Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You have an important event to attend, be it a wedding, a job interview, a date, some sort of social function where a smile can either make or break your standing.
You dash into your bathroom, scan over the contents of your bathroom’s medicine cabinet, tossing out a few long-expired and emptied prescription medication containers and manage to find some of those incredible teeth whitening strips you remember you had put away in there for important events. Then your joy at being able to brighten up your choppers diminishes a bit upon noticing that the expiration date on the container is several months past the current day on the calendar.
When so many products tend to have a stamped date indicating when they should be used by or at least taken off store shelves, you may find yourself wondering “Can whitening strips expire?” The answer is “Yes!” Regardless of the brand or manufacturer that your particular strips may come from, they are only going to be able to bolster a person’s smile for so long.
Just kept in their container at room temperature, a package of whitening strips is good for roughly a year. If you are the exceptionally thrifty sort, you can this limited lifespan by keeping them in your fridge. Note, the refrigerator is fine but the freezer or a fridge that is cold enough to cause the strips to freeze is going too far and will actually ruin the strips’ usefulness.
How Do Whitening Strips Work?
Before we tackle everything that there is to know when dealing with expired strips, let us take a moment to go over how these beauty aids actually do their job. Strips contain a peroxide gel that shapes around the surface of the teeth and allow the peroxide the necessary amount of prolonged contact to “eat” away at a dingy smile.
While there are dozens of different whitening strip products on the market, each with their own unique instructions, the general technique is to wear them twice a day and to keep them on for roughly half an hour each time.
While no whitening strip has the power to produce instantaneous results with a single treatment or after a single day of treatments, users can generally expect to see lightening by a shade or two after two weeks of treatment. The chemicals and directions involved with a specific brand of strips does play some role in how much brightness can be coaxed out of a smile with their assistance.
Can You Use Expired Strips?
While whitening strips do their best work before the expiration date rolls over, you should be mindful of the fact that you will be using them at less than their full effectiveness. This reduction in effectiveness is because the expiration date signals when the active ingredients in your strips begin to deteriorate; deteriorating active ingredients means deteriorating effectiveness.
The upside here is that there is no risk to the health of your teeth, they just might not whiten as much as if you had used an unexpired set.
Is There Any Potential Health Risk With Whitening Strips That Are Considerably Expired?
Water is a common ingredient in many beauty products, including whitening strips. It is a simple scientific fact that water is a breeding ground for bacteria. This means that you should be mindful when using expired whitening strips, especially if they don’t look you remember them looking, if only to avoid spreading some sort of bacterial nastiness over your not-so-pearly whites.
To reiterate, just because whitening strips are a simple and easy beauty product to use in reviving a pleasant appearance in your teeth, that does not mean that you can ignore basic information like the instructions and the expiration date. Always abide by whatever the packages instructions indicate with commercial strips and never ignore or put in a half-effort in following a dental professional’s advice on the use of whitening strips.
Whitening strips are like many products in that they come with an expiration date. The expiration date gives you a guideline for how long the various chemicals compounds and other active ingredients within those strips will begin to weaken in efficacy.
While you can extend the length of time that you have to use your whitening strips by up to another year through freezing, know that this product will be less than 100% effective after that window of potency closes.