Is It Safe To Whiten Your Teeth?

in Overall Health by

Have you been following a regular plan of professional dental cleaning, and are still not that happy with the color of your teeth? You might be interested in getting some whitening done to erase a few years of stains and discolorations in your smile.

The simple answer is that teeth whitening is indeed a safe procedure, but you do need to ensure that it is done properly.

How it Works

The usual teeth whitening procedure involves treating teeth with some concentration of a peroxide solution to bleach out the stains. That’s really all there is to it. There can be different types of solutions

If you are worried about the chemicals, just remember that tooth whitening is a purely cosmetic procedure and not necessary for good dental health. You can also try some of the more natural options (mentioned below) if you do still want to tackle stains without bleach.

Whitening at Home

The usual at-home whitening kits usually include bleach strips that are applied directly to your teeth, or a tray of gel that you bite down on for the duration of the treatment. Usually it takes several sessions to get the final results.

The main risk with doing whitening procedures with at-home products is that you leave them on your teeth for too long or use them too frequently. As long as you follow the directions, they are fine to use. Generally, no more often than every 6 months.

And while on the topic of DIY whitening products, you will find that they are not as strong as professional treatments and may not provide you with that gleaming white you were hoping for.

Professional Whitening

For a more potent treatment, you’ll want to book an appointment with your dentist. In many ways, the treatment will be the same. The key difference is that your dentist will be using stronger levels of peroxide. But with professional supervision and application, they are fine to use.

Just like with the home kits, you will have to limit your treatments (your dentist can fill you in on how often you can get whitening done) or the bleach will start to harm your enamel. Because the treatments are stronger than the DIY kits, you will probably have to have them even less frequently.

Natural Options

As we brought up earlier, you can try a more natural option without the bleach chemicals if you feel that would be a safer choice. Brushing your teeth with baking soda is a popular one. It has a very fine natural abrasive that scrubs away surface stains better than your usual paste. Some recommendations offer a recipe that mixes baking soda with peroxide, but that would defeat the purpose of avoiding the bleach.

Whichever option you choose, you can generally trust that these whitening procedures are all safe, providing you don’t overdo it. White teeth are lovely but over-white teeth are unnatural and aren’t a good look for anyone.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons