Teeth Whitening

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Dangers And Risks In Whitening Teeth

What are the dangers in whitening teeth? Understand the potential risks, side effects and problems you might encounter when you have your teeth whitened.

Teeth whitening has become a popular procedure among many men and women looking to have a whiter, brighter smile. It's one of the fastest and easiest way to remove stained and discoloration of the tooth, and most people who use teeth whitening products or go for an in-office procedure suffered no side effects from having their teeth whitened.

However when a strong chemical – such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide used in teeth bleaching gels – is applied to your teeth, you need to be aware of the risks and dangers of teeth whitening before you get your teeth whitened.

The Risks and Dangers of Teeth Whitening are:

  • If the whitening gel accidentally gets into your mouth, it is likely to irritate your gums, tongue, lips or other soft tissues.

  • For some people, the peroxide in the gel can make the teeth sensitive to hot or cold liquids, or even result in pain.

  • If you accidentally swallow some of the whitening gel it can cause nausea, vomiting or stomach upset.

  • In some cases of in-office laser teeth whitening, there may be burning, swelling and blistering of the lips.

  • Some home remedies for whitening teeth can damage the enamel and cause tooth decay if they are used incorrectly and in the wrong quantity.

  • Tooth whitening procedure is not recommended in pregnant or lactating women. Accidental swallowing of the whitening gel can affect the unborn child's teeth.


The hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide used in teeth whitening products are strong, reactive chemicals that may produce side effects such as burning, ulcers or other sores to the soft tissues on the inside of the mouth (oral mucosa) on contact. This is the most common side effect of teeth whitening. The degree of damage depends on how sensitive you are, as well as on how concentrated the bleaching gel is and how long you are exposed to it.

That said, the greatest danger of exposing your mouth to peroxide burns occurs when people use over the counter teeth whitening products with mouthpiece or tray that often does not fit properly, thus causing some of the solution to ooze out. Many users end up with minor gum irritations or burns in their mouths. Fortunately, such irritations or sores will usually heal within a few days, although some people can suffer for weeks.

For teeth whitening safety and to avoid the risks of peroxide leakage, always use ADA or FDA approved teeth whitening kits or go for in-office tooth whitening procedures that use custom-fitted dental trays to ensure that none of the chemicals come into contact with your soft tissues. This way, you are most unlikely to experience any mouth irritation.

Sensitivity or Pain

Tooth sensitivity is another side effect when patients first start the teeth whitening process. One such common complaint is a temporary tooth sensitivity to hot or cold drinks. The cause of teeth to become extra sensitive is usually the case of the nerve-packed surface beneath the enamel being exposed to external stimuli such as a high concentration of peroxide to obtain the maximum teeth whitening effect. Some people with heightened sensitivity are more severely affected than others and will suffer pain in their teeth after whitening, sometimes for days afterwards.

Any pain caused by such tooth sensitivity can usually be treated with painkillers, by brushing with specially formulated toothpaste or by applying a desensitizing gel. Of course you will temprarily need to avoid beverages that are too hot or cold as well!

Safety Advice: Anyone who is also suffering from any mouth ulcers or abrasions on the gums should also avoid teeth whitening since they can be aggravated during the administering of bleaching agents in the teeth whitening treatment process.

Risks With Home Remedies

You might be surprised to learn that many home remedies for whitening teeth can also have significant side effects. For example, wood ash and baking soda are both effective teeth whiteners, but when use in the wrong quatity, they can be quite abrasive and therefore should be used sparingly. The fruit acids in lemon juice and strawberries while can help remove tooth stains, weaken the enamel on your teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities.

It is therefore important to know how to use each of these natural home remedies, so that you don’t risk harming your teeth.

The above are some of the dangers in whitening teeth. Nevertheless, teeth whitening is still a safe dental procedure when done properly and according to directions.

Millions of people have their teeth whitened every year, and very few suffer any side effects or problems in their teeth whitening treatment.

Related Topics:

How Teeth Whitening Works
How does teeth whitening remove tooth stains and make our teeth look whiter?

Disadvantages of Tooth Whitening
What are the disadvantages of tooth whitening?

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Teeth Whitening - In The News


Teeth Whitening Number One Request From Patients

"According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening is the number one request from patients between the ages of 20 and 50. And more than a billion dollars a year is spent on the procedure."

Fox News

Blinded by the White: Teeth Go Beyond Pearly

"Other celebs including Jon Bon Jovi, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Britney Spears, Cheryl Hines, Eva Longoria and Tom Cruise - plus many more - have gleaming white smiles as a result of bleaching..."