Do Teeth Whitening Strips Actually Work?

Teeth whitening is very popular at the moment as everyone wants a lovely white smile to match their summer tan. Brightening up your teeth is a great way to enhance your smile and give you a confidence boost.

If you visit your local pharmacy, you’ll likely see many products claiming to whiten your teeth. Home teeth whitening products have been available for years, and now they seem to be everywhere.

But do teeth whitening strips and other whitening products actually work? The short answer is yes. Teeth whitening strips can whiten your teeth by a shade or two and can act in as little as a few days. But home products aren’t usually as effective as in-office dental whitening techniques. They also come with some risks such as increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

Keep reading to learn about how teeth whitening strips work and which types of products are most effective.

Types of At-Home Whitening Products

There are 3 main types of whitening which you can do yourself at home: whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, and bleaching trays. Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are by far the cheapest method of home teeth whitening but they’re also the least effective in the short term. Because they contain only minuscule amounts of whitening agents such as hydrogen or carbamide peroxide the results are barely noticeable, although they are good at removing any surface stains. On the other hand, bleaching trays and whitening strips can produce quite noticeable results in as little as a couple of weeks.

How Whitening Strips Work?

Teeth whitening strips have the potential to whiten your teeth by bleaching stains with certain chemicals. Whitening strips are made from a flexible material coated with either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide and an adhesive to keep them firmly in place. As the hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with your teeth it oxidises, which bleaches the teeth and makes them look much whiter. Carbamide peroxide works in a similar way but contains acid which also breaks up stains.

Peroxides in whitening strips penetrate the outer layer of your tooth called the enamel and enter the deeper dentin layer, where they bleach chromogens. Chromogens are pigmented molecules found inside and outside your tooth that cause staining.

How Long do Whitening Strips Take to Work?

Most whitening strips come in packs of 28, which equates to one strip per row of teeth for 14 nights. Typically a person would wear the strips for about half an hour each day and can usually notice a difference in the whiteness of their teeth in the first week. However, they’re not effective on stains caused by antibiotics or fluoride poisoning and they won’t lighten dental restorations.

What Types of Stains do Whitening Strips Target?

Whitening strips can target stains caused by aging, genetics, smoking, or coffee, and these are generally the fastest to respond to bleaching. Yellowish aging stains also respond well.

Whitening strips may be best used when you’re trying to make a small touch-up to your tooth colour. For more significant changes, you might want to consider professional whitening from a dentist. A dentist can use stronger bleaches and give you a custom treatment best suited to your needs.

Professional Teeth Whitening with Toothfairy™

Professional teeth whitening does cost more but with that comes supervision from an experienced dentist and a quality of product which far exceeds anything you can buy over the counter. Toothfairy™ offers prescription-grade whitening gel designed by our dentists, which is the strongest, most effective and safest whitening gel available. We combine this with our Halo Light Device to accelerate the whitening process and give patients a sparkling white smile as quickly and easily as possible.

Our home whitening kits use custom made trays or aligners to fit your mouth exactly, unlike the generic trays which over the counter kits contain. This keeps the gel securely in place on the teeth and prevents any gel from leaking out and blistering your mouth and gums. The trays are to be worn for one hour per day, with impressive results usually seen in around two weeks.

Purchase Toothfairy™ Whitening Today

If you’d like to whiten your teeth in time for summer, then Toothfairy™ could help! Check out this link for more information and how to purchase our whitening kit:

Last updated on February 29, 2024

Dr. Deepak Aulak

Dr. Deepak Aulak is a London-based dental practitioner with a special interest in cosmetic dentistry. Having graduated from King's College London in Dentistry, Dr. Aulak was decorated with over a dozen awards and scholarships along the way, which notably include the Jelf Medal, Malleson Prize for research and GKT Hospital's Full Shields.


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