Teeth become yellow and stained for all sorts of reasons.
Sometimes it’s due to the foods we eat, the beverages we drink or a bad habit such as smoking. Sometimes teeth get yellow and stained due to things we can’t control like a mouth injury, infection, medication we have to take or just getting old!
Because there are so many things out there that can make our teeth yellow and stained, it’s no wonder that teeth whitening has become such big business. There are no shortage of teeth whitening options ranging from those you can do yourself at home to those only a dentist can give you. But how safe are these teeth whitening treatments? That’s exactly the questions we answer below. Let’s take a look at some of the most common teeth whitening options and see if we should be concerned about our health and safety when using them.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening treatments offered by dentists generally use stronger agents than those found in over the counter options. One of the most common agents used in these treatments is the chemical carbamide peroxide. This chemical acts as a bleach for your teeth. When this chemical is used by a dentist trained on how to use to safely, it is considered to be a safe treatment.
Tooth Whitening Toothpaste
Tooth whitening toothpastes usually use abrasive materials to help remove stains as well as the chemical blue covarine which is generally considered to be safe.
Whitening strips that you’ll find at the store or online typically use hydrogen peroxide as the main ingredient that helps whiten your teeth. Different brands of strips contain different levels of hydrogen peroxide. And they are generally considered to be at levels safe for use.
Activated charcoal is typically used in do-it-yourself, homemade teeth whitening treatments. In small quantities, activated charcoal is safe to use on your teeth. Some people even eat it because they believe it contains certain health benefits. We’re not recommending that, but if you use it in a teeth whitening treatment, you should be just fine!
Teeth Whitening Side Effects
While the above treatments are all considered safe, there are some common side effects associated with teeth whitening. The two most common ones are tooth sensitivity and irritated gums.
For tooth sensitivity, the problem usually doesn’t last very long. But if you experience sensitivity that lasts more than a couple of weeks, it’s recommended you use a sensitivity treatment to help alleviate the problem.
If you apply teeth whitening chemicals and too much of them get on your gums, your gums may become irritated. As with sensitivity, that is usually a short-lived problem. However, if it doesn’t go away, we recommend letting your dentist know about the issue.
So Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Generally speaking, yes, teeth whitening is safe. Your best bet is to stick with products that have the American Dental Associations Seal of Acceptance. If a product doesn’t have this seal, that doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. However, the seal is just an extra level of assurance that the product has been tested and is considered to be safe by the ADA.
Lastly, we recommend always reading the instructions for teeth whitening products carefully and follow the directions when using the products. This will help make sure you are using them safely.