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Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening

Updated on April 29, 2016

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Really Whiten Teeth

Hydrogen Peroxide teeth whitening is nothing new, but is it effective and is it safe? Virtually every dentist office uses some form of this compound in their whitening agents, and there are countless brands of gels available over the counter. So while it may be popular, let's have a deeper look into whether or not its right for you, and whether or not its bad for your teeth and general health.

Many people, in the hopes of getting whiter teeth, purchase some type of whitener online at places like eBay without knowing much (if anything) at all about peroxides, and that could be problematic. Some sellers market Carbamide Peroxide whitening gels and to the unassuming consumer it may seem like the same thing that dentists are using; and it may be. However, Carbamide gels differ from Hydrogen products because their oxidizing strength is only about 1/3 that of Hydrogen Peroxide; Carbamide Peroxide mixes with water and then becomes Hydrogen Peroxide

This could be a concern because your dentist may be using a 15% "Carbamide Peroxide" whitening solution and you, unknowingly, buy a 15% "Hydrogen" solution... which is equivalent to a 45% Carbamide solution; 3 times the strength of what your dentist was using! That's not a dangerous amount for a whitener, but many people with sensitive teeth may well regret that move. The point I'm making is that if you're going to use a product like Peroxide on your own then there are some things you need to know.

Photo by Kurhan

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Bad For Your Teeth

Lets Answer The Most Obvious Question First

One of the first things people ask is whether hydrogen peroxide is bad for your teeth. The oxidizing effects of Hydrogen Peroxide teeth whitening gels (HP) pose the greatest risk to the enamel. In a study titled "Effect of home bleaching systems on enamel nanohardness and elastic modulus" researchers found that "Nanohardness and elastic modulus of human enamel were significantly decreased after the application of home-bleaching systems." And while the damage may be minimal, per use, over time the accumulated harm to the enamel could be significant.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't use HP for whitening, or that its bad for your teeth, just that you need to be aware of the inherent risks, and minimize the frequency of which you use it. While its not going to effect most casual users, there is now a phenomenon called bleachorexia where people are obsessed with whitening their teeth, and for them the damage to enamel can be severe.

Other risks associated with "normal" use of HP to whiten teeth is sensitivity and damage to your gums. This may sound like a minor consequence of bleaching your teeth, but the pain levels can be quite high for some people, and the damaged gum areas can be problematic on their own.

You can reduce the likelihood of sensitivity by following the recommended usage guidelines from the ADA, and by limiting how often you whiten your teeth. Additionally, you can follow some natural, healthy tips to help your teeth maintain the fresh white color you're after.

Crunchy foods like grains and crisp vegetables and fruits (e.g. carrots, celery and apples) act like natural, micro abrasives and help clean your teeth. Dr. Oz has even stated that there may be a natural whitening benefit to

eating fruits like strawberries. Another Dr. Oz favorite is Neem based toothpastes like this one that I use. Another good one that blends other natural ingredients and which reviewers have been extremely happy with is "Himalaya Herbal Neem & Pomegranate Toothpaste".

To read more about the benefits of neem based products, here's a link to the Dr. Oz blog article about it. Dr. Oz Herb of the Month - Neem

Cheese and dairy products are believed to promote the regeneration of tooth enamel. Whether or not they provide any measurable boost, there's no risk associated with adding some dairy to your diet.

A safer, and quicker way to enjoy the benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide teeth whitening is to use it daily as a mouth rinse, which also serves to help fight other diseases such as gingivitis. Simply rinse with a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted with an equal part tap water (1/2 and 1/2) each morning and night after you've brushed. While the whitening results aren't immediate, if you make it a part of your regime the long term benefits are dramatic and within 3 - 4 weeks you'll notice, and others will, too.

Photo by velma

Have You Ever Used A Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitener?

Take a second and share with us your own experience level using Peroxide whiteners...

Have you ever tried Hydrogen Peroxide based whiteners?

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Does Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening Work?

Let's Examine How Effective It Is, And What You Can Expect

There is no doubt, as everyone knows, that you can achieve some amazing results when whitening your teeth with Hydrogen Peroxide. The safest, most effective way is to have it done by your dentist using a safe light source to accelerate the process, minimizing the exposure your gums and enamel have to the oxidizing gel.

In terms of whether you use Carbamide or Hydrogen Peroxide, the essential difference to know is that Carbamide solutions have about 1/3 the oxidizing strength of Hydrogen based ones, and the Carbamide whiteners are more stable and have a longer shelf life (they remain more effective, longer, than regular Hydrogen Peroxide whiteners). Finally, as it relates to the two, Hydrogen Peroxide works much faster, that is, it begins to oxidize quicker, and responds better to light sources, so in the hopes of minimizing exposure it is the best choice and the one many dentists use. On the other hand, if you're doing it on your own, at home, by using trays and gel, perhaps the best solution for minimizing sensitivity and ensuring that your solution remains active, longer, the Carbamide solution is best.

So here is the bottom line. Hydrogen Peroxide teeth whiteners work, and work well. But if you're doing it at home the traditional way, with trays and gel, choose a Carbamide solution instead. If you want to have similar, quick results that a treatment at the dentist would provide you can get a teeth whitening kit with accelerator light. Many, if not most, of these kits use Carbamide solutions because its frankly more stable and you're more likely to get the full potential from it than a degenerated Hydrogen gel that has sat on some shelf for who knows how long.

I would highly recommend buying your solutions from a reputable source like Amazon to increase the liklihood that you're getting fresh, and safe, whitening gels. I personally also use the accelerator light source to enhance the whitening time and protect my teeth and gums as much as possible. Having white teeth now isn't worth the price of gumming my food later in life!

Photo used under Creative Commons from groupon

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Please share your comments or own experiences whitening your teeth with hydrogen peroxide....

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    • DramaticWhitening profile image

      DramaticWhitening 4 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing. A nice column there and some great tips, you got a squidlike from me :-)

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      I have used HP ll my life for various things, including rinsing my mouth. I have used the Crest strips occasionally, they seem to work.