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Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?

Excerpt: Teeth-whitening strips are an at-home alternative for whitening your teeth. They ...
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Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure for teeth that enhance a tooths shade for a more aesthetic, whiter appearence.

What Are Teeth Whitening Strips?

Teeth-whitening strips are an at-home alternative for whitening your teeth. They are made of flexible plastic which is temporarily bonded to the teeth. The main whitening agent in whitening strips is usually one of two options, hydrogen peroxide, or carbamide peroxide. Both of these whitening agents have been approved by the Food And Drug Administration (FDA) for use.

There are also natural teeth whitening strips that use essential oils to whiten teeth. These products are considered safe to use at all, but they are not as effective as their non-natural counterparts.

Do White Strips Actually Work Though?

Yes, they do! This study used Crest Whitestrips Supreme for 30 minutes twice a day for 6 weeks, and the result was a “highly-significant” difference in the participant’s smile, even when compared to a placebo. However, clinical trials are often “best-case scenarios”, the overall effectiveness of a whitening product will depend on the customer’s adherence to the proper usage of the whitestrip.

There are quite a few effective products out there, some of the products that have been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) for effective and safe use include:

  • Crest 3D White Whitestrips (Glamorous White, Vivid White, Brilliance White)
  • Crest 3D Whitestrips Classic Vivid
  • Crest 3D Whitestrips Gentle (Sensitive White, Vivid White Gentle, Sensitive)
crest 3d white whitestrips intensive professional effects

There lots of other options for effective whitestrips beside Crest, you can find these products on Amazon. However, if you want products that have been proven to work, it may be best to purchase ADA approved dental products.

How Do Whitening strips Work?

Whitening strips work by applying a gel that contains either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to your teeth, this is done daily (sometimes twice a day), for an extended period, usually weeks or months. If your teeth are extrinsically stained, you will stand a good chance of gaining a whiter smile. Extrinsic stains are caused by external factors usually attributed to lifestyle choices. If your stains are intrinsic, the strips may be ineffective at removing them since the cause may be underlying.

What are The Ingredients In A Whitestrips?


Polyethylene is a ubiquitous plastic that is found in many household products. It’s flexible, lightweight, and non-toxic which makes it an excellent choice to be used as an oral cosmetic product.

Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide

These are the main agents used for the actual whitening process. Their primary role is to bleach the surface of the tooth which will give it a whiter appearance. They may sound like scary chemicals but they have been scientifically proven evidence-backed products. If you do use these ingredients, you will want to avoid swallowing them as they can be harmful to your general health. Always thoroughly clean your mouth out after using these two ingredients.

PVP (Polyvinylpyrrolidone) & Carbomer

These are the adhesive agents in the product that bond the strips safely to your teeth. These chemicals are non-toxic but have been known to irritate gums, so if you do experience irritation, they may not be for you.

PEG (Polymerization Ethylene Glycol)

PEG is commonly used as a thickening agent, this is what forms the gel-like consistency and it also plays a role in making it sticky.


Glycerin is a sweet, safe, non-toxic compound that is used to thicken the gel and will help to gently secure the strips in place.

Acrylates Copolymer

This is a common ingredient that also acts as a binder for whitening strips.

Sodium Hydroxide

This chemical helps is used to neutralize the PH level in the gel to make it safe for your teeth. Acidic substances will erode your tooth enamel, and neutralizing the gel will help counteract this process.

Sodium Saccharin

Sodium saccharin is a sugar-free sweetener that is used to improve the taste. However, remember that even though it may taste sweet, like toothpaste it is not meant to be swallowed or digested. The taste enhancer is only meant to make the experience more pleasant.

Side Effects Of Whitening Strips

It is almost always safer to get your teeth whitened at a dental clinic. Whitening strips are safe to use, but they can be tricky to apply correctly. 

Yellow Or Gray Spots

Uneven application of the strip can be a common theme among at-home enthusiasts. It will be tricky to be consistent all the time when using white strips and you may miss areas of your teeth.

Allergic Reaction Or Irritation

Some of the ingredients used have been known to irritate the gums. While it may be rare to have an allergic reaction, it is possible. You may want to have an allergen test beforehand to see if you are allergic to them. If you do have an allergic reaction, it would be better to stay away from them entirely.

Tooth Damage & Sensitivity

Your enamel can get damaged from improper use or overexposure to bleaching products. If you do use these products, setting a timer while you are doing it is recommended. If you happen to fall asleep during their application, for example, they might be on your teeth for hours, which would be too long. Bleaching agents also can cause tooth sensitivity, if your teeth are already prone to being sensitive, whitening strips may cause you too much discomfort.

Gum Tissue Damage

Some of the ingredients in the whitening strips have been known to irritate gums. If you use these products too frequently, or for too long, you can potentially cause damage to the health of your gums.

Pros & Cons Of Whitening Strips


  • Effective when used properly (peroxide-based gels).
  • Affordable and easy to purchase.
  • Can be found in many stores or online.
  • Fast and convenient.
  • Easy to apply and remove.
  • Less messy than LED whitening kits.
  • Treatment is done in the comfort of your home.


  • Can have irregular or uneven results if not applied correctly.
  • Some brands are not as effective.
  • Higher risk of sensitivity than other whitening products.
  • Higher risk of gum irritation than other whitening products.
  • Some have an unpleasant flavor.
  • Can cause enamel damage if overused.
  • If overused, they can kill too many good bacteria in your mouth.

In-Office Zoom Whitening

Instead of waiting weeks to get results that may possibly be disappointing, you can have your teeth whitened in-office with Zoom whitening technology. You can enhance your smile in an hour!
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