Whitening strips can be a relatively quick and easy fix to achieve the whiter and brighter smile we all long for when we look in the mirror. But are the ingredients and procedures safe for the teeth and gums?
Finding a happy medium with teeth whitening strips
Just like a lot of cosmetic procedures, teeth whitening strips need to be used in moderation in order to be not only effective but safe for the teeth and gums.
Excessive application of a whitening product containing unnatural chemicals and sometimes hydrogen peroxide can obviously cause damage to your dental health over time due to repetitive exposure. Health is all about moderation, and your teeth are no different!
In terms of your teeth, applying chemicals commonly found in tooth whitening strips such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide can cause sensitivity in the long run.
Generally speaking, reputable companies producing branded whitening strips, such as the world-renowned Crest Whitening Strips, recommend using the strips for no longer than 30 minutes daily over the 14 day course.
Plus, they suggest only doing this once or twice per year to avoid more dangerous implications such as erosion of enamel, which can lead to pain, temperature sensitivity and of course an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities due to this lack of protection.
Lay a good foundation!
The gums are the foundations of your teeth, so don’t forget about them!
You may recall the fun fact about tooth enamel being the hardest substance in the whole body – even stronger than bone. This resilience is down to the 96% of minerals that make up every single tooth’s outer layer.
However, the same can’t be said for our gums and oral skin tissues. Gums are made of mucous membranes and are therefore naturally delicate and sensitive. The bleaching agents previously mentioned can cause pain, redness and even burns when applied to the gums incorrectly.
Avoidance of this can be attempted by trimming the soft plastic of the whitening strip in order to fit your teeth more appropriately, and ensure that as little gum surface as possible is exposed to these irritating ingredients.
A rough patch
Despite the fact that the only real benefits to using whitening strips are for cosmetic purposes, in the worst-case scenario whitening products can cause patchy and uneven results if you accidentally miss the same areas a few times consecutively.
This can happen due to whitening strips being made of plastic which cannot lay fully flat along the teeth, as well as the fact that the thinner edges of the teeth are more susceptible to whitening products as the bleach is able to penetrate the enamel faster.
These issues can be prevented by avoiding the consumption of coffee, red wine, cigarettes and alcohol straight after the procedure. This is because the teeth are more porous for a short while after whitening, so potential stains will develop a lot more easily, and once again any areas accidentally missed may come up patchy.
As well as this, using custom, dentist-approved whitening trays can help ensure a more even application. Most importantly, always ensure you consult your dentist first if you have any doubts or queries regarding a new product!
Want to see how truly white your smile can be? Our camera scan feature, whiteness and health scores can help you keep track of how bright your smile is and offer recommendations on how you can further improve the overall health of your smile.