Can Whitening Strips be Dangerous?

whitening strips

Do you get jealous of the bright, white smiles of others? Are you wondering how you can get those beautiful smiles you see on TV? Before you reach for whitening strips, read this.

Why Whiten? 

Why not? Who doesn’t want a brighter, whiter smile? A bright white smile is attractive and tells others that you have a healthy mouth and take care of your teeth. It also makes you look younger.

Whitening strips work by removing stains from the surface of your tooth enamel. These strips became popular in the last few decades, along with whitening toothpaste and mouth rinses. 

But is getting a white smile really worth the risk of damage to your teeth by using over-the-counter products that contain harsh chemicals and abrasives? And what about the long-term effects of using them?

What Are Whitening Strips?

Whitening strips are made from a special plastic or paper that is applied directly to your tooth enamel. They work by absorbing hydrogen peroxide, which then breaks down into water and oxygen. The oxygen in the air reacts with the hydrogen peroxide to produce heat. This causes your teeth to redden as they release their natural color.

How Do They Work?

You apply the strip to your teeth and leave it there for 30 minutes to one hour. Then you brush your teeth normally. Afterward, your teeth will appear lighter because the strip absorbed some of the hydrogen peroxide.

The Problem with Whitening Strips

Overuse of over-the-counter whitening strips can cause tooth enamel sensitivity and gum irritation, which may be permanent in some cases.

Additionally, research presented at the 2019 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida, revealed that the peroxide found in over-the-counter whitening products you can find at any drugstore, supermarket or online can damage not only your tooth enamel, but also the layer below the enamel, the dentin. 

The dentin layer of your tooth contains nerve endings that send signals to your brain when you feel pain. When you use whitening strips, the peroxide penetrates deep into the dentin and damages the nerves.

In addition, many whitening strips contain ingredients that irritate your gums. These include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), an ingredient commonly used in shampoos and other household cleaning products. SLS dries out your skin and mucous membranes, causing redness and inflammation as well. 

Got Sensitive Teeth?

The signs of tooth sensitivity include: 

  • Pain when eating hot foods or drinking cold liquids
  • Sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Toothaches

The signs of gum irritation include:

  • Swelling around the gum line
  • Bleeding after brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Gum recession (when the gum tissue recedes)

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the strips immediately and consult us as soon as possible. 

How to Whiten Teeth Safely? 

Whiten your teeth with us! We provide safe, effective treatments at affordable prices right here in our office. Our in-office dental whitening can lighten up your teeth safely and comfortably in just one visit. 

Can Tooth Whitening Be Combined With Other Treatments? 

Yes. In fact, we often combine whitening procedures with other cosmetic services such as veneers, crowns and dental implants to help patients achieve their smile goals. 

The Power of a Beautiful Smile

A beautiful smile is one of the most attractive things we can have. We all want to look our best and have that perfect smile. Unfortunately, we don’t always feel like smiling because it hurts or we don’t have white teeth. If you struggle with finding a way to smile more often, here are some tips to help.

1. Start With a Healthy Diet

Your diet affects how healthy your mouth is. A balanced diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products. Eating a variety of foods helps keep your body strong and healthy.

2. Get Regular Dental Checkups

Having regular checkups will ensure that your oral health stays on track. At each appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums, clean them thoroughly, and apply fluoride if needed. This will prevent cavities from forming and reduce plaque buildup, which causes tooth decay.

3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing regularly will keep your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and flossing once daily will remove food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and under your gum line. Make sure to brush your tongue too.

Learn more about our in-office tooth whitening and how we can help you get a gorgeous, brighter smile without putting your teeth at risk of damage.