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Whitening strips remove surface stains on tooth enamel (outer layer), making them appear brighter. They can improve tooth color by a shade or two in just a few days.6
Although whitening strips aren’t as effective as in-office whitening techniques, they can be a cost-effective at-home alternative.
None of the listed ingredients for whitening strips have been shown to be unhealthy or dangerous. Most whitening strips have a hydrogen peroxide percentage of 9.5%, making them perfectly safe.
When used correctly, most whitening strips are a safe way to whiten teeth.1, 2, 3 However, there are a few potential side effects.
If you use whitening strips more frequently or longer than recommended, you risk damaging your tooth enamel and gum tissue.
Other potential side effects of whitening strips include:
Although whitening strips are relatively safe, they still contain chemicals that can be dangerous in large quantities. This is why there’s a warning on whitening strips that no one under 12 should use the products.
You may also want to avoid using whitening strips if you have damaged gums or sensitive enamel. The chemicals in whitening strips can further damage your mouth if misused.
Learn about the safest ways to whiten your teeth.
The following ingredients are common in tooth whitening strips:
Most whitening strips are made of polyethylene. It’s one of the most common plastics in the world. Because of its lightweight, flexible, and non-toxic structure, it’s ideal for the base of a whitening strip.
These are the main active ingredients in whitening strips. They are natural and safe bleaching agents.2
PVP and carbomer are adhesive agents. They help whitening strips bind to your teeth. Both of these chemicals are safe and non-toxic. However, if overused, they can cause gum irritation.
Water is included in the gel to prevent carbomer from dehydrating your teeth.
PEGs are humectants. These are thickeners commonly used in cosmetic products. The PEG acts to thicken the gel and make it sticky.
Glycerin is a sweet, non-toxic compound. It acts as a humectant to thicken the gel and help the strips stay in place.
Acrylates copolymer is another common ingredient in cosmetic products, including whitening strips. It binds the gel and keeps the strips in one piece.
Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It’s commonly used in whitening strips to adjust the pH to neutral.
Sodium saccharin is an artificial sweetener used to improve the taste.
Most whitening strips require the same basic steps. However, they do vary from product to product. Read and follow the instructions exactly to ensure safe and effective whitening results.
Here are the basic instructions for applying at-home whitening strips:
Your teeth should be clean before you apply whitening strips. However, don’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes before using them. Doing so can increase gum irritation.
Whitening strips can remove stains. However, this can depend on the type of stain.
The type of stains that they can remove are caused by:
The type of stain whitening strips can’t remove is internal discoloration. Because these stains originate inside your teeth, whitening them can be difficult. Getting your teeth whitened at a dentist is the most effective way to whiten teeth stained by internal discoloration.
See NewMouth’s top 10 teeth whitening products of 2022.
Crest whitening strips are one of the best whitening strips available today. These dental whitening kits can show visible results within 24 hours. They even offer a great alternative for people with sensitive teeth and gums.
These Crest whitening strips include:
These strips mold to the shape of your teeth, which helps prevent slipping. They are also easy to use and don’t stop you from talking, drinking, or working.
Both are ADA-approved, meaning they’re safe and effective when used properly. Each kit contains 14 to 16 full whitening treatments, with one upper and one lower strip.
While whitening strips are an effective treatment option, there are many ways to whiten your teeth.
Other whitening treatment alternatives include:
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. A good smile can leave a lasting impression.
Teeth whitening can brighten up your smile and improve your teeth’s appearance. Other benefits of teeth whitening include:
Whitening strips can be beneficial for at-home use due to their availability. Whitening strips are fast, effective, and cheap.
Whitening strips are a cheap, effective, and easy-to-use option for at-home teeth whitening. They are generally safe, especially if they have the ADA Seal of Acceptance (e.g., Crest).
Although whitening strips can effectively remove external stains, they can’t remove internal stains. Professional teeth whitening is the most effective option, but treatment costs more.
If misused, teeth whitening strips can damage your teeth and gums. Overuse or misuse of at-home teeth whitening products can result in:
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