What To Do After Whitening Strips?

This blog post will address the topic, “what to do after whitening strips” and cover topics like whitening strips, how they work , what research says about their efficacy, their potential side effects and safety precautions to be taken while using whitening strips.

What To Do After Whitening Strips

After whitening strips, you can do any one of the following to remove the left over harmless gel:

  1. Oral rinse with only water.
  1. Remove the remaining gel from your teeth by wiping it out.
  1. Brush off the remaining gel.
  1. Leave it to dissolve on its own.

What are whitening strips?

Whitening strips are an over-the-counter, very thin and invisible teeth whitening product containing peroxide-based whitening gel.

The strips are applied following the instructions printed on the label.

It takes a few days for the initial results to appear and almost 4 months for the final results.

Whitening strips can be uncomfortable on your teeth and gums if not properly used.

Are Whitening Strips Effective In Whitening Your Teeth: What Does Research Say?

A study published in the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry investigated the tooth whitening effects of various concentrations of carbamide peroxide (CP) gels and 6% hydrogen peroxide (HP) whitening strips.

The study concluded that carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide containing home-use bleaching systems can achieve considerable tooth whitening outcomes.

The amount of whitening depends on the concentration and duration of exposure, the study reported.

Another new clinical research confirms that teeth whitening strips containing 6.5% hydrogen peroxide are effective in lightening the tetracycline stains when used daily for 1 month.

How do Whitening Strips Work?

Whitening strips contain around 6% of peroxide that helps to whiten the teeth. 

Peroxide is a type of bleach. Most strips contain hydrogen peroxide as their main component but some manufacturers may use carbamide peroxide.

Depending on the product’s peroxide concentration and also exposure time printed on the label, you might have to wear the strips for 30 minutes once or twice a day and repeat the process for 14 days or more as instructed.

Side-Effects Associated With Whitening Strips

Yes. Whitening strips do have some minimal side effects and can cause gum irritation and oral discomfort if not used as per instructions on the label.

The severity of side effects depend on several factors:

  • peroxide bleach concentration 
  • how long your teeth are exposed to the whitening strips
  • tooth sensitivity history

It is recommended to read and follow the instructions printed on the label and not to use the whitening strips longer than suggested. 

Some side effects that may result if instructions are not followed as recommended:

Tooth Sensitivity

Teeth whitening strips contain bleaching agents that create micro-pores in the enamel and may reach your dentin causing sensitivity and discomfort by irritating the nerves.

Gum Irritation

If you use your teeth whitening strips for a longer time than recommended or wear them incorrectly, peroxide coating in them may irritate your gums.

However, the gum irritation is temporary and will disappear in a few days after stopping or completing treatment.

Tooth Damage

Tooth damage occurs mostly when the teeth whitening strips are overused, resulting in demineralisation and erosion of the layers of the teeth.

Tips To Prevent Or Reduce The Side Effects Of Whitening Strips

Tooth sensitivity and Gum irritation are two common and temporary side effects of teeth whitening strips that disappear within one to three days of stopping or completing the treatment.

Tooth sensitivity usually occurs due to overuse or not proper use of whitening strips. On the other hand, gum irritation is a common cause of ill-fitting trays containing whitening gels.

You can prevent or reduce the side effects of teeth whitening strips by following the below mentioned instructions:

  • Reduce the time of wearing the tooth whitening tray from one 60 minute session to two 30 minute sessions
  • As soon as you notice teeth sensitivity, stop the whitening for 2-3 days..
  • Get a high fluoride-containing product from your dentist or pharmacist and apply it to the tray and wear it for 4 minutes before and after using the whitening agent. This will help remineralize the teeth.
  • Use an anti-sensitivity toothpaste that will help soothe your sensitivity
  • Ensure that you are using a safe whitening product

What Is The Correct Way Of Using Teeth Whitening Strips?

Read the instructions carefully

Although most whitening strips are applied and used in a similar manner, some brands may have different instructions.

Brush your teeth 30 minutes before applying whitening strips

To avoid trapping any food or bacteria under the strip resulting in poor teeth whitening results. 

Brushing your teeth also allows hydrogen peroxide in the whitener to penetrate your enamel better.

Prepare your strips carefully

Make sure to apply the right strip to the correct location and apply in such a way that the whitening agent contacts the entire surface of your teeth except the gums.

Apply the strips to your teeth after drying out the teeth surface for better results.

Avoid any contact with the gums to prevent discomfort.

Wait patiently till the recommended time printed on the label

Generally, you have to wait for 30 minutes before removing the strips.

Take the strips off after the recommended time and make sure not to keep it for longer than recommended time.

Clean your mouth after using the strips

Try rinsing with water or brushing your teeth to ensure that all the whitening gel is out of your mouth. 

Be cautious not to swallow the whitening agent as it may be toxic.

For best results, eat only after an hour.

Repeat the process

Use twice daily for 30 minutes at a time or as recommended.

Use it once a month after you have achieved your desired shade.

Final results will show up after around 4 months but may also require an in-office treatment by your dentist. 

What Precautions Must Be Taken While Using Teeth Whitening Strips?

Don’t Swallow Any Gel From The Strips

Take precaution to not swallow any amount of peroxide. 

If you swallow only small amounts of peroxide, it will pass through the system without causing any toxicity.

