Does Hydrogen Peroxide Whiten Teeth

Hydrogen Peroxide and Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening are one of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry. It is readily available and can conveniently be bought in many stores. However, issues with regards to the use of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide in teeth whitening products have been closely studied by various organizations. Below is a list of what they have to say in reference to the use of these chemicals.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid with a molecular weight of 34.0 which is often combined with phosphoric or mineral acid, pyrophosphate salts and stannate for it to become an effective whitening ingredient. It is commercially supplied in either 33% or 37% of aqueous solution with very low levels of organic impurities and inorganic impurities including heavy metals. It is miscible in water yet considered by many as a strong oxidant that can form free radicals through the process of hemolytic cleavage.

Properties of Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has various uses which includes the following:

  • Bleaching of textiles and cellulose pulp
  • Disinfection of eye contact lenses
  • Disinfection of wounds
  • Mouth washing

What are the products which commonly use hydrogen peroxide?

Some of the products which make use of hydrogen peroxide include:

  • Hair bleaching
  • Dentrifices
  • Oral antiseptics
  • Ear drops
  • Hair relaxer
  • Sore Treatments
  • Tooth bleaching
  • Oxidation of permanent waves

What are the classifications of hydrogen peroxide based on its tooth bleaching usage?

Hydrogen peroxide used in tooth bleaching is classified into three. These are based on the amount of concentration that includes (1) the use of 30% to 35% of the hydrogen peroxide which is strictly for professional teeth whitening use (2) the use of 10% of hydrogen peroxide commonly associated with products dispensed by the dentist for home teeth bleaching product formulation and (3) the use of 6% of hydrogen peroxide for over-the-counter teeth bleaching products.

How Hydrogen Peroxide is useful for Teeth Whitening

Hydrogen peroxide assists in the degradation of complex organic and high molecular weight molecules, which are reflected in particular wavelength of light, which results to the production of certain stain colors. This process of degradation helps lower the molecular weight of these molecules resulting to the reduction or elimination of tooth discoloration. Dentists include this in their teeth whitening formulation because it has seen to effectively lighten the color o f the dentin and the enamel due to the easy passage of urea and peroxide through the tooth.


How long will teeth whitening treatment using hydrogen peroxide last?

The fastest time for teeth to whiten using hydrogen peroxide is three months, but those who are suffering from heavy tobacco stains and tetracycline stains may need to wait for as much as six months of nightly treatment before they can see the evident change.

What are the dental techniques associated with hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening procedure?

There are various dental techniques associated with the teeth whitening treatment using hydrogen peroxide. Some are as follow:

  • It can be placed in dentist produced or commercially created trays.
  • It can incorporated in strips that are also commercially available for public use. These strips are to be worn twice a day for approximately 30 minutes within a 14 day period before you see its effect.
  • It is used in paint on gels for teeth whitening which are also sold in most stores. The gel has to be placed on the teeth for an overnight period and in due time, users will see how their teeth will lighten.
  • In some instances, dentists may recommend combined abrasion techniques or bonded restorations to these whitening treatments in order to adder non-esthetic white areas of the teeth.

What is the general consideration which has to be evaluated before dentists prescribe teeth whitening treatment to their patients?

Due to the strength of the hydrogen peroxide, a dental examination has to be performed by the dentist before authorizing any teeth whitening treatment to the patient.

  • Tooth restorations performed on the patient has to be taken into consideration because hydrogen peroxide will have no effect on the color of porcelain teeth, tooth fillings, and other restorative materials.
  • Expectations desired by the patient should be corrected by the dentist. In as much as teeth whitening solution will help lighten the teeth color, it cannot produce a perfect set of white teeth. It has its own limitations.
  • The lifestyle and habits of the patient will also be requested. It is useless to perform teeth whitening treatment on someone who is proven alcohol drinker or smoker because it will produce counter-effects on the whitening solution treatment.
  • Other dental concerns include cracks on the tooth enamel, exposed root surfaces, and tooth defects.

Side effects (Dangers)

The use of hydrogen peroxide in teeth whitening products have been declared safe by the FDA, as long as the concentration is strictly followed, yet patients who wish to take advantage of its benefits should also be aware of its possible side effects. Some of which are as follow:

Mild tooth sensitivity

Some users experience pain when drinking or eating hot and cold foods. This is one of the common side effects of teeth whitening products as a result of the teeth’s chemical reaction to the solution.

Throat soreness

This is most likely to occur if patients accidentally swallow the teeth whitening solution.

Gum pain and irritation

Minimal amount of hydrogen peroxide does not propose any threat to the oral health of the user. In fact, studies show that 1.5% of hydrogen peroxide contained in mouth wash products is proven effective in preventing gingival problems.

Tongue discoloration

Research studies show that excessive use of mouth wash which contains hydrogen peroxide also results to tongue discoloration.

Those who failed to follow the instructions of their dentists or the guide included in over-the-counter teeth whitening products suffer from damaged teeth enamel. Everyone should bear in mind that highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide is to be administered by professionals alone because overuse of the product will result to extreme gum irritation and mouth irritation. Strictly follow the prescription of your dentist to avoid any unwanted discomforts to occur.

What is the difference between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide?

Carbamide peroxide is another chemical solution which can be used in teeth whitening. However it’s primarily role is to slow down the process of decomposition and is usually combined with hydrogen peroxide for a better teeth whitening effect and additional teeth shelf life.

What are the traits of carbamide peroxide?

Carbamide peroxide comes in the form of white crystals or crystal powder and is highly soluble in water. It has bigger molecular weight of 94.1 compared to hydrogen peroxide yet shares similar side effects like skin irritation and ulceration if swallowed in large amounts.

Points to remember

It is safer to use teeth whitening products that are prepared by your dentist but it is best if you will choose the more expensive in-house teeth whitening treatment. You will realize that it is more economical in the future because it will give you a higher assurance that you will not suffer from unwanted health complications related to hydrogen peroxide toxicity.



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