There seems to be dozens of different ways to whiten your teeth these days. Some include rather unappealing natural remedies that are best avoided.
If you want to avoid swilling your mouth with baking soda, or sucking on a lemon, teeth whitening strips might be the solution you’ve been waiting for.
Let’s take a look why teeth whitening strips are better than the alternatives available in the marketplace at large. First of all, they’re relatively inexpensive – even if you’re just trying them out of curiosity. Would you really want to pay hundreds of dollars for a treatment in a professional salon, only to be disappointed with the results?
Even most other over-the-counter solutions can prove ineffective, and cause severe damage to your teeth that’s not easy to repair. As an example, let’s see what medical experts have to say about whitening toothpastes.
Not only are they widely deemed to be inconsistent, but they’ll never offer a permanent solution to whiter teeth. Many of them also contain strong chemicals that you’ll end up being exposed to day after day – potentially for years if you’re loyal to brands.
The American Dental Association has recommended the use of some whitening toothpastes by providing a “seal of approval” after rigorous testing. But according to other doctors, your teeth only seem brighter because levels of enamel are being eroded.
Whitening strips often include an ingredient which toothpastes can only contain in trace amounts for safety reasons – and that’s hydrogen peroxide.
In short, this means that your teeth will lose a protective layer over time – and eventually, their shine will disappear. Plus, in extreme cases, it’s possible that enamel will disappear altogether, which ultimately makes your teeth more susceptible to being stained easily.
Whitening strips often include an ingredient which toothpastes can only contain in trace amounts for safety reasons – and that’s hydrogen peroxide. Even though your favorite brand of toothpaste may boast of having this active ingredient, it will prove to be ineffective.
Instead of being applied to a targeted area – like whitening strips do – such pastes work across the mouth, and also come into contact with your gums. Worse still, you might end up swallowing your toothpaste in considerable quantities – making the most effective chemicals for teeth whitening incompatible with products of this nature.
Whitening Strips Selection Criteria
If you’re looking for lasting effects, purchasing a treatment pack of strips comes recommended. Normally, brands recommend that you use them once or twice a day – for anywhere up to an hour. With consistent use, it’s easy to notice dazzling effects in no time. Even better, most companies offer a complementary shade guide so you can track your progress.
The only thing to watch out for is teeth sensitivity. According to research, up to half of customers who use strips will experience this at some point, often mildly, even if they haven’t encountered this problem before.
One way to balance out the impact of the strips could be by using a toothpaste which helps to desensitize your teeth.
To get scientific, this is because the strips contain hydrogen peroxide – the active ingredient responsible for whitening the teeth. In some cases, it can cause the delicate nerves found within your tooth to suffer inflammation. If this is encountered, you might want to use strips more infrequently, or consider a lower dosage.
The most discomfort from sensitivity comes when you’re enjoying food and liquids which are quite cold. It’s also noticeable when your palette experiences a contrast between hot and cold in a short space of time. Indeed, you may find that the sensation gradually ebbs away as you become accustomed to the procedure.
One way to balance out the impact of the strips could be by using a toothpaste which helps to desensitize your teeth. As it stands, it’s often recommended that you brush and floss after a treatment anyway. The key component within most of these products is known as potassium nitrate.
Another top tip – especially if this is your first time using whitening strips on a daily basis – is to prepare for sensitivity in advance.
You can do this by beginning to use desensitizing toothpastes in the fortnight before you intend to commence using strips. That way, your teeth will gain some resilience before the cosmetics get underway.
As ever, consult your dentist for recommendations on the best toothpastes and strips to use based on your dental health at present.
You would be cautious when it comes to the ingredients found in food, drink and prescription medication, and the same should apply with teeth whitening strips. Across the vast majority of products, you’ll find the active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide – but the thing you need to look out for is the percentage, as this indicates how strong the gel on the strips will be.
Another common name for the main chemical in strips is known as carbamide peroxide, which includes hydrogen peroxide in a more diluted fashion. If the percentages are lower, there’s less chance you’ll encounter bleeding and swelling. White spots can also appear on the gums, but these generally disappear within 48 hours.
The stuff that dentists use does tend to be stronger, but bear in mind that this is because you’re in a controlled environment under medical supervision.
The stuff that dentists use does tend to be stronger, but bear in mind that this is because you’re in a controlled environment under medical supervision. At-home treatments will work noticeably and to your satisfaction, but perhaps to a marginally lesser extent.
More advanced brands – to their benefit – do include ingredients which try to alleviate the levels of sensitivity you may experience. Check the label to see whether the product you’re interested in is among them. Even if such ingredients aren’t included, wearing a gentle strip for longer will cause less abrasion.
Let’s delve into some of the other ingredients which are included for practical reasons. The first is water, which helps to ensure that your teeth don’t become dehydrated during each daily treatment.
Next, there’s glycerin, which is completely safe and works to make the gel thicker. Without it, you’d find the strips continually fall off and need to be readjusted.
Others which could be included are acrylates copolymer. This ensures that the strips on your lower and upper sets of teeth don’t disintegrate while they’re in your mouth.
