Hydrogen peroxide is used in several health-related cleaning applications. Most people stock some hydrogen peroxide solution in their homes to use as an anti-septic.
This same liquid that cleans wounds is also the active ingredient in many teeth whitening products and treatments. Since dentists use it for teeth whitening procedures, you might be wondering if the whitening products at the store are safe and effective for whitening your teeth as well.
Keep reading to learn more about using hydrogen peroxide for whitening your teeth.
Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening: Safety and Effectiveness
Products that contain hydrogen peroxide and other peroxides serve as bleaching agents to remove teeth discoloration. These products penetrate the outer layers of your teeth, removing the discoloration caused by compounds underneath.
Now, peroxide concentrations in these products are not all the same.
Store-bought hydrogen peroxide isn’t pure hydrogen peroxide. Rather, it’s a solution, usually containing about 3% hydrogen peroxide.
That concentration can stretch to as high as 10% in store-bought whitening kits. Dentists often use products and treatments that can reach up to 40% hydrogen peroxide.
Such a range of concentrations brings up two common concerns: safety and effectiveness.
People commonly fear that higher concentrations of peroxide (such as those used at the dentist) can damage the teeth by breaking down the enamel. This isn’t true in all cases, though; time might be the more important factor here.
A 2016 study (https://www.jopdentonline.org/doi/full/10.2341/15-010-L) actually found that lower-concentration products did more damage while staying on the teeth for a longer amount of time.
This means that a product with a higher peroxide concentration might be more effective and safer, as it’ll require less time on the teeth and thus reduce the chance of enamel damage.
That being said, there are mouthwashes that contain small concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (as low as 1.5%) that have been shown to eliminate discoloration after a few weeks.
As always, check with your dentist if you have any concerns about using a mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide.
Although hydrogen peroxide is generally safe for your teeth within a reasonable timeframe, there are still some safety risks to consider.
Many whitening products can increase teeth sensitivity. Your gums could also increase in sensitivity or become inflamed. If any of these happen in conjunction with your use of teeth whitening products, stop using them and contact your dentist to discuss your options.
If you prefer having your dentist whiten your teeth, you’ll have to schedule a cleaning first. Getting your teeth cleaned will help the hydrogen peroxide more evenly penetrate your teeth.
Your dentist will also ensure your teeth aren’t damaged or cracked. If you attempt to whiten your teeth with cracks, hydrogen peroxide can get further in than normal and irritate the sensitive inner layers of the teeth.
Are your teeth currently looking a bit dull? Looking for teeth whitening services in the Philadelphia area to restore your smile’s natural luster? Absolute Smile’s professionals provide high-quality teeth whitening services that’ll cut through discoloration and turn your teeth back to bright white.