How to safely whiten teeth at home? Methods and risks

How to safely whiten teeth at home?  Methods and risks


Teeth whitening is a fairly common procedure among dentist clients. At the same time, manufacturers of toothpastes, special strips or gels promise to help whiten them at home. You can also hear about many “folk methods” for whitening. To find out how effective it is and how it affects the condition of the teeth, talk to the dentist Victoria Akhmedova.

How teeth whitening agents work

Stains or yellowness on tooth enamel can appear due to cigarette smoke, excessive consumption of coffee, red wine and artificial food dyes, writes National Library of Medicine. In addition, enamel can wear down and make teeth more yellow due to acidic food – citrus fruits, carbonated water. According to the results of research, yellow teeth can also be associated with the use of antibiotics.

For home whitening, there are:

  • toothpastes;
  • tooth powders;
  • gel strips;
  • pencils;
  • gels with mouthguards.

The active ingredient in many whitening products is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Peroxide helps to lighten tooth enamel. Usually, its dosage in toothpastes, whitening strips and rinses is low.

Tooth-safe products with peroxide concentrations of 10, 15 and 20 percent. You should not use a hydrogen peroxide solution from a pharmacy on your own. An incorrectly calculated amount can cause gum burns.

Whitening formulas may also contain fluoride to protect teeth from yellowing and tooth decay. By data According to the American Dental Association, the recommended amount of fluoride in toothpaste is from 1000 to 1500 ppm (parts per million of fluoride). But its permitted concentration may vary and depend on the condition of a particular person’s teeth.

“A quality paste will always have the amount of fluoride written on it. There are people with fluorosis – a dental disease that occurs due to an excessive amount of fluoride in the body. For them, such means will be harmful. And there are people with a carious situation in the oral cavity, for whom an adjustable amount of fluoride is needed,” – says the dentist.

Toothpaste and whitening powder

IN composition some whitening toothpastes and bleaching powders there is charcoal or baking soda. They work as an abrasive – a polishing agent.

Abrasives remove pigmented food plaque mechanically, “scraping” the teeth. Such aggressive particles can damage the enamel, says dentist Victoria Akhmedova. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the abrasion index (ABR) in pastes and powders is low – 30-50 units. It is safer to brush your teeth with pastes that dissolve plaque with the help of special enzymes.

“Enzymes in pastes – tsis a quality story. Therefore, it is worth looking for those that whiten due to fermentation, and not high abrasion. The main thing to pay attention to is the lactoperoxidase complex. It is a bactericidal, mineralizing enzyme that is present in human saliva.”, – explains the doctor.

The dentist emphasizes that it is also necessary to make sure that the composition of the pastes does not contain the emulsifier PEG-12 and SLS – a substance due to which the paste turns into a large foam.

Teeth whitening strips

Manufacturers suggest applying the whitening strips and pressing them tightly to the surface of the teeth with the adhesive side. The next stage is to remove them after the amount of time indicated on the instructions.

The strips should not be used if there are cracks, deep chips, or caries on the enamel. Too concentrated components can penetrate into the dental tubules and cause a chemical burn of the pulp. In addition, make caries progress. Therefore, when choosing, you should also pay attention to the above active components.

If you had initial caries, then it can become superficial, if it was superficial, it can become medium. If somewhere there are open dental tubules into which this harshly aggressive gel from the whitening strips will get, the pulp can die from a chemical burn. It is especially dangerous to use bleaching strips with an unknown composition”, – adds Victoria Akhmedova.


Pencil, gel and mouthguards for teeth whitening

Whitening pencils act thanks to the gel that is applied to the teeth. But the gel can be too aggressive in composition. For example, if it contains too much hydrogen peroxide. Therefore, you need to pay attention to this and consult a dentist about the ingredients before use.

With the help of some home whitening kits, you need to cover your teeth with a special gel and put on a mouth guard. The dosage of the gel and the concentration of active ingredients in such sets is usually lower than in the strips, so they are safer for tooth enamel, says the doctor.

Before applying the gel, you should make sure that mouthguards for whitening fit tightly to the teeth. Otherwise, the gel can penetrate the gums and cause burns. Before using the home whitening kit, you should also have your teeth checked by a dentist for cavities, deep cracks and chips.

Home whitening recipes to avoid

You can come across advice to use soda, lemon or charcoal for teeth whitening. Lemon contains a large amount of acid, which dissolves hydroxylapatite – the main component of enamel. Because of this, the teeth suddenly become more sensitive. Soda and charcoal are aggressive abrasives that damage enamel mechanically. According to the dentist, such home whitening products are dangerous.

“You can’t whiten with lemon under any circumstances. Even if you just eat lemons or green apples for several days in a row and have healthy teeth without pathological wear, the sensitivity of the teeth increases due to the fact that the acid eats away the hydroxylapatite. Soda and coal “whiten” with the help of aggressive abrasion. It damages the enamel. You can draw an analogy with a dirty cup after coffee or tea, which was cleaned with soda.”, – says the dentist.

Does teeth whitening harm the oral cavity?

Minimal damage as possible bring home whitening – tooth sensitivity and gum irritation or burns. The effect on the oral cavity depends on the concentration of active substances in the means. In complex cases, improper bleaching can cause tooth erosion, mineral degradation and pulp damage.

If toothache, redness or bleeding gums appear, you should stop using the product and consult a dentist. Before whitening at home, you should also consult with a specialist.

In order to prevent the appearance of yellowness, dentists advise careful monitoring of oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, in particular their back part and places around the gums. Also use dental floss to remove plaque between the teeth.


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