Can Whitening Strips Damage Your Gums?

You’ve recently decided to try out some whitening strips to brighten your smile. Unfortunately you’ve noticed a nasty little side effect: every time you use the whitening strips your gums get painful and inflammed.

Are the whitening strips damaging your gums? Yes, it is possible to suffer damage to the gums by engaging in teeth whitening. The main form that whitening-derived gum damage manifests in would be irritation; similarly to exposing the to exceedingly hot foot and drink.

What About Tooth Whitening Causes the Irritation?

The American Dental Association (ADA) classifies tooth whiteners into two groups:

  • Toothpastes
  • Peroxide-based bleaching agents (like whitening strips)

Whitening toothpastes are less likely to agitate the gums because they lack bleaching agents; they whiten teeth by scrubbing away the stains with your toothbrush. The main way that this sort of product hurts the gums is from brushing too vigorously.

Whitening strips and their like contain some sort of bleaching chemical, either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Anything containing 30-35% hydrogen peroxide is strong enough to inflame soft gum tissue it comes into contact with. This inflammation can turn the affected area white as a result of the chemical bleaching.

Fortunately, burns to the gum area that originate from exposure to any form off peroxide can be undone by quickly getting the chemical away from the gums. If the problem manifests while using an over the counter treatment, this situation may occur as a result of poorly fitting trays, rather than the bleach.

It is important to reiterate that while most whitening products, be they pastes or strips, can cause burning and irritation, that does not mean that they always will. Teeth whitening is a relatively safe procedure so long as you follow all of the normal instructions.

  • Do your best to keep the whitening agent inside of the tray and away from your gums.
  • Make sure to apply the whitener across your teeth in an even fashion.
  • Make sure that the trays you got fit properly; this may call for a visit to your dentist for a custom set.

What Tooth Whitening Products Are Less Likely To Cause Irritation To The Gums?

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In Conclusion

In short, while damage to the gums is possible while pursuing pearly whites, that damage is easily avoided by keeping minimizing the amount of contact between the peroxide and gums.

In the event that you do experience a burning sensation on the gums either directly after applying your whitening strips or in the middle of putting them on, quickly get something, either a toothbrush or even some tissue paper, and try to remove as much of the chemical as you can.

If you have any doubts about using whitening strips, feel free to talk with your dentist.

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