Teeth whitening strips are an easy at-home solution to removing the stains on your teeth.
Among the home teeth whitening kits, they are a rather effective solution for discoloration.
However, they may not be as useful as an in-office dental whitening procedure.
Nonetheless, the gel in the strips contains a bleaching agent (usually carbamide peroxide) that can mildly penetrate the enamel.
This article discusses how you can use these strips to whiten teeth and achieve a bright, confident smile.
Why Do You Need Teeth Whitening Strips?
As you age, wear and tear in the enamel exposes the dentin.
The dentin is naturally darker than your enamel.
Hence, when the enamel wears down, the darker yellow color of the dentin surfaces.
Along with that, if you have any injuries or tooth fractures, that can result in darkening your tooth.
Taking certain medications, treatments and being ill can also affect the color of your teeth.
So can unhealthy habits such as teeth grinding.
Staining that exists because of a lack of enamel and the exposure of dentin is hard to remove.
Only a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide can penetrate deeper which usually dentists have.
They are better at removing stains accumulating on your enamel.
These form because of eating and drinking foods that discolor the shade of your teeth.
Hence, if you drink coffee, tea, red wine, eat berries, use balsamic vinegar and soy sauce in salads then you are at risk of getting extrinsic stains.
Coffee and tea contain tannins that stick to your teeth and leave behind their color.
Other than that, there is also smoking and tobacco use.
Regular smoking can turn your teeth into a dark yellowish or brown shade.
Strips containing gel can usually get rid of these stains and show a considerable difference in the shade of your teeth after using them constantly for 2 weeks.
You may have to apply them twice or once a day.
The results can last as long as 4 months.
Having a white and bright smile will give you the confidence to laugh to your heart’s content in a social situation.
Want to purchase them? Find out what you should look for while buying them in detail below.
Should You Buy Them?
Whether you have extrinsic or intrinsic stains, strips with a good concentration of peroxide base can work on them.
However, they may work better on extrinsic stains.
Similarly, if your teeth are heavily stained then you can get better results at a dentist’s office.
Consult your doctor to know whether you should be using them on your intrinsic stains.
That said, they will not work on any fake teeth.
If you have crowns or veneers then not only strips but any whitening will not work on them.
Strips do generally work better than whitening pens or toothpaste.
Thus, if you want to give it a go and experiment with whitening your teeth, using strips is a more effective option.
That said, there are risks of prolonged use and the amount of time you keep wearing it.
Hence, you need to carefully use them for the allotted time.
Moreover, choose your ingredients wisely too.
Look for carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Other than that, look for the ADA seal of acceptance.
This can ensure that this product is safe to use and has the dentist’s approval.
Also, if you go to your dentist regularly, you can ask them for recommendations.
They will probably know about safer options that can fulfill your needs and not cause irritation.
You can also refer to customer reviews to look for a reliable product by gathering the views of the users.
Once, you buy the strips, it is time to use them.
Follow the instructions on the packaging but be careful about not spilling it to your gums.
Using Teeth Whitening Strips
Before the Application
You may skip brushing right before applying the strips.
Well, if you use fluoride toothpaste then it will render the bleaching agent ineffective.
Therefore, avoid brushing shortly before however, you may brush a while back.
Follow the packaging for instruction.
Two strips will go on your lower and upper teeth, one each.
As you apply them wipe away the excess gel seeping out of the strips.
If the gel touches your gums or other parts of your mouth then it causes irritation.
Moreover, the gel seeping into the gums can harm the soft tissues.
Therefore, remove the excess gel immediately and if required cut the strips in the shape of your teeth so that they fit in exactly.
After that, keep it on for the recommended time.
This is usually 30 minutes.
Let it stay in place for half an hour at least twice a day.
Keep repeating it daily for 2 weeks or between 10 to 14 days.
Though, the instructions can vary according to the product and the concentration of the bleaching agent.
Be mindful of not wearing the strips longer than the recommended time.
So do not use it excessively as it may harm your tooth’s health.
Only use them in moderation as otherwise, they can cause sensitivity among other issues.
After all, the active ingredient in bleach.
There is a chance that the strips may erode the protective enamel layer as time passes because of overexposure.
This can lead to tooth loss.
Remember, that even if you apply carefully, there are chances of uneven whitening.
These two-dimensional strips will not cover the entirety of your teeth.
Hence, you will notice some unevenness.
What you can do instead is to take your time to cover your entire teeth and not do it hurriedly.
After the Application
You will see visible results immediately after the application.
However, a significant difference will only be apparent over time.
As long as you consistently apply the strips, the whitening results can last as long as 4 months.
Do not skip any day or time during the 2 week period of application.
You can interfere with the procedure and disrupt it if you skip a day or even forget about applying it once.
Ideally, you should apply it twice a day for two full weeks.
Though, the instructions for each product differ.
Some may even recommend you to use them for 10 days.
Either way, be it 10 days or 14, once or twice a day, make sure that you don’t leave out a single time of application.
Other than that, you would not want to render the treatment useless by drinking and eating staining food.
Abstain from drinking coffee, tea, or red wine while you are using the strips and even after completion.
Otherwise, there is a risk that your teeth will stain heavily again.
Similarly, give up on smoking altogether.
Not only is it injurious to your overall health but will completely render your effort to whiten teeth useless.
After whitening, the pores in your teeth open.
They will remain so after a few hours following whitening.
Thus, at this time if your teeth come in contact with dark-colored foods and beverages, they will likely stain your teeth again.
Hence, give them some time to close.
Do not eat berries, chocolate, drink wine, tea or coffee right after finishing the treatment.
If you keep these things in mind then you will see a reasonable change of shade using these strips.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Using Teeth Whitening Strips
The strips are very easy and convenient to use.
All you have to do is to place them on your teeth during your daytime and nighttime oral health routine.
Using them regularly gives you effective whitening in a short period of time.
Hence, you do not need to necessarily go to your dentist for teeth whitening as long as you have a good product in hand.
You can use them again whenever you feel that there is some discoloration.
However, beware of overuse.
Plus, it is also great that the strips are so convenient and easy to use.
What’s more, they are a very affordable solution for teeth whitening.
That said, the strips also come with their set of cons.
- Overuse of strips is damaging to teeth
- Side effects result from using them
- Difficult to keep in place
- Keeping them on for 30 minutes can be challenging for some
- Results may not be dramatic
If you keep using the strips for a longer time then you are susceptible to damage such as tooth loss, sensitivity or gum irritation.
Moreover, you require patience and time.
The strips have to stay in place for 30 minutes.
Hence, spare 30 minutes twice a day to wear them regularly.
Other than that, you need to keep your expectations realistic.
If you have extremely dark teeth then achieving a bright white smile will require several treatments.
Therefore, it is best to first consult your dentist before trying any of the OTC strips.
For whitening your teeth at home, teeth whitening strips are a good start.
However, they too come with their risks and cons.
Hence, before proceeding, consult with your dentist whether you should start using them or not.