Many people, including myself, wish that their smile was a little whiter and brighter and let’s be honest everybody is more confident when they show their pearly white. But are whitening strips bad for your teeth? People use whitening strips in hope that the staining that has built up over the years, from tea and coffee, will be reduced or even eliminated. Also as we age so do our teeth, often resulting in teeth that become a more yellow or brown colour so it is common for the older generation to want to use teeth whitening strips more than millennials. Although discouraging, discoloration of the teeth is normal and happens to us all.
Teeth whitening strips are touted as a low-cost, effective way of achieving this end goal and can be bought form most local shops such as Superdrug and Boots. There’s no doubt that they can work well, and they are certainly a better option than a random tooth-whitening kit of dubious origins bought online, but using strips has a few significant drawbacks that you need to be aware of. So here are some answers to the question, are whitening strips bad for your teeth?
How teeth whitening strips work:
Teeth whitening strips are made from a flexible plastic substance coated in a thin layer of whitening gel. The gel usually contains either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which helps to remove dirt and stains. When you apply the strips to your teeth, the gel is pressed against the surface and held in place. This allows the gel to penetrate the tooth and begin its lightening work. The strips are to be applied daily over a period of two to three weeks for maximum results.
So, are whitening strips bad for your teeth? Here’s what you should know:
1. Increased sensitivity
Teeth whitening strips are okay when used in moderation but if you use them too often you will increase your teeth’s sensitivity as you will slowly remove enamel.
2. They can cause gum problems
The bleaching agent in teeth whitening strips, while not as powerful as the ones dentists use, is still a harsh chemical which can damage the soft tissues of your gums. This means you need to make sure the whitening strips do not touch your gum and only touch your teeth.
3. The whitening strips don’t always leave an even whitening.
However carefully you place the strips, there are always going to be places where the strip isn’t in full contact with the tooth. If you apply them with careful application, you won’t leave the same spots uncovered each time, but over the course of a treatment any areas of your teeth that aren’t properly covered will not be as whitened. At best, this will give uneven results, but at worst you may be left with unsightly yellow edges to your teeth which are very noticeable.
4. Tooth loss
By using whitening strips you increase your risk of tooth decay and other problems which in the worst case could end in tooth loss. Never prolong the treatment longer than recommended, and be sure your teeth are in good condition with no cavities or gum disease before starting out. Remember to stick to the instructions on the box.
So yes teeth whitening is safe to use at home and yes you will achieve results but if you look after your teeth well and brush and use mouthwash you won’t even need whitening strips. Buy a good tooth paste and look after your teeth and you will be fine.
If you are still adamant you want to use whitening strips then remember these issues as they do come with complications and you don’t want to make your teeth worse. Better to have slightly off white teeth then to have sore gums or tooth loss.
So, there you have it! We hoped this helped answer your question on are whitening strips bad for your teeth? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments!
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Current University Graduate, Hampshire UK