Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Using Whitestrips

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Using Whitestrips

 Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Using Whitestrips

Should you be brushing after whitestrips or similar at-home whitening treatments? Are you constantly wondering, “Do I brush my teeth after whitening strips or before?”

A lot of us have the same dilemma when it comes to brushing and flossing (which comes first, the chicken or the egg?) But when you brush your teeth in relation to using whitening products can impact how well they work. And in turn, the level of brightness you see from your investment. So in turn, the order in which you do them is actually kind of important. To save time and money, you need to make sure you’re always reading and directly following any directions related to brushing after Whitestrips or similar types of bleaching products.

Do I brush my teeth after whitening strips or gels are applied? Brushing after Whitestrips may not make a huge difference, but it could partially impact the type of results you see. Although not significantly noticeable, brushing after using Whitestrips could limit further effectiveness on lifting residual stain particles inside of the porous surfaces of your tooth enamel. It’s probably best to avoid brushing (or eating or drinking) for at least a half hour or more. However, Whitestrips instruct users to not brush prior to applying the product to their teeth.

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before Or After Using Whitestrips?

Every whitening system works differently. It’s super important to always read the directions, because what’s ok for one type of whitening strip may be a no-no for another one.

With Whitestrips, manufacturer directions don’t say anything about brushing after Whitestrips application, but rather not brushing beforehand. If you’re thinking, “There’s going to be plaque on my teeth that gets in the way,” part of the reasoning behind these instructions is that immediately brushing your teeth right before you apply the product will prevent them from sticking to your enamel securely. And if they can’t stick correctly, they can’t whiten. They’ll literally be slipping off of your teeth and you’ll have to throw them away.

Best Way To Prepare Before White Strips Or Bleaching

Even though you aren’t supposed to brush right before using Whitestrips, you do need to brush regularly throughout the day (and on a daily basis.) If you’re not brushing thoroughly, there will be excessive stain and buildup that physically blocks the whitening gel. If your teeth are dirty, you’re probably going to see splotchy results depending on how much contact the strip is able to make on your teeth.

1) First, Schedule A Professional Dental Cleaning. 

If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen your hygienist, you want to make sure your teeth don’t have any tartar buildup, thick stain, or heavy areas of plaque that you don’t know about. This will give you a blank slate to work with.

2) Make Sure You’re Flossing Daily And Brushing Twice Per Day. 

An electric toothbrush is best, because it’s more effective at removing plaque and preventing new buildup. But since it won’t reach between your teeth, you need to make sure you’re using floss or a water flosser to clean those extra curves.

3) Read The Package Instructions. 

No matter if you’ve used a similar product before or not. Almost every whitening kit works differently, even if it’s the same brand. Some say wear them 30 minutes, others are designed to sleep in overnight. You don’t want to mix them up.

4) Wait To Whiten If You Just Brushed

Wait at least 30-60 minutes before applying your bleaching strips after BrushingYour mouth needs a little time to reset before your teeth aren’t glossy-smooth anymore so that your strips can stick. Brush, wait a while, then bleach before you do any snacking. If you notice that they’re slipping off, wait longer next time.

5) Don’t Bleach Clothes!

Make sure you’re not using any hand towels or wearing any clothes that would get ruined if bleach accidentally got on them. If the strips can whiten your teeth, they can also ruin fabrics.

How To Handle Post Whitestrips Application

Once it’s time to take off your Whitestrips, you’ll feel a thin layer of semi-sticky gel on your teeth. Does it need to stay on there longer? Do I brush my teeth after Whitening strips or should I wait longer? It’s kind of up to you. A lot of people want to get straight to brushing after Whitestrips, while others prefer to try to ignore the leftover bits of gel and go about their day. Personally, I don’t mind waiting a little while longer before brushing, especially if I’ve had more coffee or tea as of late. But brushing immediately after you pull the strip off is completely fine. And honestly, you’ll probably be happier if you do.

WARNING: One thing you do NOT want to do after you take off your Whitestrips is eat or drink anything other than water. This is even more important than brushing after you take the strips off. Why? Because recently bleached teeth are like magnets for tooth stain. If it can stain, it will. And it will mean you have to work longer to get your enamel as bright as you want to.

As a general rule of thumb, if your drink or food would stain a white shirt, don’t put it in your mouth. Because if you do, it will start to re-stain your teeth. Now all of that isn’t to say you can never have those things again, but you need to wait until after your whitening system is complete (plus some.) The sooner you go back to them, the faster the stain will return. Using an electric toothbrush, drinking through a straw, and rinsing your mouth out with water frequently can help you cut back on new stains developing.

Ask Your Dentist About Whitening 

If you aren’t seeing great results from an over-the-counter product, it may not have anything to do with if you’re brushing after Whitestrips or gels. It may just be that you have naturally darker teeth, which are harder to whiten. Or maybe you have existing dental work in that area, which is physically impossible to bleach into a brighter color. Or you might need a dental cleaning, because there’s stain and buildup preventing the gel from even penetrating your teeth. After your hygienist polishes your enamel, your teeth will be ready to roll for whitening.

Ultimately if you want to whiten your teeth the brightest, fastest, and safest way possible, you want to talk to your dentist. They’ll give you an unbiased, professional opinion on how to get the most out of your investment. You might even better benefit to go with a professional whitening system, such as custom trays or an in-office laser procedure.

Teeth Whitening Recap

Should you be brushing after Whitestrips or before? Definitely not before, but it probably doesn’t hurt to wait a while to brush after your treatment as well. But eventually, you’ll want to brush off some of that residual sticky whitening gel. If you’re going to ask me, “Do I brush my teeth after whitening strips?” I would say go ahead and wait 15-30 minutes if you want. If not, that’s ok too. Just don’t eat or drink anything that would stain a white T-shirt for the rest of the day (if at all possible.) The more important thing to remember is not brushing before you put the Whitestrips on, rather than worrying about brushing after.

 Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Last updated onNovember 19, 2022Here is our process

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