Safest Teeth Whiteners
The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
Over time, your teeth can lose their brilliant white sheen, appearing more yellow or “stained.” This is known as teeth staining or tooth discoloration, and there are various reasons why it occurs.
These causes break down into two broad categories: extrinsic tooth discoloration and intrinsic tooth discoloration.
Extrinsic tooth discoloration is mainly caused by foods, drinks, and other substances like:
Extrinsic discoloration can be treated with a variety of teeth whitening products.
Intrinsic tooth discoloration is staining that’s embedded inside a tooth rather than on its surface.
Intrinsic staining is harder to treat. Rather than over-the-counter products, the best option here is either professional whitening treatment or to conceal the stained teeth with veneers.
The safety of teeth whitening depends on:
The three most common ingredients used in teeth whitening are baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and carbamide peroxide.
Here’s how they work:
Baking soda can remove superficial stains, but some dental professionals worry it can damage enamel because it’s abrasive.6 Unlike baking soda, bleaching agents like peroxide aren’t abrasive. Research shows that these agents are safe and effective, especially when used according to professional guidance.3
However, there are still some risks to be aware of.
One common side effect of tooth-bleaching is sensitivity. This is because peroxide reaches the inner layers of teeth, exposing tubules that make them less hydrated and more sensitive. Once teeth are re-hydrated, they typically lose sensitivity. But the duration of sensitivity depends on the concentration of peroxide used.
Tooth sensitivity is a normal part of the bleaching process and is usually temporary. But some dental professionals fear that enamel in this softened state is more vulnerable to erosion when baking soda is used.6
Once enamel is lost, it can’t be restored.
The risk of enamel loss and other side effects depends on the type of teeth whitening product and how it’s used.
Read on to learn more about various teeth whitening treatments.
Learn about the safest ways to whiten your teeth.
When done according to professional guidance, it’s possible to safely whiten teeth using a variety of methods:
One of the best ways to safely whiten teeth is to go see a dental professional. They’re qualified to use higher levels of peroxide safely because they can isolate the teeth.
This also means that results are faster and more dramatic while also being safer.
There are several different professional whitening treatments available, including:
All of these in-office procedures involve a dentist who applies the whitening gel to your teeth. A special light may also be used to provide faster, more vibrant results.
In-office whitening results last a long time and require minimal upkeep (a few times a year). However, treatment can cost hundreds of dollars per session.
Take-home whitening treatments are also available.
To begin, you need to visit a dentist, who will take molds of your teeth. You'll then receive six months' worth of custom whitening trays and gel, which you can apply at home before going to bed.
Both professional and take-home whitening are ideal for intrinsic staining.
This involves applying a bleaching agent to the teeth and then using an LED or light-emitting diode.
The blue light from the LED alone doesn’t whiten teeth, but it causes a chemical reaction when it contacts the bleaching agent. This reaction allows the LED to penetrate the enamel, which is believed to accelerate the whitening process.
An LED light is often included in at-home teeth whitening kits and may be used in professional teeth whitening.
Whitening strips are made of a thin, flexible plastic substance that adheres to your teeth. They’re usually coated with lower concentrations of peroxide gel. The strips are left on your teeth for up to 30 minutes, allowing the peroxide to penetrate the enamel.
Teeth whitening toothpaste contains low amounts of abrasives and bleaching agents. It can slightly reduce surface stains.
Mouthwash can then be used to prevent new stains from forming.
At-home whitening gels contain between 5 and 10 percent hydrogen peroxide or 35 percent carbamide peroxide. They oxidize your teeth to remove both extrinsic and intrinsic stains.
They’re not as powerful as in-office treatments but can be used to keep your teeth white after professional treatment.
One example of an innovative whitening gel is Crest Whitening Emulsions.
Charcoal has long been used as a way to flush toxins from the body, but its use in teeth whitening products is relatively new.
Charcoal can be found in a variety of teeth whitening products, such as the Burst toothbrush, as well as toothpaste, gels, and mouthwashes.
Note: There is currently no evidence proving charcoal is safe to use on enamel.
The primary side effects of teeth whitening are teeth sensitivity and gum inflammation.
Other side effects include:
See NewMouth’s top 10 teeth whitening products of 2022.
Here are some other things to consider when considering a teeth whitening treatment:
When it comes to teeth whitening, avoid use of the following:
In-office professional teeth whitening is the safest whitening method. However, it’s also expensive, with a single treatment costing anywhere between $500 to $1,400.
If price is an issue, you can try at-home teeth whitening. The best method here is LED teeth whitening.
Two options here include: