Does Teeth Whitening Gel Expire?

May 19, 2020 | Teeth Whitening FAQs | 0 comments

Does teeth whitening gel expire? The short answer is: “Yes.”

Whenever you purchase teeth whitening gel of any kind, whether for home or professional use, you should check the expiration date. Make sure you have enough time to use up all of the gel before it expires.

Respectable teeth whitening manufacturers label their teeth whitening gel with the lot number and expiration date. At Beaming White, we label all products containing teeth whitening gel with the lot number and expiration date, either on the packaging, or right on the pen or label, as shown in the above photo of one of our teeth whitening pens.

 Shelf Life

Many things affect the shelf-life of teeth whitening gels, such as the active ingredient, concentration/strength of the active ingredient, the formulation itself, the container the gel is in, and temperature. Different types of gel have different shelf lives.

If the expiration date is set one year from the production date, it has a shelf-life of one year. If the expiration date is set two years from the date of production, it has a 2-year shelf-life.

At Beaming White, we actually test gel stability/shelf-life for every batch of gel immediately after the gel is manufactured. We do this by placing the gel in an incubator that is set at 45°C (113°F) 24 hours a day, and seeing for how many days, weeks or months it maintains its integrity. If the gel doesn’t last as long as it should, the entire batch is discarded (although this hasn’t happened in many years). We also keep retained samples in refrigeration and at room temperature for 2 years, at which point we check the gel to make sure it’s still in gel form and that the concentration is still high enough.

Here’s what to look for before buying and a couple of things that affect how long a gel lasts before it expires…

Lot Number

The lot number helps the manufacturer to identify which batch of gel was used to fill the pen, syringe, or pre-filled mouth tray. This is extremely important for traceability reasons, as it enables the manufacturer to track product should a recall ever be needed. Many companies pre-print the lot # and expiration date on their boxes or labels, but this is illegal because there is no way the manufacturer can know months in advance what the lot number of the gel will be. Beware of anyone who has this information printed as part of the box or label design. Beaming White always stamps or ink-jets this vital information at the time of labeling or immediately after filling, as required by FDA standards.

Expiration Date

The expiration date tells you till when the teeth whitening gel will remain in gel form and still whiten, assuming you follow storage directions properly.

Type of Gel

The active ingredient used in the teeth whitening gel will affect how long the gel will last before it expires because some compounds are more stable than others. Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide gels should be kept in refrigeration for long-term storage, or at least below room temperature. In reality, gels weaker than 16% hydrogen peroxide or 36% carbamide peroxide will be stable at room temperature for 2 years, but since it’s easy for temperatures to rise above that, it’s always safest to keep these gels in refrigeration when they won’t be used for a long while. Just remember to bring the gel to room temperature before applying to the teeth. Non-peroxide gel is very stable and does not require refrigeration.

Heat

Heat has a negative effect on all peroxide-containing teeth whitening gels. So does exposure to sunlight. Store your teeth whitening gel in a cool place and keep it away from direct sunlight. Some gels require refrigeration, and the packaging will state this if it’s necessary. If so, make sure you refrigerate it for long term storage! However, you will need to bring refrigerated gel back to room temperature before using it. The stronger the gel, the more important it is that it be stored in refrigeration. When a gel doesn’t state that it must be refrigerated, it should still be kept at or below room temperature (72°F / 22°C) because the higher the temperature above room temperature, the shorter the actual shelf-life will be.

Now you know how to find out when your teeth whitening gel will expire and what affects the expiration date. Look on the packaging it came in or right on the product itself. Happy whitening!

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