Teeth Whitening Strips: Do They Remove Plaque?

Perhaps the name established, “teeth whitening strips”, is an injustice in describing just how effective these take home teeth whitening products are in promoting healthy white teeth. Many focus on the “whitening” part, as well they should, but tend to overlook how do-it-yourself (DIY) teeth whitening kits can actually reduce plaque on the teeth.

Other articles in the Bliss Oral Care archives have well established how important it is to follow good basic oral hygiene practices before trying to whiten teeth. Starting from a clean slate by visiting a dentist for a good deep clean can start one off with a clean canvas. This might better help gauge how well the DIY take home teeth whitening kits are protecting the teeth by reducing plaque and alleviating any tartar build up.

Plaque

 

We’ve all heard of it. Most simply assume that plaque is a mysterious staining by-product of food that somehow stays on our teeth. Some very few may understand that this staining is what causes discoloration and decay in our teeth. What is plaque? Can we get rid of it, and if so, how?

Plaque develops when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result.Oct 31, 2021”¹

Plaque actually attacks the teeth. It releases acids that remove the enamel on our teeth. If left unattended, plaque will cause cavities and gum disease.  Plaque will also harden and turn into tartar. Tartar can only be removed professionally.

Brushing and flossing multiple times a day reduces plaque. This is the simple yet fool proof way of keeping teeth clean, healthy, and whiter. Daily application of whitening strips will also help reduce plaque levels.  

Quality whitening strips contain ingredients that reduce plaque forming bacteria that buildup daily in the mouth. The combination of brushing, flossing, and whitening strip application is the optimum DIY method of not only whitening teeth - but keeping them healthy and plaque free.

Tartar

“What is tartar caused by?

This sticky film forms on teeth when bacteria in the mouth mix with sugary or starchy foods. Tooth brushing and flossing get rid of plaque. If you don't remove plaque, it hardens into tartar. Plaque can lead to cavities, gingivitis (gum disease) and tooth loss.”²

Plaque turns into tartar. Tartar is the hard and yellow or brown layer that forms above the gum lines. It is porous thus trapping staining bacteria and food particles. Tartar, the hardened plaque, is almost impossible to remove without the hassle of visiting a dentist.

That is a lot of time, money, and pain that could easily have been avoided. Though tartar is very difficult to remove, plaque is not. Brush often every day.  This removes plaque from the surfaces of our teeth. Floss often daily. This removes plaque from in between the teeth. Using a flossing wand  will help remove plaque from those hard to reach tight spots at the back of the mouth.

Teeth Whitening Kits: Do they Remove Plaque?

Plaque build up occurs every time we eat. It is amplified if and when one does not brush and floss properly. Healthy oral hygiene means cleaning or sanitizing ones’ mouth 2-3 times a day. Teeth whitening kits, gels, strips, flossing wands, mouth washes, and whitening pastes all help keep the mouth and teeth clean.

Whitening strips instructions recommend applying the strips over clean teeth. This organically forces one to brush and floss before applying them.  They inherently force us to keep good dental practices. Who wants to apply a whitening strip over teeth that have chunks of food still on them?

Removing plaque is a daily process that can be seen as a group effort. Different members of this group have different specific roles in how they help remove plaque from teeth. Brushing, flossing, and daily application of teeth whitening strips all help reduce plaque buildup - which negates the chance of tartar appearing on the teeth. Tartar is a main culprit in yellow/brown tooth discoloration.

Conclusion

Yes, teeth whitening strips will help reduce and remove plaque. Though use of whitening strips focuses on keeping the teeth white - one cannot, or should not, overlook the positive oral hygiene benefits that DIY teeth whitening strips provide.  

Teeth will be healthier and whiter. Regular daily use of teeth whitening strips forces one to also brush and floss before each application. This allows for maximising the whitening effects that teeth whitening strips provide, as well as combats any plaque build up, or discoloration that might occur with the advent of tartar.

 

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¹ https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/plaque-and-your-teeth
² https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10953-plaque