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Is whitening your teeth safe?

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Nothing instills more confidence than a million-dollar smile. When you have pearly white teeth, you’re always ready to brighten any room. However, it is a no-brainer that most of our pearly whites no longer shine bright and have changed to different color tones. The majority of people have teeth with a faint yellow color.

All that can be attributed to aging, tobacco usage, eating and drinking habits, etc. Even if you take good care of your teeth, it might just be impossible at times to keep up with the white-colored teeth we once had as kids.

With many whitening options, formulas, and tips to follow, one is left wondering, is teeth whitening safe?

Is teeth whitening safe?

If you’re wondering if teeth whitening is safe, rest assured that it is very safe – if done right. Still, just like with any other chemicals that we interact with, teeth whitening has the possibility of coming with a list of side effects.

Even though the majority of people that use teeth whitening products experience little to no side effects, others may encounter certain side effects. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Is teeth whitening bad for your teeth?

Teeth whitening is generally a safe procedure. However, it might not sit well with some people. Here are a few side effects that you might experience if you do not whiten teeth correctly.

Discomfort on sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth are some of the biggest enemies of teeth whitening products. When the bleaching solution is applied to your teeth, you may experience pain when exposed to hot or cold stimuli.

This is mainly so due to dentin exposure during the whitening process. Consult your dentist beforehand on the best solution applicable to you. Alternatively, you can check our ranking of the best whitening products for sensitive teeth.

Inflamed teeth

Bleaching agents found in teeth whitening products may cause inflammation of the pulp in your teeth. This is possible if you have chipped or cracked teeth where the bleaching agent finds itself inside the tooth.

Soft tissue irritation

Soft tissue irritation occurs when the bleaching solution makes contact with your gums, skin, or even your eyes. This can irritate and give a burning sensation. For instance, you may see your gums whiten (get burned) when bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide spill on them.

Fortunately, the tissue will revert to its normal state after some time, but you may still experience irritation. Prolonged exposure to such solutions may lead to bleeding and pain in the gum tissues.

You may experience a tingling sensation

Some patients have reported a mini electric shock sensation during or shortly after teeth whitening. This can also be a reaction towards the bleaching agent used. If this happens, ensure to convey it accurately to your dentist for a follow-up.

Throat or stomach upsets

You ought to be very careful when dealing with teeth whitening bleaching agents. Do your best not to swallow as it may have detrimental effects on your throat or stomach. These side effects typically subside within a day or two, but you’d rather avoid the discomfort altogether. Although rare, seek medical attention if the symptoms persist or become severe.

How to safely whiten your teeth

You can easily achieve the results that you desire from teeth whitening should you follow the recommended procedures. Here’s how to whiten teeth safely:

In-office bleaching
In-office bleaching

In-office bleaching is performed at the dentist’s office or clinic. This is the most effective method of teeth whitening and is also the quickest, as you can see your results within just a few minutes (a little over an hour). Although it might be more than the average teeth whitening cost, you get immediate results, and each patient gets their own customized bleaching plan made by the dentist.

Teeth whitening trays and gels
Teeth whitening trays and gels

Teeth whitening trays and gels are also effective, but you may have to wait longer to see the desired results compared to in-office bleaching. These products vary in the strength of the peroxide in the gel.

The other major difference is that you can purchase some from your dentist while others you can easily get over the counter. Those from the dentist often show faster results and are more effective. Moreover, trays bought from the dentist may be custom made to fit your teeth, unlike most over-the-counter trays which are generic sized.

Teeth whitening strips
Teeth whitening strips

Teeth-whitening strips are sold over the counter and are easy to use. However, they may take a lot longer than whitening trays and gels to show results, but this depends on the concentration of the peroxide they contain.

Teeth whitening toothpaste
Teeth whitening toothpaste

Teeth whitening toothpaste contains additional polishing agents and special chemicals that are more aggressive on stains than regular toothpaste. They have mild abrasives that assist in removing surface stains. However, it should be noted that teeth whitening toothpaste doesn’t actually ‘bleach’ your teeth.

Besides these solutions, some users prefer other DIY teeth cleaning options. Although they may not be quite effective for bleaching your teeth, some have reported successful results. Ensure that you only try out safe at-home teeth whitening techniques. Here’s an example of how to use charcoal for teeth whitening.

Here are some of our top whitening kits recommendations available in the market:

SNOW Original Teeth Whitening Kit

Snow Teeth Whitening Kit: a box, 3 whitening pens, a LED mouthpiece.

SNOW is a well-known brand in the oral care market, especially renowned for its line of teeth whitening products, which are affordable and very easy to use. All you have to do is follow 5 simple steps.

After brushing your teeth, you use the whitening pen to apply the Snow Serum. Then, you insert the mouthpiece and leave it in place for 9 minutes. Afterward, you must remove the mouthpiece and rinse both your teeth and the mouthpiece.

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Colgate® Optic White® ComfortFit LED Teeth Whitening Kit

A Colgate whitening pen next to a mouthpiece.

At only $49, you can get this very effective whitening kit. This 10-day treatment can whiten your teeth up to 6 shades lighter. It is safe for patients with sensitive teeth, so you don’t have to deal with the irritation associated with such products.

The LED system powered by indigo wavelength technology activates whitening, giving you results much faster. All you have to do is apply the whitening gel on the device, turn it on, and insert it in your mouth for at least 10 minutes every day.

Get the Colgate Optic White ComfortFit LED Teeth Whitening Kit here.

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Crest 3D White White Strips with Light

crest whitestrips whitening kit

Known to produce long-lasting results, the Crest 3D White White Strips with Light is an ideal teeth whitening solution. While the treatment time is longer than other products, 60 minutes of your day, every day for 10 days, is a small price to pay for pearly whites that stay with you for up to 36 months.

The whitening process is also simple. Simply apply the whitening strip to your teeth for about an hour. This uses a low dosage of hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth gently. The blue light is applied for about 10 minutes to boost the whitening effects.

Get your improved Crest 3D White White Strips with Light here.

Other great options to whiten your teeth if these brands don’t suit your needs or budget, can be HiSmile as well as other Snow products that are affordable, effective and specially formulated for sensitive tooth (checking the widely positive HiSmile and Snow teeth whitening reviews will make your decision easier). 


Can you whiten your teeth at home?

You can whiten your teeth at home by using over-the-counter whitening products like strips, toothpaste, gels, and trays. There are also other safe teeth whitening solutions you can try at home, like using activated charcoal.

Is it better to whiten your teeth at a dental clinic?

It all boils down to your personal preferences. However, with many other at-home teeth whitening solutions, in-office whitening is the best option. The results are immediate, and you get a customized treatment plan from a professional.

What ingredients in teeth whitening products should you avoid?

Although hydrogen peroxide is the main bleaching ingredient in teeth whitening products, you should always check the percentage used. A high concentration of hydrogen peroxide (mostly over 33%) should be avoided as it may cause issues like inflammation and other infections.

Some products may contain citric acid, which should also be avoided. Citric acid can erode tooth surfaces and cause sensitivity. Be careful of whitening products that contain sodium chlorite as it can be poisonous when ingested.

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