Do Whitening Strips Work: How to Use & 6 Side Effects

One question people commonly asked is, “do whitening strips work?” the answer is yes, whitening strips works. People do not start to use whitening strips recently, these strips have been in existence in the 1980s and they are now popular. Whitening strips can whiten the teeth in a day or two and can show results in few days. These strips are also affordable and can be easily gotten in pharmacies and supermarkets. 


Whitening strips are teeth products that can improve the color of the teeth by a shade or two. They are made of safe materials that cannot cause harm to the teeth or body. They are made of ingredients like:

  • Polyethylene: This is an non toxic, flexible material that is the base of the strip. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide are the natural and safe bleaching agents in a strip. They are the main ingredients that are effective in whitening the teeth. 
  • PVP (Polyvinylpyrrolidone) & Carbomer are the adhesive agents that holds the strip to the teeth. They are very safe and harmless to the teeth but if overused, can irritate the gums.
  • Water helps to keep the teeth hydrated while the strips work on them.
  • PEG (Polymerization Ethylene Glycol) is the thickener, it makes the gel sticky and less watery.
  • Glycerin is also a thickener that helps the strips to bind to the teeth. It has a sweet taste and safe as well.
  • Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic soda that keep the pH of the mouth neutral, it helps to adjust the pH to avoid irritation.
  • Acrylates Copolymer also helps to keep the strip in place while it works on the teeth.
  • Sodium Saccharin is a sweetener that helps to improve the taste of the gel. 


It is a known fact that whitening strips can whiten the teeth. The carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in these strips bleach the teeth. They penetrate into the enamel (outer layer of the teeth) and dentin (deeper layer) to bleach the chromogens. These chromogens are found inside and outside the teeth, they cause stains. 

The teeth can have two stains – extrinsic and intrinsic. The extrinsic stain is caused by environmental factors like smoking, drugs, foods and drinks and exposure to some metal. This stain affects the enamel. The intrinsic stains are caused by factors like tooth disorder, aging, genes, high fluoride and antibiotics. This stain occurs inside the teeth. 

Whitening strips can work on both extrinsic and intrinsic stains, they are effective in whitening the teeth to some extent. However, if you want the maximum result, you can consider professional whitening treatment by dentists. 

Do Whitening Strips Work: How
Do Whitening Strips Work?


Whitening strips can work on yellow teeth as well but the extent of the stain and how severe the stain is should be considered. The strips can whiten yellow teeth to a great extent but they do not really work on everyone. The strips can work but may take an extended period of time. It can take at least a week or two to see results. If the yellow stains on your teeth are much and severe, you can see a dentist to consider other viable options that are best for you. 


Crowns and venners are made of porcelain or metal alloys, they are used to cover the teeth after root canal or breakage. Crowns and veneers are made to be resistant to stains but they can be stained sometimes. Whitening strips cannot bleach veneers and crowns as they cannot penetrate the stains on the crowns. The material in crowns do not respond to the strips or gel.

Whitening strips only works on natural teeth and not crowns or veneers no matter the brand. If you want to change the color of your crown or veneers, the dentist can replace the crowns or place another veneer on the crown.


Fillings are used to on holes in the teeth. They are made with durable materials that cannot be stained. They cannot be bleached by whitening strips and gels. If your fillings are stained, you can replace them. All whitening product cannot work on fillings.


Whitening strips can work on crooked teeth but they are not the best. They work better in people with straight teeth because they are laid flat on the teeth surfaces. Crooked or misaligned teeth may not be flat enough for the strips to get to all sides and corners of the teeth.

This can make some areas of the teeth lighter than others and give the whole teeth an uneven look. You can whiten your teeth with the strips but the results will not be the same as people with straight teeth.


There are many types of whitening strips like Fairy Will Teeth Whitening Strips for Sensitive Teeth, Crest 3D Whitening strips Gentle Whitening Kit, Crest 3D Whitening Strips Glamorous White and others. These whitening strips are recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) and safe to use.

The strips are to be used twice per day for 2 weeks, some products will require that you use them once a day. You should place them on the teeth and leave them for about 30 minutes. The results can be seen in few days and the teeth become lighter in a shade or two. 


There are many brands of whitening strips so you can read the instructions on the package and follow them exactly. The basic steps to use a whitening strip is:

  1. Remove the upper and lower strip from the package.
  2. Cut the strips to match with your teeth if they are longer. 
  3. Remove the plastic layer that covers the adhesive.
  4. Place the strips slowly on the teeth, make sure they cover the teeth but are not touching the gums.
  5. Let the strips sit on the teeth for the length of time stipulated on the manual.
  6. Remove the strips and rinse your teeth with water immediately.
  7. Avoid brushing your teeth for at least 2 hours.


Advantages of whitening strips

  1. The strips can easily be found in pharmacies and stores including online stores.
  2. They can be done at home and by anyone
  3. They can whiten teeth effectively in a week or two.
  4. They are affordable 
  5. They gives fast results

Disadvantages of whitening strips

  1. If overused, they can damage the enamel
  2. The results can be irregular if they are not used properly
  3. Not all brands are effective on the teeth
  4. Whitening strips can make the teeth become overly sensitive.
  5. The gums acne become irritated due to the strips
  6. Whitening strips can kill the good bacteria in the mouth if they are overused.


Whitening strips are very safe to be used in the teeth, and can give the expected results but there are some effects these strips can cause.

1. Allergic Reactions

Whitening strips are made with non toxic ingredients that are safe to the teeth. However, some people are allergic to some of these ingredients. 

2. Gray or Yellow Spots on the Teeth

Whitening strips may not fit into small nooks and crannies of the teeth especially if the teeth are crooked. This can cause some parts of the teeth to have yellow or grey teeth spots on them. Also, if the strips are not used properly, there can be uneven results.

3. Damage to the Teeth

Constant use of whitening strips can start to wear off the enamel. The more the enamel is worn off, the more the teeth damage.

4. Sensitivity of the Teeth

The enamel can be worn off by the constant use of whitening strips, this exposes the dentin (deeper layer of the teeth) and increase how sensitive the teeth become to hot or cold foods and drinks.

5. Disruption of the Oral Bacteria

The mouth has good bacteria that prevent cavities and has other benefits. The peroxide ingredient in the strips can kill these bacteria. As more bacteria are killed, the health of the mouth decreases and many diseases can gain access to the mouth.

6. Damage to Gum Tissues

Frequent use of the whitening strips or placing them incorrectly on the gums can irritate the gum tissues and damage them too.


Whitening strips are very effective in bleaching the teeth and removing stains as well. They are very safe and are made of ingredients that are harmless to the teeth and gums. They are easy to use and produce result by bleaching the teeth in a shade or two.

Whitening strips can be gotten in pharmacies and stores near you, they are affordable and are easy to use. If you follow the instructions and place the strips properly on the teeth, you will notice significant change.

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