Whitening strips do work, but they’re not the most effective way to whiten your teeth. Here’s how they work, how to use them safely, and what you should be know before trying them.
What are whitening strips?
Teeth whitening strips are made from small pieces of flexible plastic called polyethylene. Each whitening strip is coated with a gel containing either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Whitening strips are applied to the front of the teeth, and gently molded to fit their shape. One strip goes on the top teeth, and one on the bottom. The peroxide gel then seeps into the teeth to lighten any stains and thus make the teeth whiter.
Do they work?
Yes, to a degree, but the concentration of whitening ingredients in them is quite low. That means that while they will help remove surface stains and make your teeth somewhat whiter over time, they're not as effective as professional teeth whitening. Dental professionals are able to use considerably higher concentrations of bleaching ingredients which will produce much better whitening results.
Problems with Whitening Strips
In addition to not being very effective, whitening strips can also pose some problems.
Whitening strips can cause a chemical reaction with your gums, resulting in damage to the tissues. Make sure not to let the whitening strips touch your gums when you apply them.
Whitening strips have only a minimal effect on the spaces in-between teeth and the curved bottoms of teeth, which means you could end up with the centre of the tooth being whiter than the edges.
Without a dentist to monitor the whitening treatment, it’s possible to overdo it and actually damage your teeth. Teeth aren’t like hair and nails; once they’re damaged, they’re damaged for good.
Over-whitening your teeth can cause enamel to soften, and the teeth to turn a greyish colour. Making mistakes with whitening strips could even cause you to experience shooting pains in your teeth, or make you sensitive to certain foods.