by West Coast Dental
If you could change one thing about the appearance of your smile, what would it be? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), most people would like whiter teeth.
It’s no surprise that a brighter, whiter smile is desirable. The color of your teeth can affect your overall appearance and your self-confidence. Without words, it can also communicate to others how well you care for yourself, sending a powerful message to the world around you.
Today, there are many methods available to whiten teeth — from professional treatments at the dental office to home remedies. Hydrogen peroxide for teeth has become a popular home remedy for whitening since it’s low cost and readily available in most households. However, is it safe? Does hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth?
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide (formula H₂O₂) is an acidic chemical compound commonly used as a household cleaner and antiseptic. The standard brown bottle you usually see at the grocery store or pharmacy contains a 3% concentration, meaning it has 3% peroxide and 97% water.
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Whiten Teeth?
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective teeth whitener because of its ability to penetrate hard teeth surfaces. As a powerful oxidizer, it can bleach teeth by breaking down stains. In fact, hydrogen peroxide is commonly used in professional-grade whitening strips or gels applied at dental offices.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Teeth?
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to safely whiten your teeth at home. However, while hydrogen peroxide is an effective bleaching agent, it can also erode your tooth enamel and damage your gums, especially if used in high concentrations.
According to Healthline, applying low-concentration formulas of hydrogen peroxide for relatively short periods of time (no more than a few minutes) is the safest course for protecting your teeth while whitening them at home.
When using hydrogen peroxide at home, we recommend choosing a solution that’s only 3% to 5% hydrogen peroxide, and we suggest that you limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the solution. As discussed below, diluting hydrogen peroxide with baking soda or water before exposing it to your teeth is also helpful.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Whiten Teeth
You can apply hydrogen peroxide to your teeth as a rinse or a paste. To protect your smile, consider the following guidelines for using these two types of applications:
Hydrogen Peroxide Mouth Rinse
Diluting hydrogen peroxide with water before exposing it to your teeth is a safe option to whiten teeth:
- Mix your hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water. For example, add ½ cup of peroxide to ½ cup of water.
- Rinse your mouth with the mixture, swishing for 30 to 60 seconds. Be sure to avoid swallowing any of the rinse.
- Spit out the solution when finished. If you experience any discomfort during the process, spit out the rinse immediately.
Hydrogen Peroxide Paste
Similarly, diluting hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to create a paste is a safe and effective way to get a brighter smile:
- Add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda to a few teaspoons of peroxide.
- Stir the mixture to form a thick paste. Add more peroxide or baking soda as needed to achieve the right consistency.
- Apply the paste to your teeth using a toothbrush, brushing with circular motions for about two minutes.
- After brushing, allow the paste to sit on your teeth for a few minutes.
- Rinse out your mouth with water until the paste is completely removed.
Frequency of Treatment
Dental experts recommend only using hydrogen peroxide treatments (which may involve multiple sessions) once or twice per year. During a course of treatment, giving your mouth a break every other day is also recommended.
Daily Habits That Help Keep Teeth White
While hydrogen peroxide treatments may be an option, you should do the following each day to keep your teeth white and bright naturally:
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day.
- Floss at least once per day.
- Avoid smoking or using other tobacco-related products.
- Limit your intake of stain-causing foods and beverages, including tea, coffee, energy drinks, red wine and dark cola.
- Keep up with your regular dental cleanings and exams.
Consult Your Dentist
Before starting an at-home hydrogen peroxide treatment, it’s best to consult your dentist. They can provide personalized recommendations for the best way to whiten your teeth and evaluate natural teeth whitening options.
At West Coast Dental, our team of board-certified specialists has the knowledge and skills needed to advise you about safe and effective teeth whitening services. When compared with natural remedies, professional teeth whitening tends to provide the most dramatic, noticeable results. Book an appointment to discuss teeth whitening services with a skilled dentist.
Healthline — Does Hydrogen Peroxide Whiten Teeth?
MouthHealthy — Natural Teeth Whitening: Fact vs. Fiction
American Dental Association (ADA) — Oral Health Topics: Whitening