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How often should you use whitening strips?

teeth whitening strips held close up with smiling woman in background - how often should you use teeth whitening strips

Overusing whitening strips can damage your teeth over time – here’s how to use them to keep your teeth and gums healthy

Teeth whitening strips are one of the most popular methods of at-home teeth whitening. They’re a convenient and affordable way to whiten teeth, but it’s sensible to question how often you should use them to get the best results.

Overusing teeth whitening strips can lead to sensitivity and irritation, so it’s important to understand how often they should be used to keep your teeth and gums healthy. We spoke to a dentist to discuss how often you can use teeth whitening strips safely and have put together a short guide on how they work and how often to use them.

How often should you use whitening strips?

We spoke to Dr Mafalda Queiroz at The York Dental Suite, who gave us the lowdown on teeth whitening at home.

She said: “When it comes to teeth whitening, I always recommend that people approach it with caution, to ensure oral health isn’t compromised. Whitening strips can be a convenient option to whiten the teeth, but overuse can lead to tooth sensitivity or enamel damage. Generally, it’s advisable to use these strips no more than twice a year.

Before starting any whitening treatment, it’s best to consult with a dentist to assess your dental health and determine the most appropriate whitening method. It might be that you’re just looking for advice on how to remove stains. Remember, a healthy smile is more important than a brighter one”.

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How do teeth whitening strips work?

Teeth whitening strips typically contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are bleaching agents that penetrate the enamel to lighten the colour of teeth. When used correctly, they can effectively remove mild staining caused by coffee, tea, red wine and ageing.

Using whitening strips is a straightforward process, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to achieve safe and effective results. Typically, whitening strips come in pairs – one for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth.

How to use teeth whitening strips:

  • Only apply them to clean teeth, making sure they stick to the surface of the tooth.
  • Leave the strips on for the recommended duration, usually around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the product.
  • During this time, avoid eating, drinking or engaging in activities that may dislodge the strips.
    Remove the strips and discard them.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly to remove any residual gel.

It’s important to note that overusing whitening strips or leaving them on for longer than recommended can lead to tooth sensitivity and irritation, so always follow the instructions provided with the product. We’ve got a full length article on whether teeth whitening is safe if you’re looking for more information.

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What to consider when it comes to using whitening strips

Whitening strips come in various strengths, with some containing higher concentrations of bleaching agents than others. The strength of the product can influence how often it should be used. Stronger formulations may deliver quicker results but could also increase the risk of tooth sensitivity and enamel damage if used excessively.

Dental sensitivity varies from person to person. Some people may experience discomfort or sensitivity when using whitening strips, especially if they have pre-existing dental issues such as cavities, gum disease or thin enamel.

woman in mirror using teeth whitening strips with toothbrushes in background - how often should you use teeth whitening strips

The starting shade of your teeth can affect the duration and frequency of whitening treatments. Those with naturally darker teeth may require more frequent use of whitening strips to achieve desired results compared to individuals with lighter teeth. However, it’s important to check this with your dentist to avoid overuse and always follow the instructions.

Pay attention to any signs of tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. If you experience discomfort during or after using whitening strips, it’s essential to pause treatment and consult with your dentist.

Once you’ve achieved your desired level of whiteness, you should maintain the results by practising good oral hygiene habits. This includes regular brushing with an electric toothbrush and whitening toothpaste, followed by traditional or water flossing if possible, as routine dental check-ups. Additionally, minimising consumption of stain-causing foods and drinks such as red wine and coffee can help prolong the effects of whitening treatments.

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