Does Bleaching Gel Expire?

Bleaching gels can give you bright, white teeth.

Photo: Ralf Nau/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When you flash a smile, you want your pearly whites to be high-wattage, not dim and dull. But if you love coffee, tea, red wine or all of the above, you may have noticed your teeth losing some of their brightness over time. That’s where a bleaching gel can come in. If you have a box of at-home whitening gel you haven’t used in a while, check the expiration date because the bleaching gel may have lost some of its effectiveness.

Ingredients

Whether they come from your dentist or local drugstore, most bleaching gels contain some type of peroxide, a natural bleaching agent. This includes hydrogen or carbamide peroxide that helps get your teeth white and shiny. These bleaching gels can then be painted on your teeth or squeezed onto a bleaching tray that you wear overnight. Most bleaching gels will be stamped with an expiration date that comes either on the box or the gel tube itself that can help you keep track of how long your bleaching gel will last.

How It Breaks Down

Active ingredients in your health and beauty products usually go one of two ways: Either the products lose their effectiveness or they become more powerful. In the case of bleaching gels, they expire because the active ingredients become less effective. This means the bleaching gel isn’t likely to harm your teeth or gums, but it’s not going to give you the whitening results you were hoping for either.

Time Frame

A bleaching gel’s expiration date really depends on few factors, including the active ingredients, how it’s stored and how long the manufacturer says it will last. Some gels are good after a year while others last for about six months. Although bleaching gels may make an unusual addition to your refrigerator, storing them in a cool place like your refrigerator can help extend shelf life.

How You Tell

While the expired hydrogen peroxide in your bleaching gel won’t hurt, it won’t help you either, according to “Fitness” magazine. If you’ve lost the expiration information on your bleaching gel and try it, you can tell it’s expired if it doesn’t seem to be working as effectively as it once did. Other signs include if the gel is discolored or has an unusual odor.

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