and overall my teeth are in reasonable condition but they are far from perfect. There are many with similar teeth or worse teeth who too would like to make teeth whiter.
So you probably like me, want to know if whitening toothpaste actually works, or is it just a myth?
There are lots of ‘whitening’ toothpastes but on test here is Nu Skin AP-24, one of the more premium and less advertised whitening toothpastes.
Nu Skin claim that their AP24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste
“Brightens and whitens teeth while fighting plaque formation. Featuring a special formula that contains no harmful peroxides, AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste also helps remove stains and aids in the prevention of cavities.”
Naturally such a claim left me feeling positive about the possible outcome, so I put it to the test.
I should note, that no product pages promoting Nu Skin have shown before or after photos of teeth which we are all lead to believe is what results we will get. You know the ones, where it looks like a different set of teeth! In some respects this pleases me in that they are not over-promising and in another shows a lack of belief in the product, but we are all different as are the results, ultimately it is a good thing, I think.
How I tested the toothpaste
In the interest of being as fair in this review as possible I took a picture of my teeth before and after using AP-24 and compared my tooth colour to a VITA toothguide colour chart. The colour chosen was what my partner felt was the ‘best match’ to my tooth colour.
The test lasted for 4 weeks. It is suggested a difference is noticeable within 1 week but I wanted to give it a good amount of time to really try it.
Following Nu Skin’s directions which suggest cleaning your teeth at least twice a day (or as directed by your dentist) with a pea sized amount of paste I did so for 28 days, morning and night.
This fitted in with my cleaning regime already (you should brush twice a day). I did not begin using any other products at the same time and flossed once a day. I also made no changes to my diet and whilst I drink tea, I do not smoke nor drink red wine.
In the interest of achieving the best results without dramatic changes I did use an Oral B Pro 6000 smart series electric toothbrush, with a 3D White brush head and used the Whitening mode programmes form the Oral-B app for 28 days.
Each brushing session for me lasted for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
This 140 second cycle allowed for 30 seconds on each quadrant of the mouth with a further 20 seconds focusing on the front teeth, the ones you ultimately want to be whiter.
I should be clear that normally I would only brush for 2 minutes per session, thus each session included a 20 second additional cleaning time for the front teeth.
Summary of how I tested the toothpaste
- Test lasted for 4 weeks
- Used Oral-B Pro 6000 with 3D white brush head
- Cleaned twice a day for 2 minutes and 20 seconds
- Flossed once a day
- Pea sized amount of paste
- No changes in diet
So at around £10 a tube of toothpaste AP24 is not cheap.
It is about 3 times more expensive than most toothpastes and about twice the price of more heavily advertised options from the likes of Colgate and Oral-B.
The 110ml/110g tube is clinical looking and does not stand out like some of the big brands that use bright colours, in fact it is rather understated packaging.
There is a flip top lid to the tube, which means no fiddly screw cap to deal with which is a bonus and also means the paste also stands upright.
Before using the toothpaste for the first time, you will need to remove the cap to remove a foil seal on the tube.
I cannot say that from the moment I began using the toothpaste that my teeth were instantly whiter.
AP24 toothpaste is white in colour and is not a rainbow like some other pastes. It did not froth as much as some pastes do, which I think it a good thing.
My initial reaction during and after the initial clean was that the paste had more of an abrasive taste and feel to it, not quite as smooth as some others, but this feeling dissipated after a day.
It is not uncommon to have this feeling, because in the paste is ‘hydrated silica’ which is a mild abrasive that assists in cleaning the teeth and will not erode enamel.
There is another ingredient called ‘alumina’ which is a mild abrasive and polishing agent to produce a whiter smile but smooth surface to the tooth.
The paste was not as minty or as fragrant as some other toothpastes. Although my teeth felt clean some pastes leave you feeling really dentist fresh (I hope you know what I mean), I did not get quite the same feeling.
When using the paste throughout the 4 weeks I was not left with any tingling or side effects.
Please be aware that should you notice any abnormalities or extra sensitivity from using a different toothpaste you should stop and consult your dentist.
When spitting out excess paste after cleaning, the colour of it was occasionally a light yellow which to me implied it was doing its job, cleaning the teeth and removing staining, plaque and other contaminants.
With 4 weeks of usage there is still plenty of paste left in the tube and I will continue to use, I would suggest you could get 2-2.5 months of usage from a tub of AP24 (less if you clean more than twice a day).
I have listed the ingredients in the paste later in this post, but what is important to note is that there are no peroxides in this paste. Peroxides stain the teeth a colour, this fluoride based product looks to clean the teeth.
Nu Skin claim that no damage occurs to the teeth as a result and I have no evidence to suggest that it would, however not being a dentist or having carried out any scientific tests I can not give assurances of this.
Once opened the paste should be used within 6 months, compared to the 12 months of many other toothpastes.
Further in this review I have included some official response from Nu Skin to questions I had of the product. I hope they are of use to you.
Summary of Daily Usage
- Expensive at £10 per tube
- Flip top lid
- Paste is white in colour
- Slight abrasive texture
- Not as strong in taste to many other pastes
- Less frothy
- No sensitivity experienced
- Showed signs of cleaning teeth
- About 2-2.5months worth of paste in a tube
So after 4 weeks of using AP24, what are the results?
Side by side:
In the before and after photos held next to my actual teeth is a tooth from the VITA toothguide (used to judge lightness and hue of the teeth). The color shade/hue of the tooth was chosen on first glance by my partner. Before the 4 week period she selected from the group 2 in the VITA toothguide but after 4 weeks when comparing the canine tooth she actually selected from group 3 in the VITA scale. Whilst I tried to have the judge of colour completed under the same lighting conditions it is difficult and colour is a perception. Focus too hard and you will never really tell, you have to go with the gut feel. Thus this is only a guide. However inspection of the photos in more detail does suggest colour improvement.
