If you want to whiten your teeth, there are so many toothpastes, gels, and whitening strips available on the market that it is if often hard to know which product to use. Whitening strips are a popular choice, but you should know how they work and what the benefits of the strips are before deciding to purchase them and use them on your teeth.
Strips vs. Gels and Toothpastes
- Whitening strips are easy to use and make no mess. The active ingredients on the strips can cause teeth sensitivity but this can be combated with restorative toothpaste.
- Gels must be left on the teeth with a holding tray for up to an hour. This can be quite uncomfortable and can also irritate the gums. The advantage is that gels may reach more areas of the teeth.
- Whitening toothpastes use abrasive agents such as hydrated silica and baking soda to scrape off the stains on the tooth enamel. The toothpastes do nothing to whiten the enamel itself, but can be used on a daily basis with no fear of side effects.
How Whitening Strips Work
All teeth whitening products are based on Hydrogen Peroxide, or on Carbamide Peroxide – which breaks down into Hydrogen Peroxide. The effectiveness of any product - whether it is a gel, toothpaste, or strips - depends on the concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide in the product. When whitening strips are applied to the teeth, the concentrated oxygen in Hydrogen Peroxide penetrates into the pores of your tooth enamel and breaks up the stains on your teeth.
Whitening strips will not whiten caps or crowns on your teeth and cannot easily treat gray stains caused by tetracycline.
Side Effects of Strips
Like all products containing Hydrogen Peroxide, whitening strips can cause gum irritation and teeth sensitivity. To minimize these side effects, you can:
- Take care that when applying the strips they don't come in direct contact with your gums.
- Use the strips only every other day, alternating with whitening toothpaste.
- Decrease the amount of time the strips are left on the teeth during each treatment.
- Brush daily with a toothpaste that minimizes sensitivity.
Using whitening strips at home won't make your smile so sparkling white that you'll be mistaken for a movie star, but you can be assured that the color of your teeth will be significantly whiter. Whitening strips are a relatively cheap, safe, and easy-to-use product if you want to experiment for the first time with trying to make your teach whiter. (For more information on professional whitening, contact Gentle Family Dentistry & Orthodontics)Share