They’re not the most effective way to whiten teeth, but white strips do work. Here’s how they work, how to use them safely, and what you should be know before you try them.
What are white strips?
White strips (teeth whitening strips) are small pieces of a flexible plastic called polyethylene. Each white strip is coated with a whitening gel that contains carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
The strips are applied to the fronts of the teeth, and molded to fit their shape. One strip goes on the top, and one on the bottom. The peroxide gel then seeps into the teeth to lighten them.
Do they work?
White strips really do work, but only to a degree. The concentration of whitening ingredients in each white strip is relatively low. While they will help remove surface stains and make your teeth somewhat whiter over time, they are not as effective as professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office, which has much higher concentrations of bleaching ingredients.
Problems with White Strips
In addition to not being very effective, white strips can also pose some problems.
Be sure not to let the white strips touch your gums when you apply them. White strips can cause a chemical reaction with your gums, resulting to damage to the tissues.
White strips have only a minimal effect on the spaces between your teeth and the curved bottoms of teeth, so you could end up with the centre of the tooth being whiter than the edges.
It’s very possible to overdo it with white strips and ultimately damage your teeth without a dentist to monitor your treatment. Teeth unlike hair and nails; once teeth are damaged, they’re damaged for good.
Over-whitening can cause enamel to soften, and the teeth to turn an odd greyish colour. Errors or misuse of whitening strips could even cause you to experience shooting pains in your teeth, or make you sensitive to certain foods.