Conclusion, is AP24 any good?
Yes, it is a good toothpaste.
It does away with lots of the fancy marketing and whilst more expensive the most others I feel you are getting in many respects what you pay for, a product that is focused on cleaning the teeth.
Toothpastes are not really ‘whitening’ the teeth in the way that you may believe, they are actually just cleaning the teeth more aggressively than a conventional non whitening toothpaste.
Thus the ‘whitening process’ is really just the process of giving it a good clean.
Personally I see 2 parts to the effect of using whitening toothpaste.
Part 1 is the physical impact of actually improving the tooth colour (are you teeth actually whiter) and part 2 for me is the psychological effect.
Personally I believe the psychological effect is massive, because you want your teeth whiter your spend more time cleaning them, with more attention to detail, so there will likely be some improvements and your mind will have you believe they are whiter.
Did AP24 really make my teeth whiter?
The photos would possibly suggest a marginal colour improvement.
Psychologically I do feel the teeth are whiter.
The very nature of writing for this site means that I tend to keep my teeth clean and have previously used whitening pastes, but I do believe there has been a small improvement and those with more stained teeth will see a greater difference.
Could I have achieved the same results with a normal toothpaste and a longer clean? Yes, I think I could have.
There are too other ways to have whiter teeth.
The enamel that makes up the outer surface of your tooth is essentially translucent and this covers a tissue inside the tooth called dentin. It is the colour of the dentin that shows through. So healthy dentin will be brighter than unhealthy and aging dentin. Reducing the consumption of foodstuffs that stain like red wine, tea and coffee and of course smoking. A healthy diet with water, fruit and veg will too help to keep your teeth white.
If you really want ‘whiter’ teeth there is only one real option and that is to have them professionally whitened. No toothpaste is going to take a set of yellow teeth to being pearly white gnashers.
Where AP24 works best is for someone who has poor oral hygiene and very stained teeth. Once the teeth are much cleaner after a few weeks of use, the effects will be limited and use of a normal and cheaper fluoride toothpaste can take place.
Those with particularly white teeth be that natural or through cosmetic treatment will unlikely see a difference.
Electric Teeth Rating
- Where can I buy AP24?
- What are the ingredients in AP24?
- Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Glycerin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, PEG-12, Sodium Monofluorophosphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Dimethicone, Poloxamer 338, Poloxamer 407, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Sodium Oxide, Flavor, BHT, CI 77891, Limonene.
- Does it contain peroxides?
- What does it taste like?
- It has a mild mint flavour with an aftertaste of vanilla. It is not as strong as many other pastes?
- Does it actually work?
- Yes, it does. But…Do not expect miracles. If you have a thorough dental hygiene routine already the results will be limited. It will not increase your tooth colour by a couple of shades. Where it works best is for someone who has poor oral hygiene and very stained teeth. Once the teeth are much cleaner after a few weeks of use, the effects will be limited and use of a normal and cheaper fluoride toothpaste can take place. Those with particularly white teeth be that natural or through cosmetic treatment will unlikely see a difference.
- Does it hurt?
- I did not find it to do so. If you should gain additional sensitivity or side effects as a result of using it, stop doing so and consult a dentist.
- How long does it last?
- Approximately 2-2.5 months based on 2 pea sized amounts being used each day.
The following are questions I asked of Nu Skin in my scepticism about the product.
- Are you able to tell me what is the fluoride makeup within this paste? How many Parts Per Million?
- The AP-24 Whitening Toothpaste contain 1100 ppm fluoride. And the Anti-Plaque 1500 ppm.
- What is it within the paste that makes it effective at whitening teeth? Is there one particular component or is it that this paste is more abrasive on the tooth surface than others?
- Hydrated silica is used in the AP-24 whitening toothpaste as a mild abrasive. Hydrated silica is mild to the teeth and gums, and will not erode enamel. Alumina is used in the AP-24 whitening toothpaste as a mild abrasive and a polishing agent. A polishing agent is designed to produce smooth surface. Alumina is also mild to the teeth and gums, and will not erode enamel. Tetra sodium pyrophosphate is used in the AP-24 whitening toothpaste as a tartar control agent. Published laboratory studies show these agents retard tartar in the mouth. Our toothpaste does not contain peroxides, which a lot of whitening toothpaste contain. Peroxides bleach teeth, but at the same time they can weaken tooth enamel. When tooth enamel is weakened teeth are more likely to be affected by acid containing and colored drinks/food sources such as coffee, tea, smoke, red wine and berries, hereby leading to discoloration. AP-24 Whitening toothpaste brightens, lighten, and remove stain without harsh peroxides and cleansers. So no it does not bleach.
- Is it safe to use as an everyday toothpaste?
- Most definitely, yes.
- I see the recommended usage time is within 6 months compared to many other pastes that are 12, is there a reason for this?
- I am not sure – It could be because we are extra careful or because we add less preservatives to our toothpaste. I cannot say since I don’t know the percent of ingredient other brands use. It is not of importance to the quality.
- Are there any clinical studies that show how this is better than those offered from the likes of Oral-B?
- Since Nu skin is not a medical company we don’t have to do any clinical studies. Still, in some cases we choose to do so and have done so for the whitening toothpaste, so here they are. An in vitro test was performed to determine possible dentin erosion. The test measures a toothpastes tendency to erode tooth enamel. The AP-24 Whitening Toothpaste results were 103 RDA, which is the same as the leading U.S. regular toothpaste, Crest. Crest has been recommended by dentists for over 20 years. Also, an in vitro stain reduction test was performed to determine the percent increase in tooth brightness. The whitening effects were measured after brushing and our toothpaste resulted in 63% increase in tooth brightness.