New teeth whitening products are being introduced to the market every month, which is no surprise with how much this industry has grown over the past 10 years.
In this article you are going to learn how teeth whitening products work, so that you can fully understand what is going on behind the scenes when you are using your favorite whitening product.
Whether you are looking to whiten your teeth at home, or are looking to get your white smile professionally by a dentist, we got you covered.
We will cover the main three teeth whitening categories which include whitening strips, whitening kits/gels, and professional whitening performed by dentists.
So without further adieu, lets get right into it…
How do Teeth Whitening Strips Work
Teeth whitening strips are made of a thin plastic that contains the whitening agent on one side. One package will contain two strips, one for your upper row of teeth and one for your bottom row.
In addition to the whitening agent, good whitening strips will also contain a “no slip” substance which is designed to hold them firmly in place, keeping them from sliding off or moving around for the duration of the treatment.
Using whitening strips is very easy, you simply place one strip on your top row of teeth and one on the bottom.
You then use your finger to press the strip firmly against your teeth, ensuring it is covering each tooth entirely and is in all of the cracks.
You can even close your mouth and suck in to make sure they fall into the spaces between your teeth.
Then you simply leave them on for 15-30 minutes. Once the treatment is completed, rinse your teeth and give them a good brush. You usually use strips for 10-20 days depending on how many treatments came with your purchase.
After completing all of the treatments, your teeth should be several shades whiter, so grab that selfie stick and get to work!
Now on to the magic …
Teeth whitening strips contain peroxide bleach, which is the main whitening agent in the most popular brands on the market.
As the strips remain in contact with your teeth, the peroxide begins to absorb into your tooths enamel.
By remaining on your teeth, the peroxide then begins to bleach your enamel, in the same manner that bleach absorbs into and whites clothes.
With each treatment, your enamel becomes whiter and whiter, and after completing the entire treatment cycle, you are left with celebrity white teeth.
There are tons of different strips on the market and they vary in price and effectiveness greatly. Some strips are designed for mildly stained teeth, others for severely stained teeth, some are cheap, and some are expensive.
Before purchasing the right strips for your situation, you should do some research on how powerful you need your strips to be and put together a budget you are willing to spend.
Teeth whitening strips alone will not keep your teeth white forever. More than likely you will need to purchase a full cycle of treatments 2-3 times a year to keep your teeth vibrant white.
It is not advised that you use strips if you have sensitive teeth and or gums, due to the bleaching agent used in them. They will create some sensitivity while using, but beauty isn’t easy, is it?
You can learn about the best teeth whitening strips here.
How do Teeth Whitening Kits/Gels Work
There are a wide variety of at home whitening kits on the market today, now more than ever. For the sake of sanity, we will be discussing how some of the most popular kits work.
The best kits come with the following.
A mouth tray
A whitening gel (usually in a syringe)
A led accelerator light
The difference between strips and kits is that kits tend to whiten more of your teeth especially in the back of your mouth, due to the mouth tray.
Strips are great for the front areas, but if you want to also whiten the back areas, then a kit might suit you better.
Much like strips, often the main whitening agent in teeth whitening kits is peroxide. However, there are a few high quality kits that are all natural and do not use any potentially harmful ingredients at all.
Those kits use unique formulated gels along side natural ingredients such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium fluoride, aloe vera, pomegranate, chamomile, and other natural ingredients.
The same is true for kits in that the active ingredients absorb into your tooths enamel and fight against years of stains, resulting in a whiter smile. Usually kits are used for a shorter period of time as opposed to whitening strips.
This is because the amount of peroxide is usually higher in kits, therefore making them more powerful.
To use the kit, you simply place a bead or two of the provided gel onto the bottom mouth piece as well as the top.
Then put it securely into your mouth, moving it around a little bit to ensure the gel spreads over the teeth evenly.
Depending how your kit is set up, you either then apply the led accelerator light, or just let the mouth trays themselves in for the suggested amount of time which is usually 20-30 minutes. You then remove the trays, rinse them, and rinse and brush your teeth.
The results from using kits seem to last a little longer than strips in general, but this obviously depends on many factors.
How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work
The third and most expensive method we will be discussing is professional teeth whitening.
This is when you go to your local dentist and pay him/her a ton of money to make your teeth white. In my opinion this option is for those who have more money than they know what to do with, and want results without having to physically do anything themselves.
There are two main types of professional teeth whitening.
One is done by using a powerful bleaching agent along with a mouth tray, much like the at home kit, but only under the supervision of a dentist.
This method usually requires 1-4 treatments, and can cost anywhere from $300-$600 per treatment.
The results seem to stick around longer than if you use strips or an at home kit, but the cost is much higher as well.
The other is called laser teeth whitening, which is becoming more and more popular.
This procedure has a few steps which include teeth cleaning before the laser treatment.
The dentist will then polish your teeth.
They will then prep for whitening, which means placing a weird mouth piece on your lips so that your teeth and gums are exposed. They then put a wax coating over your gums for protection.
Next, a bleaching agent is painted onto your teeth and the laser is applied for 30-45 minutes.
Typically you will only need one of these treatments to notice a decent change, but that one treatment will cost you between $800 and $1200.
So, as you can see, there are many effective ways to whiten your teeth.
Some whiten faster than others, some are cheaper than others, some are safer, and some last longer than others.
It really comes down to personal preference and budget.