How Safe is Tooth Whitening

You can’t open a magazine or go on social media without seeing someone with a set of perfect; pearly whites smiling back at you. We’ve all become obsessed with getting the perfect smile; which is why the demand for teeth whitening products has soared in recent years.

The process of modern teeth whitening was discovered in the 19th Century. Dentists during this time would use a form of hydrogen peroxide gel as a local to numb the gums during dental procedures. They soon noticed that a side-effect of this treatment was that it turned their patient’s teeth brilliant white and sparkly. And so, modern tooth whitening was born!

tooth whitening

Image source: Colgate

Whitening agents

These days, whitening agents are present in a number of different products, from toothpaste to chewing gum. Those looking for the perfect dazzling smile can either commit to pricey toothpaste, whitening pens, mouthwashes, whitening strips or at-home trays. Or they can head to their local cosmetic dentistry practice and whiten their teeth with the help of lasers and expert advice.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the foundation of most whitening treatments. The most popular method that many people are familiar with works by applying the hydrogen peroxide gel to the teeth using trays. The custom-made trays can be worn in the evening or overnight until the right level of whitening is achieved. After this, the user can ‘top up’ their treatment when they like. Dentists are also using lasers to accelerate the process, so patients can get a beautiful white smile in as little as one hour.

This sounds great, but what do we really know about tooth whitening? Like any other cosmetic procedure, results aren’t guaranteed and will depend entirely on the individual. Just like dying your hair using a pre-packaged kit will end up with different results depending on the individual; tooth whitening is no different.

Tooth Whitening risk

Without a doubt, the biggest risk when it comes to tooth whitening is getting burned by the gel, and this is also the top cause of cosmetic surgery negligence claims. Hydrogen peroxide can be very damaging to the skin in your mouth, such as your gums and cheeks. When it is below 6% concentrate; it is generally safe for most people, but if you use anything above 10% you are at risk of chemical burns inside your mouth. With new clinics popping up offering teeth whitening for lower and lower prices; it’s important that everyone is aware of the risks of having their teeth whitened by untrained professionals.

Burns isn’t the only thing you should worry about. All tooth whitening comes with the risk of increased sensitivity. This can range from a slight twinge when your teeth touch anything hot or cold; to sharp stabbing pains that come on without warning. People can also go overboard with the treatments and ‘over-whiten’ which will leave them with almost transparent teeth. There is also the risk of uneven whitening, that will leave you with blotchy teeth which will be far more noticeable than slightly off-colour teeth.

Provided the tooth whitening is carried out by a trained professional, there’s no reason to be afraid of going a few shades whiter.

tooth whitening #dentalhygiene #teethwhitening #braces #dentist #orthodontist

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Beauty that walks as a whole.

Author bio: Ryan Duffy is a freelance writer who is a recent university graduate in Media Studies. His passion for people and writing has encouraged him to pursue this career full-time. He enjoys writing about lifestyle and fashion and this is where most of his work has taken him.

Find him on Twitter here: @Ryan_Duff199
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  • Oyinkan

    Oh wow great post about hydrogen peroxide! I love getting my teeth as white as possible but I usually get them cleaned instead of getting them whitened.

    October 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm Reply
  • Victoria Nelson

    Yikes! Those are some scary side effects! As much I like to have white teeth, I don't do anything like that because I am too scared. Haha.

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • [email protected]

    I wanted to get my teeth whitened but then decided against it because of the hydrogen peroxide (I mean, it's PEROXIDE!). Btw, coconut oil is a great natural teeth whitener.

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Michelle Adams

    Wow, I had no idea. Thanks so much for sharing this. I'll have to think it over before heading to the dentist.

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Sheri

    I think allowing a professional to do it is the best choice. I have heard all kinds of horror stories about people using whitening creams and the negative effects that came as a consequence of bad products.

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Imaobong

    I had zero idea teeth whitening could be dangerous in some situations
    I've been considering it for a while now, glad I came across this article.
    Thank you!

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Ana Ojha

    Thanks for sharing some great insights on the tooth-whitening! I apply a homemade recipe for whitening my teeth and it works great! (I mix turmeric with salt and brush my teeth every month and it makes a huge difference!

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Editor-in-Style Good

    Very interesting! I have considered getting my teeth whitened, but never realized the risks of burning from the gel. Food for thought!

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • AiringMyLaundry

    I personally haven't tried this yet. Maybe I will one day. I could use a brighter smile.

    October 23, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Amrita Basu Misra

    Very nicely explained. It’s true that hydrogen peroxide can cause burns. So only by trained professional

    October 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm Reply
  • Mindy

    Very interesting! I don't whiten my teeth. Just brush with toothpaste and floss daily.

    October 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm Reply
  • Shane Prather

    Interesting info! I’ve always wanted to try whitening but my teeth are super sensitive so nervous too.

    October 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm Reply
  • my magical trunk

    This sounds scary! I had no clue about burning and sensitivity issue. Hopefully if ever I plan to get whitening done, I will have to go to the best in order to avoid these. Thanks for sharing!

    October 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm Reply
  • Valerie CottageMakingMommy

    I've been nervous about chemical whitening because of the sensitivity issue. I don't want to ruin my teeth.

    October 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm Reply
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