What If I Leave Whitening Strips On Over Night? – Is it Safe?

what happens if i leave whitening strips on overnight. selective focus photography of woman smiling

What Happens If I Leave Whitening Strips On Over Night?

I have been using whitening strips for almost 2 years now. I am very impressed with the results. My teeth are noticeably whiter and brighter.

But there is one thing that I always wondered about: what happens if I leave the whitening strips on overnight?

So, I decided to experiment and find out for myself. Here is my experience:

Can you leave crest whitening strips on overnight?

No, it is not safe to leave crest whitening strips on overnight. The strips are designed to be worn for a specific amount of time, as outlined in the instructions, and leaving them on for too long can cause damage to your teeth and gums.

Potential risks include sensitivity, soreness, bleeding gums, and the progressive destruction of your teeth. Instead, consider using alternative teeth whitening methods such as tooth-whitening toothpaste or a tray-based kit, or try whitening emulsions.

What happens if i leave whitening strips on overnight?

Leaving whitening strips on for an extended period of time can lead to tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. It can also cause uneven whitening or discoloration. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not attempt to speed up the whitening process by leaving the strips on longer than recommended.

To use whitening strips safely and effectively, set a timer to ensure they are only worn for the recommended time and avoid using them too frequently.

What are the risks of using whitening strips overnight?

1. Higher Chance of Tooth or Jawbone Damage

Leaving whitening strips on overnight can increase the risk of tooth or jawbone damage in several ways.

  1. longer wear time can result in tooth sensitivity and gum discomfort. If you’re prone to tooth sensitivity, it is most likely to appear early on in the treatment process.
  2. in some cases, whitening strips can cause tooth damage. The peroxide may destroy the layers of your teeth, causing demineralization and erosion. This is more likely to happen if you overuse whitening strips.
  3. if your teeth are damaged and have holes in them, or you just has a tooth extraction the bleaching products are going to seep into these crevices and hit nerves, which can mean major pain and severe damage to your teeth.
  4. irritated gums, also referred to as soft tissue irritation or chemical burns, might pop up if you accidentally leave strips on your teeth for too long.

2. Increased Risk of Gingivitis

Using whitening strips overnight can increase the risk of gingivitis. Prolonged exposure to the strips can cause tooth sensitivity and gum discomfort, as recommended by dental professionals. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and occurs due to the accumulation of plaque around the teeth, leading to inflammation of the gums.

Symptoms of gingivitis include

  • tenderness,
  • swelling,
  • sore gums,
  • and bleeding from the gums.

Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can also help prevent gum disease.

3. Risk of Bleeding Gums

Using whitening strips overnight can lead to gum bleeding due to extended wear time. The longer the strips are on, the higher the risk of sensitivity and gum discomfort. This is because the whitening agents in the strips can irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Gum bleeding can occur when the gums become sensitive and inflamed.

While it may seem like a minor issue, it can lead to long-term effects if left untreated. Persistent gum bleeding can indicate the presence of gum disease, which can cause tooth loss in adults.

4. Increased Risk of Tooth Discoloration

Leaving whitening strips on overnight can increase the risk of tooth discoloration. The peroxide in the whitening strips can destroy the layers of your teeth, causing demineralization and erosion. This can result in intrinsic discoloration, which occurs over time and reflects the natural aging process of teeth, or extrinsic color stains, which are due to other factors such as smoking, coffee or medications, and can result in discoloration earlier.

To prevent this from happening, it’s best to follow the usage instructions for each product. Longer wear time can result in tooth sensitivity and/or gum discomfort.

person wearing silver diamond ring what happens if i leave whitening strips on overnight

5. Risk of Over-Whitening

Overuse of whitening strips can lead to demineralization and erosion of the layers of your teeth, causing tooth damage. The concentration of peroxide bleach, other ingredients in the product, and how long you use the whitening strips can also affect the severity of the side effects.

Gum irritation in the form of chemical burns, white spotting, and tooth sensitivity can occur if you leave the strips on for too long. Remember, the color of your teeth should match the whites of your eyes, and over-whitening can lead to a chalky or splotchy appearance – just think about hollywood actors.

6. Risk of Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation

Leaving whitening strips on overnight can have serious consequences for your sleep quality. Insomnia and sleep deprivation are common risks associated with leaving whitening strips on overnight. The chemicals in the strips can irritate your gums and cause discomfort, leading to difficulty falling asleep quickly.

