Everyone wants to look good and the definition of looking good varies from person to person. For some, it means wearing new clothes and getting a fashionable haircut, whereas for others it might be having a whiter smile. A survey of dentists conducted in 2015 by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that dental whitening was cited as THE top procedure performed by nearly 1/3 of the dentists surveyed with 29% of respondents claiming an increase in bleaching treatments over the previous year and 35% expecting the demand for tooth whitening to increase further. People’s quest for physical perfection, the availability of over the counter dental bleaching products and the decrease in costs – both for in office and retail products – are all fueling the uptake in tooth whitening.  

Teeth can be stained by foods such as berries and balsamic vinegar, beverages like wine and coffee, tobacco products, certain medications and even genetic factors can play a part in predisposing someone to dental discoloration. Tooth whitening or dental bleaching basically refers to the products and procedures that are said to make teeth look whiter and brighter. There are a number of options such as in-office bleaching at the dentist, take home kits from the dentist, in-chair bleaching at various locations including malls and beauty salons, over the counter whitening products including professional grade gels and whitening strips as well as lesser strength toothpaste, mouth rinses and pastes.  

This article is going to focus on whitening strips. This product comes in a variety of formulations and is manufactured and sold by quite a few different companies. Some dentists prefer the use of these strips over bleaching and other cosmetic whitening procedures for a number of reasons. Here are some of them:

Whitening Strips

Affordable

At a fraction of the cost of bleaching gel kits or in chair whitening, strips are one of the more affordable ways to achieve a whiter smile. Going to a dentist can cost you a great deal of money with dentists reporting that the average amount spent on in office bleaching in 2014 was $357.33 per treatment. Compare this to anywhere from $20 to $60 for a box of strips.

Easy to use

All you have to do is read the instructions and follow them accordingly. There is a variety of options that you can use for teeth whitening but not all of them are as easy and straightforward with gel kits requiring exactitude in the amount of gel placed in the trays, duration they can be left on, etc… Strips are far more straight forward, usually, you just peel off the backing and place one strip each of your upper and bottom teeth, leave it on for the recommended amount of time, remove and thoroughly rinse. It’s also highly recommended to give your pearly whites a good brush before you put the strips in.

Effective

Although not as strong as bleaching gel, whitening strips still pack a punch. Some brands and varieties will work better than others so you may need to carefully check reviews and try out a few, but – considering the cost comparison to whitening gel kits – strips are a good option that should produce effective results.

Gentle

Again, this one depends on the brand and variety of the strips but generally speaking whitening strips are a lot gentler on the gums and teeth than high strength dental bleaching gel. You can even get coconut and charcoal strips that don’t cause sensitivity (for most people).

Easily available

Whitening strips are easily available just about everywhere. You can purchase them at pharmacies,  supermarkets, from online giants such as Walmart and Amazon and from boutique retailers. Be sure to do your homework first or be prepared to try a few brands.

Whitening strips nevertheless have some drawbacks

Uneven whitening

If you have very cramped or crooked teeth the strips may not be able to cover them all evenly and so the results appear patchy. Another common issue is when teeth are discoloured due to lack of enamel but in this case brushing the teeth well after using the strips can help to even out the results. Finally, some strips are just not long enough and do not fully cover all of the teeth in your mouth. Be sure to read reviews in order to avoid purchasing products with this sort of design flaw.

Sensitivity

Some strips, like most dental whitening products, may cause sensitivity in the teeth and/or gums. Generally speaking, if the directions are followed and the strips are only used as often as directed, you are unlikely to experience any problems. However, some people are prone to tooth sensitivity and almost any whitening product that contains chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching agents are likely to aggravate the issue. Happily, there are gentle varieties of whitening strips that should work without causing severe sensitivity.

Conclusion

Whitening strips can be an affordable, easy, gentler alternative to both in chair and at home dental bleaching procedures and products. Do your research, investigate the options and choose the strips that seem best suited to your own particular requirements.

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