White strips actually do work, they’re just not the most effective way to whiten your teeth. Here’s a little about how they work, how to use them safely, and what you should know before trying them.
What are white strips?
White strips for teeth are small pieces of a flexible polyethylene, a type of plastic. Each white strip is coated with a gel that contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to help remove stains from the surface of teeth.
White strips are applied to the fronts of the teeth, and molded to fit their shape. You use one strip on the top, and one on the bottom. The whitening peroxide gel seeps into the teeth in order to lighten them.
Do white strips work?
Yes, white strips do work, but not as well as you may hope. The concentration of whitening ingredients in white strips is quite low. They will help remove surface stains and make your teeth somewhat whiter over time, but they are not as effective as professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office. The whitening solutions used by dental professionals have much higher concentrations of bleaching ingredients.
Problems with White Strips
Besides not being very effective, white strips can pose problems for some users.
White strips can cause a chemical reaction with your gums, resulting to damage to the tissues. It's important not to let the white strips touch your gums when you apply them.
Another problem with white strips is that they have only a minimal effect on the in-between spaces or the curved bottoms of teeth. As such, you can end up with the centre of the tooth being whiter than the edges.
It’s easy to overdo it with white strips and damage your teeth without a dentist to monitor your whitening treatment. Teeth aren’t like hair and nails; once your teeth are damaged, they’re damaged for good.
Note that making mistakes with white strips could cause you to experience shooting pains in your teeth, or make you sensitive to certain foods. Over-whitening can also cause enamel to soften and the teeth to turn an odd greyish colour, so be sure to exercise caution.