Strips, Paste Or Rinses: Your Options For Whitening Your Teeth

If you feel your smile isn't as pearly-white as it should be, you're not alone. Each year, Americans spend more than $1.4 billion on over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products. Finding the right product that offers the best results can be a challenging task.

The following takes a look at the three most common options for at-home whitening:

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes are your first and most affordable option. In addition to the mild abrasives commonly found in regular toothpaste, whitening toothpastes also feature chemical agents such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide for further stain removal effectiveness. These toothpastes can gently lighten your teeth by about one shade over the course of regular brushing.

Whitening pastes have their limitations. For starters, their effectiveness is usually limited to surface stains, leaving underlying discoloration untouched. Secondly, it could take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks for whitening toothpaste to show results. Last but not least, whitening toothpastes tend to be messier to deal with than strips or rinses.

Strips and Gels

Another option for brightening your teeth comes in the form of whitening strips. These thin strips feature a coating of peroxide-based whitening gel that's directly applied to your teeth on a twice-daily basis, usually in intervals of 5 to 30 minutes depending on the application instructions.

The sheer convenience of the average whitening strip is what usually wins over users. Not only are they convenient to carry around in your pocket or purse, but they can be used almost anywhere and at any time. Many strips are designed to dissolve completely, further simplifying the application process. In most cases, it takes two weeks to see results.

Unfortunately, it's easy to forget about strips that aren't designed to dissolve, which means users must watch the clock during treatment. Most strips also tend to be more expensive than whitening pastes.

Whitening Rinses

Like mouthwash, whitening rinses are designed to help combat plaque and gum disease while providing fresher breath. But they also feature hydrogen peroxide and other whitening chemicals. These rinses are often touted for their simplicity – all you have to do is rinse for 60 seconds for at least twice a day prior to brushing your teeth.

On the downside, it usually takes up to 12 weeks to see results. Other whitening products stay in contact with teeth for much longer, making rinses not as effective in the short term.

Armed with these facts, you'll be able to make the best choice that suits your teeth whitening needs. However, OTC products still pale in comparison to the results offered by a professional whitening session offered by your dentist. To learn more, contact a professional like Cochran George S DDS with your questions.