Many people wish that they had a whiter, brighter smile. In fact, 37 million Americans used some sort of teeth-whitening product in 2020 alone. While there are many different options when it comes to smile-whitening products, most are choosing the easier, cheaper, and more convenient option of over-the-counter whitening strips. However, some patients are wondering if these whitening strips may be doing more harm than good. Your dentist in Houston is here to talk about whether or not whitening strips weaken or damage teeth.
First, we need to take a look at how whitening strips work to brighten teeth. Whitening strips use an active ingredient that’s usually hydrogen peroxide or some sort of bleach. These ingredients are effective at removing surface stains from teeth. Patients will apply sticky strips coated with the active ingredient to their upper and lower teeth for a predetermined amount of time. Oftentimes, results can be seen in about two weeks. However, it’s important to know that whitening strips won’t touch any intrinsic staining that occurs below the surface of the enamel. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to see your dentist in Houston prior to trying to whiten your teeth on your own. If your tooth staining is deep, you will waste your time and money on trying to remove stains through whitening strips.
This isn’t an easy question to answer as it depends on a variety of things such as the type of strips you use and how often you use them. For example, whitening strips that contain the ingredient chlorine dioxide can absolutely destroy tooth enamel and cause more harm than good. Once tooth enamel is worn down, it can’t be restored. This may result in an increased risk of decay and other problems. Now, even if your strips don’t have chlorine dioxide, they can still cause damage. Your dentist in Houston encourages you to follow all instructions. Don’t use whitening strips more often than recommended and don’t leave them on your teeth for longer than the instructions say. This probably won’t result in whiter teeth faster, in fact, it will probably increase the risk of damage.
Now, even though most whitening strips can safely remove surface stains if the instructions are followed, side effects can still happen. The most common side effect of any smile whitening treatment is tooth sensitivity. This side effect can cause uncomfortable zings of pain or discomfort when eating or drinking something hot or cold.
When it comes to wanting whiter teeth, you’re not alone. But you don’t have to try and brighten your smile on your own either. Talk to your dentist about the look you’d like to achieve and discuss the best way to whiten your teeth in a safe and effective way.