Finally, you may come across sodium saccharin when you’re reading the label. All this does is ensure that the strips don’t taste rancid, but rather pleasant for the half-hour you use them each day.
Removes tough stains
Unfortunately, some of the most pleasurable things in life can be extremely damaging to our teeth when it comes to stubborn stains. Let’s take your morning coffee, for example.
Especially if you don’t use milk, the tannins found with your hot beverage can accrue on your tooth enamel over time, causing them to yellow and look rather unsightly.
Some brands claim that they can remove up to 90% of these stains – but you need to remember that using intensive tooth whiteners, or ordinary strips to a considerable extent, could cause enamel to erode, meaning that coffee stains will appear even faster in the future. This sends you into a rather vicious cycle that’s best avoided.
There are practical tips for oral hygiene that should be used in tandem with teeth whitening strips.
There are practical tips for oral hygiene that should be used in tandem with teeth whitening strips. Despite how great these products are, we often lose sight of how they need to be part of a rigorous dental regime that also includes brushing and flossing, along with visiting a dentist regularly.
After you’ve enjoyed a coffee, right down to the bottom of the cup, consider giving your teeth a brief brush – or better still – swilling some water around your mouth. This can go a long way to preventing tannins from building up, and it means you won’t have to use intensive strips in the future.
Many products also pledge that they can remove tobacco stains – and these can prove to be the most stubborn of all in budging. You should exercise patience when relying on teeth whitening strips to eliminate such stains, as it can take several courses of treatments to see the results you crave.
Some strips available to buy are particularly nifty in how they dissolve from the teeth afterwards, helping to prevent the mess and residue that’s sometimes associated with these products.
However, don’t forget that it’s still best practice to embark on regimen of brushing and flossing your teeth once every treatment is over, as this will stop your gums from flaring up and causing discomfort for the rest of the day.
Made in USA
Now, we’re going to explore why purchasing teeth whitening strips that have been manufactured in America is a smart move – not just to ensure you get the best results, but also for peace of mind that the product is safe.
Despite popular belief, strips are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration – which is often known as the FDA. That’s because they don’t count as a form of medicine, but rather a cosmetic product.
If you’re looking for some “seal of approval,” you should pay attention to what the American Dental Association has to say. However, bear in mind that they do not have the legal power to assess every teeth whitening product on the market, nor do manufacturers need to present their goods for exhaustive testing.
Just because the proportion of hydrogen peroxide is this high does not mean the product is unsafe by any stretch of the imagination, as otherwise it would not be on the shelves.
In fact, the ADA had requested that the FDA weighs in on the issue of over-the-counter teeth whitening products some six years ago – but the administration refused to participate in regulation because there was insufficient data to corroborate their case.
According to ADA standards, the maximum level of carbamide peroxide that can be added to a treatment – which as we know contains diluted levels of hydrogen peroxide – is about 10%. This amounts to roughly 3.5% of hydrogen peroxide. To put it in context, some teeth whitening strips offer more than 10% hydrogen peroxide in its purest form.
However, just because the proportion of hydrogen peroxide is this high does not mean the product is unsafe by any stretch of the imagination, as otherwise it would not be on the shelves.
Just try to check whether or not the strips can be molded around the contours of your teeth, as this helps to guarantee that the chemicals don’t end up seeping into places they shouldn’t.
The American Dental Association has issued plenty of advice on how to make sure that you go about getting your teeth whitened in the safest way possible. They say cases of tooth damage are exceedingly remote from using strips sensibly – and that it’s absolutely OK once you’ve had a chat with your dentist.
Last but by no means least, you’ll want to check the criterion for fast whitening from any strips you’ve got your eye on.
This is especially true if you’re looking for a quick fix before a romantic dinner, a big business event, or a family photograph. Some brands claim they can make a seismic difference in your teeth’s whiteness in the space of just 60 minutes, “removing years of stains.”
Of course, in terms of speediness, you might just be looking for strips which don’t have to be worn for ages each and every day. In this case, you should look for products which dissolve quickly and safely in the mouth within about 10 minutes. With a minty taste, they also help to eliminate bad breath.
A good way to judge whether a brand of strips acts fast is to see how many individual treatments are inside the box.
Many consumers like such products as they’re gentle and unlikely to cause irritation over the course of a fortnight.
A good way to judge whether a brand of strips acts fast is to see how many individual treatments are inside the box.
Naturally, if there are just 10 treatments to buy – with two strips for your upper and lower teeth in the process – it indicates that just one purchase will be enough for a dazzling smile in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, if you’re buying 28 treatments at once, a little patience might be required.
Other manufacturers use novel gimmicks to give you the reassurance that results will be seen in a short space of time. They do this by enlisting the help of a trusty shade guide. One brand claims that within seven days, your teeth will be seven shades lighter – and includes a guide for your reference.
These days, many companies are also positioning their strips as a teeth whitening product that’s just as effective as going to the dentist for a professional treatment. As such, they can include a premium on the price. When compared to a dentist, strips are less likely to be the fastest option, and that’s merely because they can’t use chemicals to the same strength as a medical professional can. However, time is money – and given how strips are such a small investment, they’re a great course of action to give a go.
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