Are Whitening Strips Bad For Teeth? – Know The Truth

are whitening strips bad for teeth?

Whitening strips are arguably among the most popular home-based teeth whitening methods but are whitening strips bad for teeth? They’re highly favored by folks looking to achieve a brighter smile due to their multiple benefits. They’re readily available at your local store. They grant you faster, dentist-like results. They’re cheap. And above all, their results are long-lasting.

However, there are mixed reviews on the internet about whitening strips and their relationship to halitosis (or bad breath if you like it). Some people argue that the strips cause bad breath. Others say it doesn’t.

What’s the real truth about the relationship between whitening strips and bad breath? Are you looking for the answer to this query too? Yes? Great!

Are whitening strips bad for teeth?

Join me in the discussion below as I set out to uncover the truth…

First, let’s look at how you put on the strips on your teeth:

The process is as simple as pie. Just place the strips on your teeth and remove after the recommended amount of time. The time varies from one strip to another. But it’s between 5 minutes to an hour.

When wearing whitening strips, you’re advised not to eat or drink anything to avoid interfering with their function.

How Do Whitening Strips Work?

The primary role of whitening strips is to whiten your teeth. For this reason, they’re packed with ingredients that help them perform this function. You’ll find that the whitening formulation varies between strips from different manufacturers. All in all, they help get rid of stains on your teeth.

You’ll also find that some strips come with extra features e.g. mint flavors that help freshen your breath. Others have formulations to help kill the bacteria responsible for bad breath.

Are There Any Side Effects of Whitening Strips?

There are two main side effects of whitening strips to whiten your teeth. These are gum irritations and teeth sensitivity.

Let’s discuss each of them separately…

I). Gum Irritations:

With continued use of whitening strips, you’re likely to experience sore gums. The American Dental Associations (ADA) refers to this phenomenon as gingival irritation. Researchers have found out that the main reason behind this irritation is leaving the whitening strip on your teeth for an extended period.

Deposits of the whitener left behind after removing the whitening strips are also responsible for the irritations. As such, it’s always good to thoroughly rinse/brush your teeth after removing the whitening strip.

This side effect is usually temporary. But according to ADA, it may linger on until you stop using the whitening strips.

II). Increased Teeth Sensitivity:

Teeth sensitivity can simply be explained as the pain you feel whenever your teeth come into contact with hot or cold foods, or when eating sweet foods. ADA defines the root of this problem as a high concentration of the whitening agents in some whitening strips. So, you might be getting yourself into a fall by going for the stronger whitening strips. Extending the period of treatment can as well result in this problem.

The sensitivity ends naturally in most cases. But if you still experience it long after the treatment, you should switch to special whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

My Opinion: Does Whitening Strips Cause Bad Breath?

And now to our million dollar question- are whitening strips responsible for bad breath?

From what we’ve just discussed above, we can get a straight answer to this question. We’ll look at the two top side effects and their relationship to bad breath:

Swollen Gums

Swelling of gums caused by gum infections e.g. periodontosis is known to cause bad breath. Swelling of gums due to factors e.g. use of whitening strips and teeth flossing causes pain but NOT bad odor.

Teeth Sensitivity

Needless to explain, teeth sensitivity and bad breath are orthogonal. Do your research well on causes of bad breath and you’ll never come across teeth sensitivity among them.


Whitening strips are completely safe to use and do not cause bad breath. The top side effects you’ll get from using these teeth whitening products is increased teeth sensitivity and swelling of gums. Note that you’ll only experience these problems due to improper use of the whitening strips. Again, these two problems have no ties with bad breath.

So are whitening strips bad for teeth? No, as long as you use them properly and take note of the manufacturers instructions and guidance.

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