HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Teeth-whitening strips are a much more affordable way to whiten teeth at home and while a majority of whitening strips are safe, some contain an ingredient that can damage your teeth.

The dangers in whitening strips come from a chemical known as chlorine dioxide.

According to the American Health Insurance Company, Humana, chlorine dioxide causes damage to your teeth because it eats away at the surface of the enamel.

Chlorine dioxide is the same ingredient used for certain industrial applications such as bleaching pulpwood and disinfecting public water systems and swimming pools. The chemical is okay in very small doses.

“Listen to your body. If you become sensitive to the product, if your teeth start to become sensitive, you should discontinue the product. That is probably the number one complaint with whitening strips,” said Dr. Tiffani Graves, a general dentist at Family Healthcare of Hagerstown.

Although this is a concern, Dr. Graves added that a majority of whitening strips are still safe to use.