Hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening: What to know
Hydrogen peroxide is also an active ingredient in many teeth
whitening treatments, which leads many people to wonder whether
store-bought hydrogen peroxide makes a good tooth whitener as well.
While hydrogen peroxide may help whiten the teeth in certain
situations, there are some important safety issues to consider. Hydrogen
peroxide can cause damage to the enamel of the teeth if a person uses
the solution incorrectly.
Learn more about hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening in this article.
Is it effective?
A person can make a hydrogen peroxide paste or mouthwash at home.
Hydrogen peroxide is a common and effective active ingredient in many commercial teeth whitening solutions.
Products containing peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide and
carbamide peroxide, act as bleaching agents to change the color of the
teeth. Peroxide can partially penetrate the layers of the teeth,
removing compounds that cause discoloration.
The concentration of hydrogen peroxide in store-bought teeth
whitening kits can be as high as 10%. Dentists may also offer whitening
treatments with hydrogen peroxide concentrations of up to 40%.
On the other hand, most store-bought hydrogen peroxide has a 3% concentration.
Many people worry that higher concentrations of peroxide may lead to
more side effects, such as enamel breakdown and tooth sensitivity, but
this is not always the case. However, it does appear that the length of
time that these products spend on the teeth is important.
In fact, the authors of a 2016 study
found that lower concentration gels had more negative effects on tooth
enamel when they remained on the teeth for longer periods.
Higher concentration gels often require less time on the teeth to be effective, which can reduce the risk of enamel damage.
However, another study in the American Journal of Dentistry
found that a commercial mouthwash containing only 1.5% hydrogen
peroxide caused a noticeable lightening in human tooth enamel after 4
People who have sensitive teeth may want to check in with their dentist before using hydrogen peroxide to whiten the teeth.