There’s no better feeling than showing off a beautiful, white smile. However, most people experience discoloration or darkening at some point. Many of them turn to over-the-counter whitening strips to remove these unwanted stains, but do those strips really work?
Teeth whitening isn’t a new idea. People have sought ways to brighten their smiles for centuries. Whitening is also one of the most common reasons patients search for Dential Services Near Me. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that over-the-counter strips became a household staple. It’s time to explore whether or not these strips are a good investment in a person’s overall oral health.
Are Whitening Strips Dangerous?
The active ingredient in most at-home whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide. Some also contain carbamide peroxide. Both of these chemicals are safe when used in low concentrations. Interestingly, these peroxides are also common ingredients in other whitening products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.
The peroxide levels in over-the-counter whitening kits aren’t strong enough to damage tooth enamel. However, some patients do report sensitivity for a few days following treatment. Discomfort is most common after using fast-acting or 24-hour strips. It’s possible to avoid sensitivity by reducing the frequency of use.
Do Patients Get Good Results?
Whitening strips are an at-home alternative for those looking for a brighter smile. In most cases, patients do get noticeable results. The strips work by removing surface stains caused by regular foods and beverages. Anything that touches a person’s teeth can cause staining. These over-the-counter treatments help reduce discoloration from drinking coffee, tea, red wine, or even smoking.
It’s important to note, however, that whitening strips aren’t effective on all types of stains. Some medications, such as tetracycline, actually penetrate the tooth enamel and leave behind a grayish cast. Since this type of discoloration isn’t due to surface staining, whitening strips won’t remove it. Instead, these patients much visit their dentist to have their teeth professionally restored.
How Long Will Teeth Stay White?
Depending on the kit, most whitening strips take about two weeks of application to see maximum results. After completing treatment, the results will slowly begin to fade. Teeth stay whiter for about three to four months before new surface stains become noticeable. Since over-the-counter strips aren’t harmful, many people choose to repeat the whitening course every couple of months.
There are ways to extend the time between treatments, however. Remembering to brush at least twice a day is the best way to remove surface stains before they set. Instead of using any generic toothpaste, look for one with active whitening ingredients. Those who struggle with sensitivity should also choose products with fluoride to help strengthen their tooth enamel. Visiting the dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning is another way to keep staining at bay.
Visit a Dentist for an Even Brighter Smile
Over-the-counter whitening strips are an effective way to brighten a person’s smile. These strips are easy to use, relatively affordable, and most people don’t have any adverse reactions to them. However, the whitening is only temporary. Those looking for lasting results should visit their dentist. Professional whitening treatments are more potent than anything available at the drug store.
Whitening strips can brighten a smile by three to six shades, but professional treatment can whiten up to 10 shades or more. Best of all, building a relationship with a local dentist will ensure your smile remains healthy and vibrant for a lifetime.