Beauty & Health

The Dirty Truth About Whitening Strips

While many different types of whitening strips are safe to use, if the brand that you are using contains chlorine dioxide, you could be destroying your teeth’s enamel. This is the same acidic chemical which is commonly used in order to disinfect both private and public swimming pools. It eats away at the surface of the enamel on your teeth in order to whiten the appearance of your mouth. If this is an ingredient that is used in the strips you are using, you are increasing the risk of experiencing tooth decay.

Even if the strips you use don’t contain chlorine dioxide, you could still do more harm than good if you are not properly following the instructions provided on the packaging, they are there for a reason. Be sure that you are not using more strips than are recommended. You also want to be sure to only apply them for the specified amount of time, and do not use them more frequently than specified in the directions. This may not only lead to tooth decay, it can also be unhealthy for the gum tissue. If your gums start to become irritated after the first couple of uses, you may want to throw away the remaining product and schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Another risk other than doing damage to your enamel and gum tissue is ingesting hydrogen peroxide. This is an active ingredient used in the strips and can be poisonous to the body. While ingesting small amounts usually will not cause an effect, if you swallow enough, it can cause an upset stomach, and ingesting too much may even be fatal. If you are using any kind of whitening strip, make sure that you are not swallowing any of the gel contained within the product.

If you are the type of person to through worry and caution out the window in order to improve the way you look and how you feel about yourself, here are a few tips you may want to take into consideration before choosing a whitening strip.

Before you began an over the counter treatment from home, see your dentist first. You may be impressed with the results of receiving a professional cleaning and decide that the time and effort required for whitening treatments is not worth the hassle. This will also provide your dentist the opportunity to make sure that your gums are healthy enough for the whitening treatments. It is always safer to receive treatment for any problems you may have in your mouth before using whitening strips. Question your dentist about which treatment he thinks would be beneficial to you and how much a difference you can honestly expect to see in your smile. Keep in mind that teeth do naturally darken with age and the amount of change within the color differs from person to person.

All at-home whitening treatments contain peroxides that normally range between 10-20 percent. Choose a treatment somewhere in the middle, as close to 15 percent as you can get. Once you have tried the product a few times and see that it doesn’t harm your mouth, but still isn’t providing the change in the color you want, you can always choose a higher level. If you do experience pain or any discomfort in your gums, stop using the product and see your dentist immediately.

Make sure that you are using the product according to the instructions provided on the packaging. By leaving the strips on your teeth longer than recommended, you may cause soreness in your gums or create even more serious problems. Once you have completed the treatment, avoid beverages such as sports drinks, acidic beverages, and any soda for at least a few hours in order to protect your teeth.

If you are a mother to be or are nursing a baby, you should not use whitening strips for any reason. Also keep in mind, composite or porcelain dental crowns and bondings will not lighten in color. You will more than likely end up with an uneven smile if you whiten the color of your teeth around them.

Although it is usually short term, it is common for teeth to become mildly sensitive after a whitening treatment. If your gums and teeth are in better than average condition, this may not be as big of an issue. If the sensitivity becomes severe enough to bother you, discontinue use of the product and visit your dentist right away. If a gel-filled tray, a type of treatment that is worn over the teeth, doesn’t fit properly, this can also lead to sensitive gums. If this is a condition which you start to experiencing, stop using the product and talk with your dentist about another brand or type of treatment.

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