Whitening Strips. Do They Really Work?

Whitening Strips. Do They Really Work?

Whitening strips are always a tempting option when you are looking for just a little more shine in your smile. But are they really worth the cost and time? This has been debated often because some people seem to have amazing results and others seem to not notice a difference at all. So are they a scam? Or a quick easy fix?

How They Work

Let’s first go over whitening strips work chemically. The actual strips are usually made out of polyethylene, and the gel that goes on the strips are usually made of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. According to Humana, the process of whitening teeth is similar to bleaching clothes. The peroxide on the strips bleaches or whitens your teeth as it sits in contact with it. The longer you leave it on, the longer it usually will bleach your teeth for.

Pros of Whitening Strips

  • Less Expensive and Faster
    • The main reason that most people choose to use whitening strips instead of having their teeth whitened professionally is that it is significantly cheaper. Having it done professionally will cost you a lot more money and time. Most of the time it requires a consultation appointment, a couple more application appointments, and some follow up appointments. Because of this, a lot of people choose to whiten at home at their own convenience.
  • Simplicity
    • Practically anyone can use whitening strips because they are made to be very simple and convenient. You can put them on while watching a movie at home, or while doing your hair in the morning. Most people have 15 minutes to spare in their day to apply the strips. Which makes them a much better option for a lot of busy people.


Cons of Whitening Strips

  • Spots
    • The whitening strips are 2D and your teeth are 3D. This can cause the whitening to be uneven because the strips are only touching the top of your teeth. So the quality of the strips you purchase can make a big difference.  
  • Gum Damage
    • The gums are a lot more sensitive than the teeth and the chemicals that are used to whiten teeth are too harsh for the gums to endure. To preserve your gums it is best to brush your teeth before you whiten them and then wait at least 30 minutes. Then when you are whitening, make sure to not let the strips touch or rest on your gums at all. Some strips will need to be folded or cut to achieve this more easily.

          So through all of this we still have the question, do they really work? And the answer is, it depends. If you are looking to brighten your smile just a little, then whitening strips will most likely be a good option for you. But on the flip side, you get what you pay for. Getting your teeth whitened professionally will cost a lot more time and money but they will also show night and day results. It really depends on 1) what your goal is 2) how much you are wanting to spend and 3) what your gum health and teeth history is. If you have had problems with your gum or teeth enamel in the past, I would stay away from whitening strips unless cleared by your doctor.

          A good option for those who are wanting something in between professional whitening and over the counter whitening strips are whitening trays. These are normally made by a dentist by creating a mold of your mouth and then making trays that look similar to Invisalign. The gel is normally the same or of similar composition and a small dot of the gel is placed on each tooth mold. These are more expensive than whitening strips but also a lot cheaper than professional whitening. The risks associated with these trays also decline immensely. Because the trays are fit to your teeth specifically, there is less chance of getting any gel on your gum or other parts of your mouth.

          So all in all, if you are just looking for a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix to give your teeth a little more glow, and you haven’t had any gum or enamel issues, then whitening strips are a perfect option for you! If that’s not quite what you are looking for then you might want to skip the strips and find an option that suits you better.

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