Are Teeth Whitening Strips Safe: Know Your Way to a Brighter Smile!
Basically, teeth whitening is the process of using bleach to eliminate extrinsic and intrinsic stains. The former is those caused by exposure to cigarettes, colored drinks, and food. While the latter is those caused by medications, aging, teeth trauma, and too much use of fluoride over time. Thanks to technology there are now a lot of teeth whitening products, such as the whitening strips, that we can use to achieve that dazzling smile! But some people can’t help but wonder, “Are teeth whitening strips safe?”
Before we answer this, let us list down some causes of teeth discolorations.
Different Causes of Teeth Discoloration
- Poor Dental Hygiene
Not enough brushing and flossing of teeth as well as not using antiseptic mouthwash to remove plaque and food and drink substances can cause teeth discoloration. However, mouthwashes with cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine, which are recommended for those recovering from gum disease treatments, may also cause teeth stains.
- Cigarette and Tobacco Smoking
It’s the tar and nicotine we get from the cigarettes that stain our teeth. If you quit smoking, then it will prevent the build-up from getting worse.
- Some Food and Drinks
The sugar, acid, and tannin content of some of our favorite drinks like coffee, teas, and wines leave marks on our teeth. Some of our favorite refreshments like orange and pineapple juice have acid content that can affect the quality of teeth enamel and make it more prone to tooth discoloration and decay.
Tip: Use a straw, as much as possible, to prevent these stain-causing beverages from coming into contact with the surface of your teeth.
The enamel that covers our teeth gets thinner as we age, revealing the real color of our dentin, which is yellowish.
Some antibiotics such as the tetracycline and doxycycline can discolor teeth when given to kids with developing teeth. Antipsychotic drugs, medicines for high blood pressure, and antihistamines can also cause teeth discoloration.
Now that we know some of the causes of teeth discoloration let us take a closer look one of the most common ways to get back our pearly whites!
What Are Teeth Whitening Strips?
Most likely, we’ve either heard about teeth whitening strips from our dentists or some random advertisements. But what is a whitening strip and how does it work?
Whitening strips are small sheets of elastic plastic called polyethylene. It is usually coated in a thin layer of hydrogen or peroxide-based gel. It is one of the easiest to use, most convenient, and most affordable remedies to teeth stains. Its effect can last from one to six months, depending on your lifestyle and habits.
However, you should know that whitening strips only work on the teeth’s natural enamel. This means that it is not effective on dentures, fillings, crowns or any other artificial teeth materials.
How to Use Teeth Whitening Strips?
Step 1: Brush your teeth.
It is highly advisable that you brush your teeth first before application to ensure its effectiveness.
Step 2: Stick it on
Align the gel-type strip with your gum line, press firmly against teeth from front to back. Additionally, make sure you use enough strips to cover your entire tooth surface to even whitening.
Step 3: Keep it on
Usually, it should sit on your teeth for 30 minutes. However, it is wise to follow the instructions that come with the packaging.
Step 4: Peel it off slowly.
Slowly remove the strips off of your teeth.
Step 5: Rinse your mouth well
Make sure there is no gel or any trace of the strips left on your teeth.
Note: Instructions may vary depending on the brands. Thus, ALWAYS read the instructions before use.
Alternative and Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies
As mentioned, teeth whitening is the most cost-effective and least invasive procedure to get that pearly white smile. However, according to the American Dental Association or ADA, these methods are not without contingencies.
It is only but right not to expect instant results from teeth whitening products. When you are in doubt or are afraid of using whitening strips or taking invasive teeth whitening procedures, alternative and natural ways are available. In fact, some of these ingredients are easily found in your kitchen!
- Baking soda
Use baking soda as your toothpaste. It helps prevent bacteria from growing, and it has natural whitening properties.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
It has acetic acid that breaks down plaque and stains on teeth. It also contains minerals, probiotics, and enzymes which can kill germs and bacteria in your mouth.
Swish a mouthful of apple cider vinegar in your mouth like that of mouthwash for two minutes. Then, brush your teeth using your toothbrush that was dipped in apple cider vinegar to help remove stains. Rinse with water then brush with regular toothpaste.
The malic acid found in strawberries can remove discoloration on teeth.
Simply mix fresh strawberries and half a teaspoon of baking soda until well blended. Brush the mixture on your teeth and let it sit for five minutes. Rinse with water and brush with regular toothpaste.
- Turmeric Powder
It is a gentle abrasive that is naturally antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, making it a great choice for natural dental care.
Just mix a teaspoon of organic turmeric powder with a bit of water to create a thin paste. Apply it to the teeth using a soft toothbrush and leave for two minutes. Rinse with water and brush with your regular toothpaste.
Are Teeth Whitening Strips Safe?
The ADA does not fully support all over-the-counter whitening products. So, are teeth whitening strips safe?
Most teeth whitening strips are safe. However, you must be aware not to use those that contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine dioxide. This whitens your teeth by eating away at the surface of your teeth enamel, which is one of the four major tissues of a human tooth. It is also the same acid that is used to disinfect swimming pools! Remember, when whitening your teeth, it is crucial only to use products that are made specifically for teeth.
Additionally, take time to read and understand the instructions or manuals that come with these products. Teeth whitening strips can only be harmful when misused. Hence, it is wise to consult your dentist first before trying any teeth whitening product.