Why You Shouldn't Use Whitening Strips Every Day

Coffee, tea, and even red wine can leave unsightly stains on your teeth. Chemicals called tannins that are found in these products can cause discoloration of the enamel that can leave teeth looking brown or yellow (via Healthline). Fortunately, there are many treatments that can get rid of unwanted stains. Teeth whitening strips are a popular remedy for stained teeth, but using them too often can be more harmful than the stains themselves.

Along with food and drinks, certain medications and even aging can cause tooth discoloration. Brushing regularly can help prevent staining, but sometimes stronger techniques are needed. Teeth whitening strips are one at-home treatment that has proven to be at least somewhat effective at removing stains (via Boston University's, BU Today). These are small strips of plastic coated with a whitening agent, usually some form of peroxide, that mold to your teeth and actually break down the chemical bonds of the stain (via Mcgill University).

The side effects are nothing to smile about

The type of peroxides used in whitening strips are a weak form of acid. They are not only able to break apart surface stains, but can also go beneath the enamel to get rid of deeper stains that might not be removed through brushing alone. Because of this, they can cause unwanted side effects that range from mild irritation to serious tooth damage.

One of the most common side effects of teeth whitening strips is tooth sensitivity. Irritation to the gums is also possible, especially if you leave the whitening strips on for too long or use them too often (via Healthline). Tooth sensitivity occurs when the peroxide on the whitening strip penetrates down to the dentin layer below the enamel. Damage to the dentin in your teeth can eventually lead to tooth decay.  

If you do decide to use whitening strips, always follow the directions on the packaging. If you're unsure about how to use whitening strips or you're wondering if they are safe for your teeth, consult a dentist who will be able to help you find the best tooth whitening options for you.