As a professional dentist and scientific researcher in the field of teeth whitening I have to say that I found many wrong, unscientific data on the web concerning dental bleaching. Sure every body wants a pearl white teeth and if this is possible without going to the dentist and pay +500 $ it would be great, So every body is running after finding teeth whiteners at home and SURE hydrogen peroxide is the first available one on the list so I will discuss some facts here and also pointing to some wrong information that I found on the internet.
Hydrogen peroxide chemical composition:
HP is similar to water in chemical composition the only difference is an excess oxygen atom (H2O2). This material is capable of releasing free oxygen if exposed to light so it comes in dark bottles. So it considered as a strong oxidative and corrosive material in high concentrations. Also hydrogen peroxide happens naturally in the human body, Fresh fruits and even rain drops but I a very low concentrations.
Teeth bleaching in general:
Stains from food, drink even some drugs accumulate on the enamel surface of he tooth or even sometimes penetrate inside the inner layers of the tooth which cause the tooth to become darker in color. So the role of tooth whitener is to release free oxygen that will break the large stain particle to produce a smaller particles that is usually lighter in color. Professional and at home teeth whitening products available today are usually based on hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, Both can produce free oxygen but hydrogen peroxide produce much more oxygen.
So theoretically teeth whiteners are acids and acids can dissolve calcium from teeth enamel which may cause porosity and roughness and less caries resistance BUT we have to say that after a thousands of researches that with the present ADA or FDA approved teeth whitening products the harm is minimal and usually auto repaired to normal with no harmful effect persist.
We also have to say that if an unapproved material used or approved material used in an improper way the technique can be harmful and cause low caries resistance, surface roughness and even a darker stains later as a cause of surface roughness.
Facts about using commercial hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening:
- In some conditions dentists prescribes 3% hydrogen peroxide mouth wash for its disinfectant and anti microbial properties like in the cases the inflammation happens around the partially impacted wisdom also we use it with some gum diseases.
- Concentrations above 5% can be harmful and should not be used internally notice also the available 35% HP are for industrial use and should not come in contact with human body as it is very dangerous. Also many authors stated that prolonged use of HP even at 3% concentration can be harmful and should be avoided. (i usually prescribe hydrogen peroxide for only 3-5 days max )
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used to make your teeth looks whiter but the concentrations approved as a mouth wash is very weak also the prolonged use is harmful so within the safe limits the result will be minimal and most patients won’t be satisfied by the results.
- Teeth whitening dentist can use safely concentrations up to 35% hydrogen peroxide why?? Because the solution here is very sticky gel that will still in place with no flow and the dentist will isolate the field so the gel won’t come in contact with any soft tissue also the professional bleaching gel is releasing oxygen so slow to give deeper penetration to the tooth also less harm but the peroxide solutions that usually used for teeth bleaching homemade recipes are in the liquid form also it releases oxygen in the first minutes so gives less penetration and more harm to the surface of the tooth.
- Using bleaching agents on carious teeth or exposed roots can lead to severe sensitivity or even tooth nerve death which will require root canal treatment which can be very expensive. So you should see your dentist first to fill any carious teeth before starting any kind of teeth whitening.
Moral of the story:
If you want to have teeth whitening the best way is to visit your dentist and let him recommend the best for you, Also he should check your teeth for caries or exposed roots to avoid severe sensitivity or pulp death.
If you want to avoid paying money for a dentist visit then the best of two evils will be buying on of the available over the counter whitening kits or toothpaste as it will be designed for this purpose and please don’t prepare it at home.
Some of the over the counter teeth whitening products are hydrogen peroxide based and the others are carpamide peroxide based if I was you, I would choose the carbamide preparations as it will be much safer.