Just a few years ago I would see people in the dentist office getting their teeth whitened. It was an expensive procedure and something I never seriously considered because of the price and inconvenience of multiple office visits.
In the past year or two I have noticed these white strip products on the shelves of the health and beauty aisles of various stores. I don’t normally watch TV or look at coupon advertisements, so if I am slow to catch on to a new product, that’s why. Normally I just shop for what I need and don’t go browsing around for what’s not on my mental shopping list. But every time I buy toothpaste or a refill for my toothbrush I see these blue boxes by Crest and various store brand versions.
Recently, when pondering the abundance of tooth whitening products including the marketing of teeth whitening strips, I realized the only reason these strips are on the market is because the money making potential for the companies that make them is far greater than the potential the companies can make off the dentists pushing whitening services. Consumables, are profitable.
As a consumer, I am happy this product is available over the counter. Far more people would buy a product and try it in the privacy of their own home because there is less commitment and less expense. That said, I began to look at my choices of white strips on the shelves and reading the differences between strengths. The prices varied significantly between store brand and Crest brand. Generally, if I believe a product to be equal quality, I will try the store brand. However, after reading the packages the one that interested me the most was the marketing blurb that said I could see results within 3 days. That product was Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus. There was no store brand version that compared itself to the Premium Plus, and I wanted to see results right away.
At home, I opened my package of Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus and read the directions. It seemed easy enough. One strip for the lower teeth and one strip for the upper teeth. These were for the front teeth, not the side and back teeth. There were no options for the side and back teeth. The pamphlet suggested to plan on wearing these gel strips for 30 minutes. The pamphlet also said I could talk on the phone, take a shower, and do all these other things while wearing Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus . I’m surprised it didn’t say I could ride a horse and change the oil on a car at the same time too. I get the point, these are supposed to be really comfortable and not even noticeable that I’m wearing them.
The directions said I should not brush my teeth before using the strips. That made no sense to me because one would think you would want clean teeth when you whiten them. I didn’t follow the no brushing recommendation and brushed my teeth anyway.
The directions warned me that my fingers could get white spots if the gel touched my skin, but it would easily wash off. They were right. I proceeded to carefully open these packets and when it came to peeling the clear gel strips I felt like a real klutz. They slid and folded and I could tell I probably needed tweezers with my impatient fingers. I realized the strips were smaller than the foil they were peeled from so I must have pulled the thin clear strip from the wrong place. I proceeded to place the strips on my upper and lower teeth and quickly wash the white spots from my fingers. I make a mental note of the time so I know when 30 minutes are up. I saw some slight foaming beneath the strips, but other than that there were no weird sensitivities or sensations or discomfort, OTHER THAN there was no way I would feel comfortable talking on the phone or to anyone without feeling like I was going to swallow these strips. Additionally I had to make a concentrated effort not to touch them with my tongue and at some point the lower one slid out of place. 30 minutes later I peel the Crest Whitestrips and I don’t have the best bathroom lighting in the world but I could tell my teeth looked whiter. I was ecstatic. They said I would start seeing results in 3 days and I started seeing results on the first day. Day 2 my experience removing the clear strips from the foil was no easier and putting these strips in perfect alignment on my teeth was no easier. But again, the whitening results showed.
Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus does indeed work at whitening your teeth. In fact, one front tooth had some enamel work done years ago and Crest says the white strips don’t whiten dental work, but apparently it worked on mine anyway. I find the product to be a pain in the gluteus maximus to use though. I feel like I am going to swallow these strips and sometimes they slip out of place. I really wish they made these strips longer and wider so they could fold better over the teeth and hold better. I also wish the strips were the size of the foil they peel from so that I don’t jumble them up as they slide off the wrapper from the perforated border. If you use these strips you will know what I am talking about. Imagine a sheet of stickers. You have to pop a sticker out from the border. In this case it is the clear gel strip. But since the whole border is coated with the slippery gel, it all slides off when you try to remove the middle. It is extremely awkward. Also, the lower teeth strips just don’t seem to stay in place or be the right size. I know other people have experienced these sliding problems too, so its not like I am white strip challenged. These Crest Whitestrips are just very challenging to use.
Now for some facts
Whitestrips contain hydrogen peroxide, which the Crest people say is “the same enamel-safe ingredient used in professional tooth whitening systems. ” They also say “Hydrogen peroxide has been used in various products and at various levels to whiten teeth since the late 1980s, and is also found in commonly marketed toothpaste products.”
The Crest web site also says it is okay to use two boxes consecutively to get more whitening. Although they recommend using one to two boxes every 12 months.
Regarding swallowing of the gel they say there are no adverse effects because it contains such a small amount of peroxide.
To learn more about Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus and their other white strip products visit the manufacturer’s website at these links:
Crest White Strips Product Comparison