Teeth whitening strips do work, but they’re not the most effective way to whiten your smile. Here’s a little from our Delta dentists on how whitening strips work, how to use them safely, and what you should know before giving them a try.
What are whitening strips?
Teeth whitening strips are small pieces of a flexible plastic called polyethylene. The plastic strips are coated with a whitening gel that contains either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Whitening strips are applied to the fronts of the teeth, and molded to fit their shape. Once applied the peroxide gel gradually seeps into the teeth in order to lighten them.
Do they work?
To a degree, whitening strips do work however, the concentration of whitening ingredients in them is relatively low. The whitening solution used by dental professionals has a higher concentration of bleaching ingredients. So, while white strips will help remove surface stains and make your teeth somewhat whiter, they're just not as effective as having your teeth professionally whitened at your dentist’s office.
Problems with Whitening Strips
Apart from not being the most effective way to whiten your teeth, white strips can also pose some problems.
The use of whitening strips can result in damage to your gums due to a chemical reaction with the gum tissue. Be sure to avoid letting the whitening strips touch your gums when applying them.
It's important to note that white strip users can end up with the centre of each tooth being whiter than the edges. This is because the whitening strips only have a minimal effect on the spaces between teeth or the curved bottoms of teeth.
It’s easy to overdo it and damage your teeth without a dentist to monitor whitening treatment. Unlike hair and nails, once teeth are damaged, they’re damaged for good.
If not used correctly whitening strips can make your teeth sensitive to certain foods, or cause shooting pains in your teeth. Over-whitening can even cause enamel to soften, causing the teeth to turn an odd greyish colour.