When it comes to whitening your smile, there are a few different options. But they boil down to products with hydrogen peroxide versus products without. Here’s what you need to know about hydrogen peroxide if you’re worried about the effects:

Hydrogen peroxide bleaches but doesn’t break down your teeth.

Whitening gels with hydrogen peroxide break down and let oxygen into the enamel and dentin layers of your teeth. That oxygen is what causes the bleaching effect. Supplemental products like lights don’t make the bleaching effect stronger. Instead, they let the hydrogen peroxide and, ultimately, the oxygen get further into your teeth for an overall whiter effect. There are little to no effects on the hardness or structure of your dentin or enamel after use.

Some studies report demineralization similar to what happens after people consume sodas or fruit juice. however, saliva and fluoride can replenish any lost minerals.

Over the counter treatments make hydrogen peroxide less safe.

Most of the studies focusing on enamel breakdown and other health-related effects concentrate on over the counter treatments. For example, whitening strips can be applied for too long or accidentally swallowed. Rather than damaging your teeth, this lets the hydrogen peroxide aggravate users’ stomachs, gums, and mouths.

Many of the side effects of whitening gel are also risks associated with treatments you can complete at home. Accidental application to the gums or swallowing some of the gel is a more common problem than any damage to your actual teeth. In fact, most of the problems associated with whitening gel are more cosmetic than health-related: home applications might be splotchy, uneven, or not strong enough to whiten your teeth satisfactorily.

The best way to guarantee both optimal and safe results with any teeth-whitening product is at a dentist’s office. Your dentist can ensure safe application and thorough treatments, and they can answer any other questions you have about hydrogen peroxide. Contact our team here to schedule an appointment.