If you’re unhappy with the colour of your teeth, there are many whitening options you can consider, including strips which you have likely seen at your local pharmacy. Teeth whitening products are very popular, and the packaging will claim to whiten your teeth. Still, many individuals hesitate to try at-home whitening strips and wonder if they work. 

Teeth whitening strips can whiten your teeth by a shade or two, although they are not as effective as professional in-office whitening treatments completed by a dentist. Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation are also a possibility, and you must take the time to learn about the product and read the instructions carefully. 

Do Whitening Strips Really Work?

The short answer is yes, although you should consider your goals and the appearance you’d like to achieve. If you want to whiten your teeth by only a couple of shades, teeth whitening strips are a great choice, but if you are interested in dramatic results and want to whiten your teeth by several shades, professional whitening treatments would be a better choice. 

Teeth whitening strips contain hydrogen peroxide, which can bleach stains on your teeth. It will penetrate the outer layer of your tooth and enter the deeper dentin layer. Stains can be divided into the following two categories:

Extrinsic Staining

This type of stain will affect the outside of your tooth and is generally caused by environmental factors like smoking, antibiotics, and certain foods or drinks like coffee and dark berries.

Intrinsic Staining

This type of staining will affect the inside of your tooth and is generally caused by genetics, age-related enamel erosion, antibiotics and exposure to high fluoride levels. 

Whitening strips can target extrinsic and intrinsic stains and are recommended only if you want to make a small touch-up to your tooth colour. If you are hoping for a drastic change and want to see noticeable results right away, you should consider professional whitening from a dentist. They will apply a stronger percentage of bleach and monitor your gums to ensure treatment is completed safely.

Ingredients play a big role in the success of whitening treatments, and many whitening strips contain chlorine dioxide, a safer alternative to hydrogen peroxide. This ingredient is not as effective, and you should read the label carefully to check the ingredients. Instructions will also vary between different brands, although most products will need to be applied twice per day for about 30 minutes at a time.

In addition to reading the instructions and ingredients, you should read about the risks associated with each whitening product. Teeth whitening strips may cause increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, and these side effects are more likely to develop if there is a higher concentration of peroxide in the whitener. The amount of time you leave them on will also increase the risk of developing side effects. Leaving the product on your teeth for longer than recommended can be very dangerous, and contrary to what many people think, this will not provide you with better results, and you can damage the structure of your teeth. 

It’s important to note that only natural teeth can be whitened, and strips will not change the colour of existing crowns, fillings, bridges or implants. This is true for both at-home and professional whitening treatments. 

Maintenance Tips

Once you whiten your teeth with strips, you will have to follow certain maintenance tips to enjoy the results for as long as possible. Limiting your consumption of staining foods will help keep your teeth white, as will using a straw when drinking beverages that have the potential to stain your teeth. Make sure you brush and floss twice daily, every day, and follow a strict oral hygiene routine

Eating plenty of calcium will help keep your teeth strong, and avoiding smoking will prevent your teeth from developing a yellowish stain. 

Bottom line; teeth whitening strips do have the potential to lighten your teeth by one or two shades, and you may notice results as soon as a few days after applying treatment. At-home teeth whitening strips are recommended to touch up mild discoloration on your teeth. If you have significant staining, it’s better to speak to your dentist in Tavistock about professional whitening options. If you plan on using at-home whitening strips, speak to your dentist about the product and brand you’d like to use and ask them for a professional recommendation. 


Are you interested in improving the appearance of your smile? We offer professional teeth whitening treatments and will discuss your dental goals to help you achieve your desired results. 

If you are looking for a dentist near you in Tavistock, contact our office today to schedule an appointment!