In the past few years, whitening strips have become the go-to treatment for teeth whitening. The world spends millions of dollars on them yearly. Although several brands promise longevity, effectiveness, and speed, they are all made up of relatively the same thing. We’ll talk about this in the latter part of this article. However, we first need to understand the causes of tooth discoloration. This is important when considering whether whitening strips are the solution your teeth need.

Causes of Teeth Discoloration

Teeth discoloration is not a respecter of persons and doesn’t happen overnight. Due to several reasons (biological and artificial), the enamel may become brownish or yellowish. Some of the factors that cause the teeth to lose their original shine are;


As you grow older, the outermost layer of your teeth, the enamel, starts to wear out. This exposes the yellowish color of the dentin, the softer layer of the teeth below the enamel.

Foods and Drinks

Some foods have highly potent color pigments. When eaten, these pigments attach to your enamel and cause staining. Examples are fruits, vegetables, coffee, wine, etc.


Smokers are not only liable to die young. Their teeth are also easily discolored and stained. Tobacco especially is made up of two strong chemicals- nicotine and tar. Although nicotine is colorless, it stains yellow when mixed with oxygen while smoking. On the other hand, tar is naturally black and doesn’t remove easily.


The teeth of kids under eight years old can get darkened from antibiotic exposure. And sometimes, this discoloration is permanent. Blood pressure drugs and chemotherapy are other forms of medication that may darken the teeth.


Many diseases cause discoloration of the enamel and dentin. Some of them are metabolic, liver, celiac disease, rickets, and even infections in pregnant women.

Lack of Dental Hygiene

Irregular brushing, rinsing, and flossing of the teeth can cause them to discolor over time. This is because stains pile up over time and become difficult to clean.

How Do Whitening Strips Work?

Whitening strips are one of the most affordable teeth whitening solutions. Most of them are made of polyethylene which is flexible and lightweight. The strips have a gel that contains active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. When either of these bleaching agents touches the teeth, they reduce stains into smaller bits and wear off the color.

However, whitening strips have their shortcomings as well. They can only make your teeth a few shades lighter because the active ingredients are in minimal quantities. Also, they may not correct extremely brown or yellow teeth. This is why professional whitening is always better than strips. Apart from being ten times more effective, a visit to the dentist will reveal to you other underlying dental issues.

Differences Between Professional Teeth Whitening and Whitening Strips

Professional teeth whitening and whitening strips are both popularly adopted dental treatments. However, it boils down to the results you’re looking to get. Some differences between the two are;


All teeth whitening treatments use bleaching agents. However, what differentiates them is the concentration of the bleach. Whitening strips have a very low concentration of hydrogen peroxide to prevent you from harming your teeth. Therefore, they might not give you the sparkling result that you want. With professional teeth whitening, the bleaching agent is regulated by the dentist. This means they can use the right proportions to give you a more noticeable outcome.


Whitening strips wear off in as little as one week. Therefore, to maintain your desired whiteness, you might need to use them weekly or at other frequent intervals as you please. Professional teeth whitening gives you longer-lasting results. This is because the treatment penetrates deeper into your teeth. And if your dental care routine is good, results can be permanent for as long as six months.


Whitening your teeth at home with whitening strips or other whitening kits might transfer the bleaching agents to your gums. However, not when you’re in safe hands. During professional teeth whitening, the dentist covers your gums carefully. This protects your gum from the pain, sensitivity, or damage you’d have encountered through self-care.


With professional whitening, it only takes a one-time visit of two hours to make your teeth several shades whiter. That’s very different from whitening strips which you may need to apply for an average of two hours for some days to get a close result.


In the end, having a professional whiten your teeth is always better than doing it yourself. A visit to the dentist might help you discover the root cause of your teeth’ discoloration and possible solutions. Your gums will be safer, and you’ll get more astonishing results than you would from a whitening strip. If you’re ready to get your million-dollar smile, contact a trusted professional to learn more about the best way to whiten your smile!