Are Home Teeth Whiteners Safe to Use?

Our patients often ask which toothbrushes and toothpastes are best, but another common question relates to the safety and effectiveness of home teeth whitening kits.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Types of whiteners: Off the shelf whiteners come in many forms: Some are plastic strips that adhere to the teeth. Other products look like mouth guards that are filled with a whitening paste that you bite down on. Some come in the form of a small, whitening brush that you paint onto your teeth. The form they take is mostly irrelevant—they all function on essentially the same principle.
  • How they work: Most whitening products use the same active ingredient to whiten the teeth. Peroxide-based bleaching agents allow these products to sit on your teeth and remove stains from the tooth’s surface.
  • What the experts say: These products have been around for decades, despite what seems like a recent surge in popularity. This means there is quite a bit of data to draw on, both anecdotal and scientific. Currently, the American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that these products are both effective and safe. Look for their seal of approval on any product that you’re considering—they’re easy to spot.
  • Tooth sensitivity: If you already experience tooth sensitivity, it’s important to keep that in mind when using a home whitening kit. These products use a substance that can cause sensitivity when it comes into contact with the teeth and gums, so they can potentially exacerbate existing issues.
  • Prevention is better than a cure: Since we are dentists, after all, this is where we remind you to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily, while limiting the consumption of staining foodstuffs like coffee, tea and red wine. Doing so means that your teeth will stay whiter naturally—and eliminate the need for whitening altogether!

For the most part, home whitening kits appear to be safe, but the bleaching agent can be an issue for those who have a history of tooth sensitivity. Furthermore, not every discoloration can be treated using home whitening kits. For this reason and others, professional teeth whitening is necessary.

At Fioritto Family Dental, your dentist will diagnose the cause of your tooth discoloration. If you’re a good candidate for professional whitening, we’ll explain your options and help you regain a beautiful white smile. Call us today to schedule an appointment!