How Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?

You’ve probably seen teeth whitening strips on display at your local shops, and just simply passed them by, as you grabbed your old and trusted toothpaste. 

It’s understandable, as most people who have not used them before simply don’t understand how teeth whitening strips work - or if they work at all.

Teeth whitening strips are a frequently overlooked yet important tool, in which we can fight tooth decay, improve our dental hygiene, as well as whiten our teeth.  They are safe and easy to use, once you understand how to use them.

 

How Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?

Reputable teeth whitening strip brands use one of two active bleaching ingredients.  They are hydrogen peroxide and or carbamide peroxide.  The active ingredients, or peroxides, bleach the outer enamel layer of the teeth, providing a whiter colour.

Most teeth whitening strips are made of polyethylene, a thin elastic type of plastic, or are dissolvable.  The polyethylene strips need to be removed after the alloted amount of time.  The dissolvable teeth whitening strips simply, as per their name, dissolve.

These whitening strips are lined with either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (mixed with water it turns into hydrogen peroxide) and are applied directly to the teeth.  It is important to read and understand the instructions, as each brand might advise different periods of time needed for their teeth whitening strips.

What are the Benefits of Teeth Whitening Strips?

The primary benefits of teeth whitening strips are saving time and money.  Whitening teeth used to be an expensive and time consuming venture and often seen as cosmetic rather than essential.

Teeth whitening products such as strips and toothpastes continue to gain popularity as people now accept them as mainstream and safe.  Gone are the hours spent scheduling appointments.  The hundreds of dollars it used to take paying a professional dental hygienist are sorely needed elsewhere.

The benefits of at-home teeth whitening strips are saving time, money, and having much healthier and whiter teeth.

When Should You Use Teeth Whitening Strips?

Always brush your teeth before using teeth whitening strips.  This ensures that there is no food, plaque, or bacteria in between your teeth and the teeth whitening strip.  Residual plaque or bacteria left on the teeth will lessen the bleaching effect of the whitening strips.

Make sure to leave a gap of at least 30 minutes between brushing and using teeth whitening strips.  There is usually some type of gum irritation after brushing, and this 30 minutes allows any swelling or irritation in the gums to dissipate before applying whitening strips.


Can Teeth Whitening Strips be Harmful?

Always read the instructions.  Teeth whitening strips are safe as long as you read and follow the provided steps.  The biggest risk is when leaving the strips on for too long, or using the strips more than the prescribed amount.

Like all bleaching, the active ingredient is eating away at whatever surface it’s being applied to - in this instance, it is the enamel on your teeth. 

Reading and following instructions is important so that the teeth whitening strips are not left on the enamel for too long.  Healthy and clean enamel is what gives our teeth the nice white colour we are all looking for.