The first time I used whitening strips, I was taken aback by how pearly white my teeth looked. I have used it regularly since and that too from the same pack of strips that I had bought over 18 months ago.
I didn’t seem to notice it much, but the whitening impact from the strips looked faded. Running a check through the pack for correct usage, I came across something I should have thought of a long time ago: the expiry date.
That’s when I looked into the dawning question to find out, “do teeth whitening strips expire?”
Do Teeth Whitening Strips Expire?
Like all products, teeth whitening strips also expire. The expiration date on teeth whitening strips is the shelf life of the product.
Although the expiration date of whitening strips mainly depends on distinctive brands and how the strips are made, most whitening strips, irrespective of brand, have a shelf life of one year.
When the whitening strip expires and is used beyond the designated date, the strip is still considered to be safe for your gums and teeth. Nevertheless, they are not as effective anymore. The whitening effect of strips is chiefly contributed by active ingredients in the strips, which work through the layers to get rid of the stains.
Beyond the expiry date, the active ingredient is not as potent anymore. Although there is no apparent harm in using expired teeth whitening strips, dentists dissuade excessive use of whitening strips, expired or not.
Can I Use Expired Whitening Strips?
You can use expired whitening strips. Though, according to dental experts, using expired whitening strips is not recommended. The reason you may want to avoid using an old whitening strip has nothing to do with safety.
While the whitening strip past its expiry date might not wreck your gums or teeth, it is not as effective anymore. The decrease in its whitening effects is often noticeable as well, although you may get some whitening tint out of the strips.
Generally, whitening strips contain active ingredients, one of them being hydrogen peroxide. These active ingredients directly work within or through the enamel, as well as other protein layers of the teeth, to bleach out the upper, yellowish layer on the teeth.
When an expired whitening strip is used, these active ingredients are not in their full potential anymore.
Since the whitening effect on teeth will vary from person to person, some expired strips may work slightly more for certain sets of teeth than others. The whitening strips may not be as effective on hard stains but temporary coffee or juice stains could be removed with them.
Since whitening strips can come at hefty prices, many people claim to have used old strips without any damaging effects.
Are Expired Whitening Strips Safe?
Expired teeth whitening strips are safe to use. When anything expires, including a dental strip, its shelf life comes to an end. This means, that the product’s potency and effectiveness will not be the same anymore.
Thus, using an expired whitening strip will not be dangerous or damaging to your perfect, and cared for teeth.
Yet, many dentists discourage the prolonged use of such strips. Whitening strips, even if they are well within their shelf life, can cause damage to your enamel with excessive use.
Our teeth have 3 layers of collagen, detin, and a protective layer of enamel. As we discussed, teeth whitening strips contain active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide.
In long-term use, hydrogen peroxide causes one of the detin layers to weaken. Besides, when these protective layers are eroded, your teeth are most likely to become more sensitive as well. For safer use of whitening strips, a fluoride-based strip prevents such an issue.
We assume you have been or want to use teeth whitening strips to ensure the maximum whitening effect for your teeth. You can go ahead and use a strip that has been sitting on your bath shelf for years, but what’s the point if it does not make your teeth look as good as new.
But sure, these strips can be quite expensive. So, if you are willing to use them even past the expiration date, we understand. But it’s best to keep in mind that they may be safe, but not so effective.
Finding Whitening Strips Expiration Date
You may be using whitening strips that have been sitting on your shelf for years, knowing all too well that the expiry date is well over. You see slight whitening effects, and more importantly, notice that no harm is being done to your teeth. Fair enough.
Many people, on the contrary, continue to whiten their teeth using strips past the shelf life, because they are oblivion to the expiration date seal. Some fail to find it, while others simply don’t remember to look.
We cannot blame them entirely for reasons that most companies don’t place the expiry date clearly while packaging. We suggest you look all around the package, but it is most likely that you might find it on either side of the pack. You can also inspect the wrapper itself.
If you still can’t find the expiry date and wish to know as you should, contact the company or visit their website to find out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do with the expired teeth whitening strips?
If your dental whitening strips are expired by months, it probably best to dispose of them. You can offer it to someone if they want it, but don’t forget to mention the expiration date. If you STILL wish to use it, you can do so. Just remember, you won’t get much benefit out of it.
Having used teeth whitening strips well past their expiry date, and through all the expert opinions we have access to, I can agree that teeth whitening strips expire, indeed. They have a shelf life of 12 to 15 months on average, and using them after that period would not be effective.
One thing’s for sure though, an expired whitening strip won’t do much harm to your enamel, at least not as much as overusing the strips would!