Whitening strips are an over-the-counter treatment for lightening the color of your teeth. The strips contain ingredients that remove the stains on your teeth.
If you’re new to using the strips you may wonder how to include them into your routine. Do you brush your teeth after using whitening strips?
It’s OK to brush your teeth after using the strips, but there are several things to keep in mind. Whitening strips can be harsh on your teeth and gums, so it’s important to be careful.
In this article, we’ll explore the best practices for brushing your teeth and using whitening strips. We’ll also explain how the strips work and their potential side effects.
It’s safe to brush and floss your teeth after using whitening strips. It won’t reduce the whitening effects of the treatment. Manufacturers recommend doing so gently. This will help you avoid gum irritation and discomfort.
You may also want to use a soft-bristled brush. A hard-bristled brush may be too abrasive and increase your risk of gum irritation.
You can also brush and floss before applying whitening strips. This will remove plaque and food debris that may get stuck beneath the strips.
Additionally, the strips should fully adhere to your clean teeth, which should improve your teeth whitening efforts.
If you want to brush your teeth first, wait at least 30 minutes before applying the strips. Using whitening strips right after brushing might cause gum irritation.
Typically, whitening strips use peroxide to whiten your teeth. Peroxide is a type of bleach. Most strips contain hydrogen peroxide, but some manufacturers may use carbamide peroxide.
The strips, which are made of plastic, have a thin layer of peroxide gel. When you apply the strips on your teeth, the bleach breaks apart the stains on your teeth. This reduces the concentration of stains, which makes your teeth look whiter.
Depending on the product, you’ll likely have to wear the strips for 30 minutes once or twice a day. You may also need to repeat the process for 14 days.
How to keep teeth stain-free
- Limit tooth-staining foods like coffee, red wine, tea, and fruit juice.
- Limit acidic foods and beverages.
- Use a straw when drinking tooth-staining beverages.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes and other tobacco.
- Regularly brush and floss twice a day.
- Brush your teeth immediately after eating foods that cause staining.
- Chew sugarless gum to neutralize acids.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a deep cleaning.
Though whitening strips are convenient, the ingredients can be harsh on your teeth and gums.
The side effects, as well as their severity, depend on several factors:
- concentration of peroxide bleach
- other ingredients in the product
- how long you use the whitening strips
- your history of tooth sensitivity
It’s important to follow the instructions on the packaging and avoid wearing the strips longer than recommended.
This will help you avoid side effects, such as:
The bleaching agents in whitening strips can make your teeth more sensitive. This occurs when peroxide passes through your enamel and reaches the dentin.
The dentin is the soft layer of tissue underneath the enamel. It consists of tubules, which communicate with the nerves in the tooth. If the peroxide enters the dentin, it can irritate the nerves and cause tooth sensitivity.
Having sensitive teeth involves pain and discomfort caused by various triggers, including:
- acidic foods and drinks
- hot or cold liquids
- cold air
Tooth sensitivity due to whitening strips may continue for several days. However, it’s usually temporary. If you develop this side effect, take a break from the strips before using them again.
The peroxide in whitening strips might also irritate your gums. Often, this happens if you use the strips for too long or wear them incorrectly.
Like tooth sensitivity, gum irritation can last a few days but is also temporary.
In some cases, whitening strips can cause tooth damage. The peroxide may destroy the layers of your teeth, causing demineralization and erosion.
This is more likely to happen if you overuse whitening strips. Again, it’s best to avoid wearing whitening strips for too long.
If you’re interested in using over-the-counter teeth whitening products like strips, talk to a dentist.
This is especially important if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, the ingredients in whitening products may cause discomfort.
Your dentist can determine if whitening strips are safe for you. If so, they can recommend the best options and explain how to use them. They may also suggest toothpastes and toothbrushes that are safe to use with whitening strips.
It’s safe to brush your teeth after applying whitening strips. Just be sure to do it gently to avoid irritating your gums.
Another option is to brush your teeth before using whitening strips. This is ideal for removing plaque, which can get stuck beneath the strips. Wait at least 30 minutes before applying the strips to avoid gum irritation.
Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when using whitening products. Leaving them on for too long can cause tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and tooth damage. Your dentist can recommend the best whitening strips for your situation.