Are Teeth Whitening Procedures Safe?
As far as cosmetic procedures go, teeth whitening is right up there as a fast and efficient way to brighten your smile and enhance your appearance.
Our modern diet of red wine, black coffee, curries and sauces wreaks havoc on our mouth and leave their unfortunate legacy in the form of dull, stained teeth. Add to this the constant display of the unnaturally white teeth of celebrities and influencers who “woke up like this” and we have a large percentage of the population looking for teeth whitening remedies.
However, as with any chemical interference we have in mind for our bodies, we need to explore all the options and ascertain if the teeth whitening procedures that we are considering are safe.
Moreover, how do we know that we are not being duped into investing in a whitening kit that will leave us less than impressed? Or worse – one that will damage our teeth?
Is Whitening Teeth With Hydrogen Peroxide Safe?
Why are we talking specifically about hydrogen peroxide at the outset?
Simply because most teeth whitening procedures make use of this chemical to lift the stains from our smile bones.
Hydrogen peroxide is the more aggressive of the two active ingredients most commonly used in whitening kits; the other being carbamide peroxide which is a gentler option and better for those with sensitive teeth.
“The whitening process works by acting on the dentin of your teeth and breaking down stains. Dentin accounts for the colour of your teeth, with the translucent enamel over the top simply acting as a protective barrier.”
An excerpt from The Conversation says, “Hydrogen peroxide is regarded by the EU Council Directive 2011/84/EU as the most effective and safest way (although alternatives do exist) to whiten teeth, which is why dentists use it. But in the wrong hands and in the wrong concentration, these harsh chemicals can irritate the tender tissues inside the mouth, as well as the gums.”
Do Home Teeth Whitening Procedure Kits Work?
The short answer is, for the most part, yes.
Generally speaking, though, home whitening kits can’t produce the same results as one would experience in the dentist’s chair. Over the counter teeth whitening kits can only contain a certain maximum level of hydrogen peroxide here in the UK, whereas your dentist has safe access to far stronger solutions.
A lower level of the active ingredient means a slower process, and – depending on the state of your teeth – may not be the right option for you if you want to see a big difference, fast.
It’s worth noting that there is one particular product on sale which has come under scrutiny for its claims of “whitening the teeth dramatically in just 10 minutes.”
The Conversation piece mentioned above adds this notable information; “The strict laws governing the amount of hydrogen peroxide that can be used in over-the-counter products means that manufacturers look to other chemicals to whiten teeth. Some of these chemicals are questionable as there is a lack of research into their use for this procedure and they may damage teeth, according to a recent study published in the British Dental Journal.
“The study looked at the safety of five commonly available over-the-counter products. Three used sodium chlorite as the active ingredient, which breaks down to chlorine dioxide in the acidic environment of the mouth. The whitening effect of sodium chlorite is not fully understood.
“Four of the products contained citric acid as the “accelerator”, which will soften and dissolve the enamel. This may lead to a large whitening effect, but over time the enamel will be lost. Once enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced. A serious side effect is yellowing teeth as the underlying dentin, which is naturally yellow, comes to the surface.”
Sodium chlorite is not illegal in the EU, but we do question its use in this context.
Do Teeth Whitening Procedures Cause Dental Problems?
Logic dictates that if you’re putting strong chemicals into the delicate mouth area, then you need to exercise caution.
Stronger home solutions left on too long can erode the enamel of the teeth and increase tooth sensitivity. The wrong products can cause irritation to the lining of the mouth and the delicate gum area.
The safest route by far is to chat with your dentist about whitening your teeth.
A respectable dental clinic will be able to guide your expectations, offer valuable advice, and thereafter provide a safe service. In addition, the dental office has access to stronger bleaching solutions which work alongside heat and light for a brighter, faster finish – all the while under the careful scrutiny of a medical professional.
As a side note – Considering the way these teeth whitening options work, it’s a really good idea to have your teeth professionally cleaned prior to having this cosmetic procedure done. Excess tartar or plaque may create an additional barrier preventing the active ingredient from reaching into the dentin of your tooth.
We at Shine Dental Clinic offer an excellent whitening treatment which can brighten and whiten even the most stubbornly stained teeth. We also offer a sanctioned home whitening kit which can be used alongside our in-clinic service to maintain your gleaming smile.
If you’re considering a teeth whitening procedure, we’d like to encourage you to call one of our friendly team who can offer you advice and book you in to see one of our super-qualified dentists.