In conclusion, while leaving whitening strips on overnight may seem like a quick solution, it can have serious consequences on your sleep quality.

How to use whitening strips overnight safely

It is not safe to use whitening strips overnight as it may cause sensitivity, discomfort, gum soreness, bleeding, and bacterial infection. To safely use whitening strips overnight, follow these steps:

  1. Start by reading the instructions provided with the specific brand of whitening strips being used.
  2. Brush your teeth before applying the strips to ensure that your teeth are clean and dry.
  3. Apply the strips to your teeth, making sure they are properly aligned and in contact with your teeth.
  4. Set an alarm to remind you to remove the strips after the recommended time, which is usually 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. If you experience sensitivity or discomfort, remove the strips immediately and rinse your mouth with water.
  6. If you want to use the strips for an extended period of time, try using them every other day or every two days instead of daily.

Comparison of Types of Whitening Strips

Whitening Strip TypeSuggested Usage Length at NightElaboration
Type A whitening strips30 minutesThey typically contain lower concentrations of whitening agents and are suitable for individuals with sensitive teeth or gums.
Type B whitening strips45 minutesThey usually have a slightly higher concentration of whitening agents, allowing for more effective results within a reasonable time frame. They are commonly used by individuals seeking moderate teeth whitening.
Type C whitening strips1 hourThey generally contain higher concentrations of whitening agents and may provide more noticeable results. They are often chosen by individuals with significant teeth staining or discoloration.
Type D whitening strips2 hoursThey are designed for intensive whitening treatments. These strips typically have the highest concentrations of whitening agents and are suitable for individuals with persistent teeth discoloration.
Type E whitening stripsOvernightThey are specifically formulated to be worn overnight during sleep. They generally have a lower concentration of whitening agents, allowing for gradual and extended teeth whitening over several nights.
Comparison of Whitening Strips and Suggested Nighttime Usage Length

Remember, these descriptions are based on general trends and may not reflect the exact characteristics of all whitening strip products.


Are whitening strips safe?

Whitening strips are generally considered safe and effective for removing surface-level stains on teeth. Leaving whitening strips on for too long can cause discomfort and sensitivity, so it’s recommended to only use products approved by the American Dental Association and containing no more than 10% peroxide content.

How long should one leave the whitening strips on?

The ideal duration for which whitening strips should be left on depends on the product’s strength and instructions. It can range from five minutes to an hour.

Additionally, children, pregnant women, and people with existing dental issues should avoid whitening strips.

Can you sleep with teeth whitening trays?

It is not safe to sleep with teeth whitening trays on. While tray-based whitening kits involve placing a mouthpiece over your teeth, like a retainer or brace, wearing them overnight can lead to serious pain and discomfort.

Are there any alternatives to using whitening strips?

Here are some over-the-counter alternatives to using whitening strips:

  1. Try a tray-based kit that involves placing a mouthpiece over your teeth for at least four hours before wearing it to sleep.
  2. Undergo laser whitening at a dental surgery for a faster and more immediate solution, but it’s a more expensive option.
  3. A LED teeth whitening kit typically consists of a mouth tray or applicator and a LED light device. The LED light helps activate the whitening gel or strips, enhancing the effectiveness of the whitening process and potentially yielding quicker results.
  4. Hydrogen peroxide gel is a bleaching agent that helps to remove stains and discoloration from the teeth. The gel is typically applied to the teeth using whitening trays or strips, allowing the hydrogen peroxide to penetrate and whiten the enamel.
  5. Whitening Toothpaste contains mild abrasives that help remove surface stains from the teeth. It is a convenient option for gradual whitening and maintenance of teeth color, although it may not provide dramatic results.
  6. Whitening pens are small, portable devices filled with a whitening gel. They allow for targeted application directly onto the teeth, making them suitable for touch-ups or spot treatments. They are easy to use and provide a quick solution for brightening specific areas.
  7. Professional in-office teeth whitening treatments are performed by dentists and offer the most immediate and noticeable results. These procedures often involve a high-concentration whitening gel and may be combined with light or heat to accelerate the process, providing significant whitening in a single visit.

Remember, whitening strips should not be worn overnight and it’s important to follow instructions and purchase only ADA-approved products.


By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.