If you’re like the thousands of people who have used whitening strips to whiten your teeth, you probably wonder if I leave my strips on longer, will my teeth whiten faster? Or how long can I leave white strips on my teeth?
Here’s what you need to know: how long to keep whitening strips on your teeth depends on the concentration and type of gel in that specific product line. It doesn’t matter which whitening brand it is. Every company, whether it’s BURST, Crest, Zoom, Opalescence, etc., has varying whitening gel concentration levels. You must follow the specific product’s instructions even if you’ve used a whitening strip under the same brand name in the past. They could be completely different. And if you don’t do it right, you’ll really regret it later.
How do Whitening Strips Work?
Typically, whitening strips use peroxide to whiten your teeth. Peroxide is a type of bleach. Most strips contain hydrogen peroxide, but some manufacturers may use carbamide peroxide.
The strips, which are made of plastic, have a thin layer of peroxide gel. When you apply the strips to your teeth, the bleach breaks apart the stains on your teeth. This reduces the concentration of stains, which makes your teeth look whiter.
How long should you use Whitening Strips?
How long can you leave whitening strips on your teeth? Does the duration of whitening strips time on teeth affect your results? Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on each specific line of whitening strips you’re using. Even if it’s the same brand, the concentration of gel (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) affects how long you can safely wear the strips. Wearing them too long or taking them off too soon can lead to significant side effects or poor results.
Depending on the product, you’ll likely have to wear the strips for 30 minutes once or twice daily. You may also need to repeat the process for 14 days.
Can Everyone Use Whitening Strips?
Generally, yes. But if you’re interested in using over-the-counter teeth whitening products like strips, talk to a dentist.
This is especially important if you have the following:
- gum disease
- tooth sensitivity
- canker sores
- cold sores
If you have any of these conditions, the ingredients in whitening products may cause discomfort.
Your dentist can determine if whitening strips are safe for you. If so, they can recommend the best options and explain how to use them. They may also suggest kinds of toothpaste and toothbrushes that are safe to use with whitening strips.
Side Effects of Whitening Strips
Though whitening strips are convenient, the ingredients can be harsh on your teeth and gums.
The side effects and their severity depend on several factors:
- the concentration of peroxide bleach
- other ingredients in the product
- how long you use the whitening strips
- your history of tooth sensitivity
It’s important to follow the instructions on the packaging and avoid wearing the strips longer than recommended.
This will help you avoid side effects such as:
The bleaching agents in whitening strips can make your teeth more sensitive. This occurs when peroxide passes through your enamel and reaches the dentin.
The dentin is the soft layer of tissue underneath the enamel. It consists of tubules, which communicate with the nerves in the tooth. If the peroxide enters the dentin, it can irritate the nerves and cause tooth sensitivity.
Having sensitive teeth involves pain and discomfort caused by various triggers, including:
- acidic foods and drinks
- hot or cold liquids
- cold air
Tooth sensitivity due to whitening strips may continue for several days. However, it’s usually temporary. If you develop this side effect, take a break from the strips before using them again.
The peroxide in whitening strips might also irritate your gums. Often, this happens if you use the strips for too long or wear them incorrectly.
Like tooth sensitivity, gum irritation can last a few days but is also temporary.
In some cases, whitening strips can cause tooth damage. The peroxide may destroy the layers of your teeth, causing demineralization and erosion. This is more likely to happen if you overuse whitening strips. Again, it’s best to avoid wearing whitening strips for too long.
Tips for Using Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips should be applied to the teeth daily. Do not skip a day! Continue to use your teeth whitening strips across the entire period noted in the instructions. In most cases, teeth whitening strips must be applied daily for at least two full weeks.
Brush Your Teeth Before Application
Use a wet toothbrush to brush your teeth before placing the whitening strips. Toothpaste is acceptable for use prior to the placement of teeth whitening strips, yet it is not absolutely necessary. Refrain from using toothpaste with fluoride before the application of the whitening strips, as it can cause the whitening agent to prove ineffective. The whitening agent is essential to beautifying your teeth. Once you brush your teeth, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water. Such brushing and rinsing help open pores in the teeth that must prove accessible for whitening.
Avoid Uneven Whitening
Teeth whitening strips must be placed on the teeth with precision. However, it is essential not to lose sight of the fact that teeth are hard to fully cover with two-dimensional teeth whitening strips. No matter how careful you are when applying these strips, there will always be teeth that are not fully covered. The portions of the teeth that are not covered will not be as white as other areas. So do not rush through the application process. Take your time and do your best to adequately protect the teeth to produce even whitening.
Use Teeth Whitening Strips in Moderation
These strips are indeed safe to use in moderation. However, overdoing it will cause the teeth to be sensitive. If the strips are applied at an especially high frequency, they might cause permanent damage. The strips can erode the protective enamel layer due to overexposure to the whitening agent. The result could be tooth loss.
Avoid Contact With the Gums
Teeth whitening strips have a bleaching agent that is not as powerful as the variety used by dentists, yet this agent still has the potential to damage the gums’ soft tissue. The whitening strip mustn’t touch the gums. If necessary, cut the strips with scissors, so they serve as an aesthetic match with the shape of your teeth.
Do Not Consume Dark Food or Beverages After Whitening
Give your teeth some time after the teeth whitening strips are applied to close their pores. These pores will be open for a couple of hours after the strips are applied, making the teeth that much more likely to stain if contacted with foods and beverages of dark hues. Do not consume any dark-coloured food or beverages such as chocolate, coffee, soda, berries, and wine until later in the day or evening.
Whitening your teeth is like baking cookies. They’re the same in that different ingredients call for different timeframes. You will not get the desired results if you don’t follow the whitening strip time directions properly. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on that specific line of whitening products, as they can significantly vary from one brand’s development to the next. Your dentist can give you the best recommendations on whitening strips based on your unique smile’s characteristics.