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Crest Whitestrips: Do They work?

Crest Whitestrips have become extremely popular for their convenience and affordability.

They do work and can be an easy solution for whiter teeth, but you need to know some of the risks with this teeth whitening method before you try it.

In this post, I’ll discuss how Crest Whitestrips and similar brands work.

How crest white strips work

Crest Whitestrips work by pressing on a clear strip of whitening gel against the teeth for several minutes to whiten them.

The strips are made of a plastic material and are coated with adhesive and hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide whitening gel. It takes several minutes for the whitening gel to penetrate the enamel to “bleach” the teeth.

The same ingredients dentists use to whiten teeth are found in these at-home whitening strips but at lower concentrations

Crest whitestrips ingredients

Here are some of the ingredients found in Crest Whitestrips:

  • PEG-8
  • Carbomer
  • Sodium saccharin
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Acrylates copolymer
  • Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)
  • Polyethylene

Some of these ingredients are toxic to the body and should be limited in use. For detailed safety information, check out (Environmental Working Group).

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are commonly used to whiten teeth. These ingredients are generally safe as long as the peroxide doesn’t contact the sensitive gum tissue.

The issue with Whitestrips is that the whitening gel isn’t adequately sealed away from the gum tissue the way a custom whitening tray does.

Pvp & carbomer

The PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone) and carbomer used in Crest Whitestrips (for sticking to the teeth) are generally fairly safe and non-toxic. However, overuse of these products can irritate the gums and damage enamel.

Sodium hydroxide

According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), sodium hydroxide is considered a toxic chemical because of its corrosive qualities. This can cause teeth sensitivity, an extremely common side effect of teeth whitening.

Is crest whitestrips safe?

Crest 3D Glamorous Whitestrips is approved by the American Dental Association, and are considered safe when used occasionally and in moderation.

If used incorrectly or too frequently, this product may cause damage to your gums and teeth.

And because of the one-size-fits-all design of these strips, it’s impossible to get a perfect seal and even distribution of the whitening gel on the teeth. This is especially true if there’s any overlap or crowding of the teeth.

There is also the risk of bleaching the gums and irritating them.

A safer method I recommend is using custom whitening trays instead, which are custom-made to fit your teeth perfectly to seal the whitening gel evenly on your teeth.

At Thrive, we provide our patients with complimentary custom whitening trays and professional whitening gel so you can whiten your teeth most effectively.

How to use crest whitestrips

To use Crest Whitestrips,

  1. Do not brush your teeth before using white strips
  2. Cut each strip (upper and lower) to the exact height of your teeth.
  3. Peel of the plastic covering.
  4. Place each strip on your teeth, avoiding the gums.
  5. Leave the strips on your teeth for 5 minutes or less.
  6. Remove the strips.
  7. Rinse your mouth with water.
  8. Wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
  9. Repeat these steps up to 2 times per day.
  10. Do not exceed the number of days or time recommended.

Crest 3D Whitestrips can stay on the teeth for 3o minutes for faster results.

Although some of these whitening kits include UV lights to “accelerate” the process, studies show that these lights may not be that effective and can possibly damage the teeth.

Do not wear Crest Whitestrips to bed or while sleeping.

Do I need to use whitening toothpaste also?

Despite what the marketing for whitening toothpaste says, it’s the peroxide in the Whitestrips that whitens the teeth. Toothpaste can only remove extrinsic staining (surface stains).

Will crest whitestrips work for me?

Depending on the type of discoloration you have, Crest whitening kits may or may not work for you.

If you have yellowing due to aging, poor nutrition, smoking, this whitening method may work for you. But if you have dark and greyed teeth, Crest Whitestrips may not work for you.   Crest Whitestrips use peroxide to penetrate the dentin to whiten the teeth.   In cases like this, such as tetracycline staining or trauma, veneers or crowns may be a better option.   Note: Whitening products will not whiten veneers, crowns, or anything other than your natural teeth.

Alternatives to crest whitestrips

A great non-toxic alternative to this product is Hydroxyapatite toothpaste. This toothpaste remineralizes your teeth and prevents cavities with the bonus of whitening your teeth!

Using a high-quality electric toothbrush contributes to whiter teeth by removing extrinsic staining (surface stains) daily.

I also recommend using custom whitening trays from your dentist and professional whitening gel for the best results.

I don’t recommend activated charcoal because it’s highly abrasive and can wear away your enamel with long-term use.

Also, avoid using lemon to whiten your teeth. The high acidity of the lemon can cause enamel erosion and yellowing of the teeth.

To learn more about the risks of DIY whitening and home remedies, check out this post.

How to prevent teeth stains

For healthy, white teeth, prevention is key.

Follow these steps to keep your smile white:

  • Practice good oral care (brush, floss, and tongue scrape daily)
  • Drink more water throughout the day
  • Avoid sticky, chewy, sugary, and processed foods
  • Limit dark or staining foods and beverages like coffee and wine
  • Drink beverages through a straw
  • Rinse your mouth after staining foods and beverages
  • Come in for regular dental visits and cleanings


Crest Whitestrips are a convenient and affordable teeth whitening method that can whiten your smile at home.

Although they’re generally considered safe, these products contain some chemicals that can irritate the gums and mouth.

The best way to use whitening strips is to cut them to the exact height of your teeth and apply them to your teeth, avoiding touching the gums as much as possible.

Avoid UV lights, which can increase sensitivity and possibly cause damage to the teeth.

Not everyone is a candidate for these products, depending on the type of discoloration they have.

Because of the one-size-fits-all design, Crest Whitestrips may not whiten the teeth evenly and protect the gums.

For a safer and more effective way to whiten your teeth, we’ve got you covered!

Come on in for complimentary custom whitening trays and professional whitening gel!

by: Dr. Christine Coughlin DDS

Learn more:

Before whitening your teeth: 5 things you need to know

Teeth Whitening at Home vs. at the Dentist

Best Teeth Whitening

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