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5 Tips for Using White Strips Safely

Brenna Stone

Do you want whiter teeth without having to get a professional treatment? Using over-the-counter products such as white strips — plastic strips with a whitening gel — is a less expensive option than a trip to the dentist for an in-office bleaching procedure or a take-home whitening system. The active ingredient in the gel is hydrogen peroxide, which lightens the color of your teeth while the strips are in place over the surface of your teeth. While over-the-counter kits are convenient and inexpensive, they do require some caution. Overuse can lead to tooth sensitivity.

Talk to Your Dentist First

The American Dental Association recommends talking to your dentist before whitening, even before using an over-the-counter kit. Your dentist can tell you if you are a good candidate for whitening, as well as what procedures may work well for your specific case of tooth discoloration.

Use as Directed

An easy mistake to make with white strips is to use them too much. Follow the directions carefully for any home product. It may be tempting to apply the strips more often than what is recommended in the hopes of getting a whiter smile more quickly. With improper use, however, you may cause tooth sensitivity and to a lesser extent, gum irritation.

Brush Before Whitening

Brush your teeth to remove food particles and other substances that may be on your teeth before applying the strips. That way you won't trap anything between your teeth and the strips.

Consider Your Gums

To avoid gum irritation, the Humana Dental Insurance Company recommends waiting about 30 minutes after you brush before applying white strips. You can brush after whitening to remove any excess gel.

Follow a Healthy Dental Care Routine

Keep up your excellent dental hygiene routine. Brush twice a day and floss to remove substances from between your teeth. Talk to your dentist about using a whitening toothpaste like Colgate Optic White, which provides cavity protection and reduces plaque for a whiter smile and healthy teeth. Make regular dental appointments. Your dentist can make sure that your smile is brilliant and healthy.

Learn more about tooth whitening in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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