Are Teeth Whitening Strips Safe?
I’ve been looking into teeth whitening options and wanted to do something at home if possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the in-office whitening options, but I got an estimate on it last time I was in the office and it was way out of my budget. I think I’ve got it narrowed down to just the teeth whitening strips, but I’ve seen talk about how they can damage enamel. Is this true?
There’s some emerging research that suggests the strips may not be the best option, but it’s not for the reasons most people think.
Teeth Whitening Strips are Safe on Enamel
There’s no evidence to suggest they’re harmful to your enamel. The difficulty most people have when they whiten excessively is that they have super sensitive teeth. Thankfully, that usually goes away when they stop, but sometimes people who over-indulge in products need dental interventions to help alleviate symptoms.
However, They May Not Be Good for Your Dentin
Teeth are made up of layers, with enamel on the outside, followed by dentin, and then the pulp. Emerging research indicates that the strips could be damaging to the dentin layer because it’s protein-rich. “Our results showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide concentrations similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear, which is presumably due to the formation of many smaller fragments,” says Kelly Keenan, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University in New Jersey. However, not only is this a very small study, but the researchers acknowledged they don’t know if the proteins regenerate and, unlike enamel, which cannot regenerate, dentin has some healing ability.
Professional Teeth Whitening Versus Whitening Strips
It Usually Takes Longer to Get Results with Strips
When you go with professional teeth whitening, it’s more potent than anything you can get over the counter. Anything you get over the counter is limited in strength by the FDA. So, while your strips may eventually get you the results you want, the reduced potency means it could take days or weeks longer.
Strips Don’t Necessarily Brighten Evenly Either
One of the other major challenges with strips is that your teeth are curved and the strips are flat. They’ve got some give and will follow your arch, but it’s really difficult to ensure you get them pressed right up against your teeth, particularly as you get to the edges. Missing a spot once probably won’t make a huge difference since they’re not all that strong, but if you don’t get a perfect fit regularly, you’re going to wind up with blotchy results. When you go with an in-office variety, your trays are custom-fitted to your specific bite, that way no spots are missed.
Strips Can Irritate Your Gums Too
Hydrogen peroxide has been kept in first aid kits for generations and used as an antiseptic. It’s actually a pretty great one. It works by breaking down cell walls, causing them to collapse or break apart. The bad news—hydrogen peroxide doesn’t know the difference between bacteria and healthy cells. Ergo, that lovely fizzing you get when you apply it to a wound is your healthy skin cells dying. It does get the bacteria in the process, though, so it’s not a total loss. In any case, that’s what’s on those strips, so when you get the material on your gums, you’re going to start having issues. Again, because strips are not a custom fit, it’s a bit harder to ensure you’re not getting product where it doesn’t belong.
This blog is brought to you by the Akron Dentists of Angel Dental Care