Swallowing a considerable amount of peroxide will cause toxicity and may irritate the stomach.

Stop If Sensitivity Occurs

Stop the treatment if sensitivity develops in the gums. 

Sensitivity results due to direct contact of the bleaching agent with the gums or overuse of the teeth whitening strips. 

Sensitivity is, however , temporary and resolves in 2-3 days after stoppage of treatment.

Consult your dentist if sensitivity persists beyond 3 days.

Ask Your Dentist Before Using Any Whitening Product

Consultation with the dentist before starting any procedure is crucial for best results.

Should I Brush My Teeth Before Whitening Strips?

Yes. It is critical to brush your teeth before whitening strips. 

Brush your teeth and then wait for at least 30 minutes before applying whitening strips. 

Applying whitening strips immediately after brushing can irritate your gums and cause discomfort. 

Brushing your teeth before using whitening strips, opens the pores in the teeth and makes your teeth more receptive to the whitening agent present in the whitening strips.

Make sure you use a wet toothbrush without a fluoridated toothpaste or any toothpaste at all, before using whitening strips.

Can I Brush My Teeth After Using Whitening Strips?

You can brush your teeth after waiting at least 30 minutes to one hour of using whitening strips.

It is not advised to brush immediately after using whitening strips as the enamel is porous and can erode, weakening the teeth and making it sensitive.

Brush gently after using whitening strips, to ensure complete rinsing off the chemicals and prevent the risk of gum irritation and discomfort.

It is also recommended to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes before using whitening strips to remove any plaque.

Is It Safe To Eat After Whitening?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to eat after an hour of completing the entire whitening process. 

However, you may feel some sensitivity for a couple of hours after whitening which is normal.

It is advised to avoid eating and drinking too hot or cold just after whitening and must wait for a few hours to allow the open pores on enamel to close.

Avoid using crest white strips immediately before breakfast or before eating because using them creates micro-porosities in the teeth that increases the risk of developing sensitivity and staining.

You must make sure that you eat anything after an hour of using whitening strips.

Foods To Avoid After Teeth Whitening Procedure

It is important to know about the foods that can cause staining if used after teeth whitening procedure and hence must be avoided.

Foods like chocolates, blueberries, sauces, curry, turmeric and drinks like fruit juice, red wine, tea and coffee must be avoided after teeth whitening procedure, at least for a couple of hours, if not forever.

It is important to note that eating or drinking stain causing food is not bad but not properly brushing after having them is a poor oral hygiene and is considered bad for your teeth.

It is also recommended to not smoke or use any form of tobacco after teeth whitening strips or any teeth whitening procedure.


This blog post addressed the topic, “what to do after whitening strips”. We understood about whitening strips, how they work , what research says about their efficacy, their potential side effects and safety precautions to be taken while using whitening strips.

The article outlined some important concerns related to using whitening strips like whether one should brush before or after whitening strips, if one can eat after whitening and foods to avoid after teeth whitening.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): What To Do After Whitening Strips

What Are The Best Teeth Whitening Strips Available In The Market?

The best teeth whitening over-the counter strips available in the market are: 

Crest 3D White Glamorous White Whitestrips

These are very convenient to use as indicated by the patients.

The strips contain around 14 percent hydrogen peroxide, and are used once daily for 30 minutes for almost 2 weeks. On proper use, they help to get rid of both extrinsic and intrinsic stains.

Crest 3D Whitestrips Gentle Whitening Kit

Most beneficial for teeth whitening in sensitive teeth as it contains only around 6 percent of hydrogen peroxide.

Must be worn for 2 weeks, once daily.

Do you rinse after Crest White Strips?

Yes, you can rinse after crest white strips with any over-the-counter mouthwash.

It is, however, recommended to use Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse to make whitening more effective and last longer.

How do I close the pores on my teeth after whitening?

Use products like Pro-Argin Toothpaste from colgate, to close the pores on your teeth after whitening.

The coating of such paste remineralizes the enamel, closes the pores and reduces the teeth sensitivity.

Why do my teeth look more yellow after whitening?

Your teeth look more yellow after whitening strips because when you are whitening teeth using whitening strips, the porosity of the enamel temporarily increases to allow the whitening agent to reach the discolored molecules in the teeth. 

This increase in enamel porosity makes your teeth look more yellow and increases the chances of staining right after you use whitening strips.

What age should you whiten your teeth?

As recommended by dentists, you should consider whitening your teeth when all your teeth are permanent, with no baby teeth left in the mouth.

Appropriate age for getting a whitening procedure is only after 14-16 years of age and not earlier than this.

Other FAQs about Whitening Strips that you may be interested in.

Is it bad to leave whitening strips on too long?

How To Use Crest White Strips 1 Hour Express?

How long to keep whitening strips on?


Teeth Whitening. (2019)


Healthline. (2020)


Sulieman, Munther, et al. “Tooth bleaching by different concentrations of carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide whitening strips: an in vitro study.” Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry 18.2 (2006): 93-100.

Kugel, Gerard, et al. “Daily use of whitening strips on tetracycline-stained teeth: comparative results after 2 months.” COMPENDIUM-NEWTOWN- 23.1A (2002): 29-34.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe? (2019)


Teeth Whitening


Do You Brush Your Teeth after Using Whitening Strips? (2019)


Teeth Whitening Aftercare. (2019)

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