August 22, 2021 by Dr. Abhi Singh

Do Whitening Strips Work?

Whitening strips are a popular alternative to professional whitening treatments. They’re affordable and convenient, but do they work? 

Whitening strips have been around for a long time now, and they are still popular today. They are a quick fix for people who want brighter teeth. However, they’re not the best way to go about it, but they can get the job done in a pinch. 

If they work, yes, they do, but it depends on your situation and expectations. If you’re looking for dramatic results and want to be able to see a difference in just one use, then no. However, if your goal is more long-term, like less than a year and gradual improvement, then yes, they can help. 

In this blog post, we will explore how effective whitening strips are and share some of the things you should know about these strips before trying them out for yourself.

What Are Whitening Strips?

Whitening strips are thin pieces of pliable plastic that adhere to teeth. They contain a low concentration of bleaching agents, usually hydrogen peroxide gel released by the strip. Then, over time, this ingredient permeates through the enamel of teeth to whiten them. However, do not expect dramatic results. Moreover, these products can be worn for several days at a time, depending on their instructions. Some even claim to work after just a single-use.

The amount of active whitening ingredients in these strips vary. Still, because they are often applied more than once daily, one would have to consider how many bleaching ingredients are being introduced into your oral cavity each day when gauging their effectiveness.

How Do They Whiten Stained Teeth?

Whitening strips contain a thin layer of hydrogen peroxide or other active ingredients, adhered to a flexible, plastic strip. The active ingredients in whitening strips vary, but many use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

However, it is essential to note that at-home whitening strips contain lower concentrations of whitening agents than dentist-supplied products. People with heavily stained teeth or high expectations may not get the results they want using OTC whitening kits.

In addition, tooth whitening strips may not work as well for everyone. It relies on the strength of the chemicals and how long they remain on the teeth. Evidence suggests that using too many teeth whitening products containing hydrogen peroxide can jeopardize tooth health. Therefore, it is recommended to discuss the use of these products with a dental professional.

Additionally, white strips work best on extrinsic stains, those which are caused by highly pigmented foods and beverages such as coffee, soda, and red wine. Though smoking can cause extrinsic staining, whitening strips and other over-the-counter tooth products won’t remove deep tooth stains. The best way for smokers to deal with this issue is by having a professional whitening procedure.

Moreover, whitening strips may be best used when you’re trying to make a minor touch-up to your teeth colour.

However, aging, trauma, and infection can cause intrinsic staining, which goes deeper than the enamel. Thus, the yellow teeth could not be whitened by using white strips. An in-chair whitening procedure has to be performed.

Average Cost of Whitening Strips in Australia

Perfect Whitening Strips – luxe twin set ($104)

It is made in Australia, and each box contains 56 strips for 28 applications. Also included in the kit are a mirror, a luxury box, and an LED light. Moreover, it is best to use a light when bleaching teeth to improve the efficacy of tooth whitening.

Crest Whitestrips 

Crest is a trusted brand when it comes to whitening strips. They have a variety of whitening strips and inclusions you can choose from. The price of their basic ones starts at 10 strips at $29.90 and 40 strips at $91.90, so there’s a wide choice of Crest whitening strips for your needs. A kit with a handheld LED light to lift surface stains quickly is also available for $169.90. Whatever your budget may be, they have something for you.

Oral-B 3D White Whitestrips 28 Pack ($44.99)

Oral-B claims that you will start to see results in 5 days. Moreover, people who did the 28-day complete treatment claimed to notice significant whitening in their teeth. The kit also provides extra strips suitable for seven days’ worth of treatment.

CleverWhite Dissolving Whitening Strips ($26.95)

It is the most affordable on the list and is a good option for those who want to try at-home teeth whitening for the first time. Each box contains 42 strips for 21 applications. As these strips dissolve in the mouth, there’s no need to keep track of the time when wearing them. Additionally, aside from having whiter teeth, they also give you fresher breath.

Ingredients of Teeth Whitening Strips

Tooth whitening products, such as home whitening strips, typically contain a low percentage of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, used for bleaching teeth stains. However, some brands contain chlorine dioxide that is used as an alternative to the common whitening agents.

While chlorination is traditionally seen as a safer and more effective alternative, there are some risks involved with using chlorine dioxide for tooth whitening. There are debates about its safety with flaws that may result in stripping your tooth enamel and making your teeth vulnerable to staining again and becoming very sensitive. Therefore, always make sure you check the list of ingredients before using one. 

How Long Does It Take to See the Results?

The available whitening strips are varied. Each brand has instructions of its own; be sure to read the packaging for correct usage.

Usually, you can whiten your teeth by using whitening strips twice per day for two weeks. You typically leave them on the tooth surface for 30 minutes each time.

According to some sources, lightening the colour of your teeth can happen in as little as one week. However, other products may only require a single application per day but can still deliver the same results.

For the best results, it’s essential to follow the instructions carefully when using these products.On average, you will see a difference in their teeth after about three weeks. Still, it can take up to 8 weeks for some people to see a noticeable difference. 

Side Effects of Whitening Strips

  • There are safety issues with tooth whitening, such as tooth sensitivity and gum tissue irritation, which are common side effects caused by tooth whitening systems. However, they’re less likely to happen with the use of over-the-counter bleaching kits than with in-chair dental procedures.
  • Whitening strips can be effective, but their overuse may have adverse effects on your teeth as it may lead to enamel erosion.
  • They are not always the optimal solution for achieving a whiter smile. There is no specific number of whitening sessions that will work for everyone. Some people may need to do more than others to achieve their desired results.
  • One disadvantage to using these strips is that they can be tricky to keep in place. They are often complicated, which may make them less than ideal for some people.
  • Whitening sessions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, but they’re worth the time and patience.

Risks of Whitening Strips

  • Medications used to whiten teeth and make them appear brighter cause tooth sensitivity and irritate the soft tissue. These symptoms are usually minor in severity; however, sometimes they worsen and cause dental pain.
  • Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation may start during the treatment and last for two or three days. Even if you have very healthy teeth, when you use high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in the whitener and leave it on for an extended period of time, it could have harmful effects on your mouth.
  • Using too much hydrogen peroxide can harm your teeth and make them more prone to demineralization, which is the decline of calcium and other minerals in your teeth.
  • Studies have stated that applying 35% carbamide peroxide results in structural damage to the enamel due to dental erosion. Moreover, tooth-bleaching procedures only work on natural teeth; hence, they won’t work on existing fillings and tooth replacements.

Final Thoughts

The efficacy of whitening strips is a hotly debated subject. Some say they work, while others argue that the results are temporary and unreliable. It is essential to understand that not all teeth whitening strips are the same. Some may work better for you than others. Some might be unsafe or unhealthy for your mouth, so it’s best to consult a dentist before using any product, especially if you have sensitive teeth. 

The bottom line is that whitening strips work, but they’re not as effective as professional teeth-whitening treatments. If you want to maintain a brighter smile and improve your self-esteem, we can help! We offer affordable dental services in Byford, including cosmetic dentistry. Don’t hesitate to call us today at 08 9532 0247 for more information or if you have any questions about how to have a white smile.

AboutDr. Abhi Singh
Dr Abhi is a member of the Australian Dental Association and loves living and working in our community. He has over a decade of experience in all aspects of dentistry with a special interest in implants, wisdom teeth removal and cosmetic dentistry.