You may have heard that hydrogen peroxide has a lot of useful properties. One of these is to whiten teeth. Can you cut out the middleman and just brush with hydrogen peroxide?
The answer to that question is yes. You certainly can safely as long as you don’t swallow the liquid. Using it as the only product that you clean your teeth with, however, is not recommended. Read further to know more.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe For My Teeth?
When it comes to whitening with hydrogen peroxide, one of the most common questions is: is it safe? The truth is, the safety concerning hydrogen peroxide depends on its concentration. For instance, most commercial bottles have around three percent.
Whitening products, however, have up to ten percent of hydrogen peroxide. When you use whitening products with a higher concentration, you actually damage your enamel, making your teeth weaker and more susceptible to erosion. Studies show that lower concentrations applied for minimal amounts of time are enough to effectively whiten teeth with less damage.
In fact, some studies show that lower amounts actually whiten just as well as higher concentrated whitening products. This, however, this was only true when the lower concentrated whitener was used consistently in comparison to one use of the higher concentrated product.
Can I Whiten My Teeth with Hydrogen Peroxide?
There are a variety of ways to use hydrogen peroxide for whitening. Whichever method you decide to use, be sure to dilute your solution. Otherwise, you can cause a chemical burn or further dentin exposure.
Not only will this cause your teeth to appear yellow, you’ll increase sensitivity and may eventually further damages.
1. Use it as a mouthwash.
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used as an oral wash. You can use this solution before or after brushing to cleanse your mouth and whiten enamel. Mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide into a cup.
Swish this mixture for at least two minutes and spit it out. Make sure you don’t swallow any of this mouthwash.
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2. Make a paste.
Another alternative is making a paste. To create the paste, mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide until smooth enough to spread onto your teeth. Leave the paste on for a few minutes before spitting out and brushing as usual.
Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any lingering paste. Only repeat this method two to three times per week to avoid adverse effects.
3. Purchase commercial whitening products.
If you don’t feel comfortable creating your own whitening solutions, you can buy them. The beauty of commercial products is they already have a healthy amount of hydrogen peroxide mixed in, so you won’t have to estimate the right amount. Look for products with the ADA seal to ensure the products are safe.
Is This Safe for My Teeth?
While everyone wants whiter teeth, but for some, hydrogen peroxide isn’t a viable solution. Sometimes, people suffer with side effects like gum inflammation and tooth sensitivity. If this occurs, immediately contact your dentist.
If you can afford to receive professional whitening treatments, this may be a healthier choice than do-it-yourself whiteners. This is also convenient if you experience complications. Your oral care provider can give you a better understanding of your poor whitening reaction and recommend an alternative.
For example, your dentist may inform you that your sensitivity to whitening treatments may be due to cracks in your enamel. While small cracks help hydrogen peroxide penetrate and whiten enamel, deeper cracks allow it to reach your dentin, which can be painful.
Alternative Whitening Methods
If hydrogen peroxide treatments aren’t for you, there are other natural whitening methods. For instance, you can try oil pulling. This Ayurveda whitening method involves swishing coconut, sesame, or olive oil for up to twenty minutes.
Make sure you do not swallow this mixture. The point of oil pulling is to pull toxins out of your mouth. Swallowing the oil not only puts the toxins back into your mouth and digestive tract.
You can also slow down the yellowing process by avoiding certain foods and beverages. Coffee, energy drinks, wine, and tea are common staining beverages to avoid. You should also avoid berries, tomato based sauces, and candy to the best of your ability.
You can also brush immediately after enjoying any of the previously mentioned items or after a meal. This gives your food less time to stain your teeth.
Of course, whiter teeth is something we all strive for. If you want a simple and inexpensive solution, hydrogen peroxide may be the key. When making a mouthwash or paste, be sure the hydrogen peroxide is diluted to avoid a chemical burn.
Studies show that lower concentrations are just as effective and safer than higher concentrated versions. Just make sure to consistently use your chosen whitening method for optimal results.
If you experience any pain or sensitivity, speak with your dentist about finding a better whitening alternative. They may be able to perform a treatment without pain or suggest a healthier alternative for white teeth.
However you go about whitening your teeth, remember that it isn’t a replacement for regular oral hygiene. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice daily, eat a well-balanced diet with little to no enamel staining foods, and drink water to keep your teeth whiter for longer, especially with treatments. However you choose to whiten, stay consistent.