5 Top Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening at Home

I have always been hesitant about using hydrogen peroxide in any of my preparations as I have always felt it dries out the skin. After years of being hesitant about using it, finally I bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and started using it for the last few months. I found that it is an excellent cleaner and I also tried it for teeth whitening. When I wrote about the uses of hydrogen peroxide in the blog few weeks back, a dentist wrote back saying that though it was famous few years back among dentists now many prefer not to use hydrogen peroxide due to it’s bad effects.

As I was already having my doubts regarding hydrogen peroxide and since it is a favorite method of whitening teeth for many, I thought I will do my own research about it. In my humble opinion whether it is homemade or store bought we should fully understand the pros and cons of the product before using it. Teeth whitening using hydrogen peroxide has been done all over the world for years and over the years the usage has only increased. Hydrogen peroxide is sold in different concentrations and the most common for house hold use is the one with 3 % concentration.

Here in India the main problem is usually nothing is specified on the bottle so I would advice caution if using it for teeth whitening. Some use hydrogen peroxide directly from a bottle or mixed with certain ingredients like baking soda. But most people prefer to buy teeth whitening kits and almost all the teeth whitening kits contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.  Carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when applied and so even it specifies carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient.

Manufactures prefer carbamide peroxide because it is more stable than hydrogen peroxide. I was surprised to learn that every year people spend millions on teeth whitening products alone! If you prefer to do teeth whitening at home, first check for the percentage of the hydrogen peroxide and please don’t fall into the trap of thinking of using higher concentrations for faster results. Usually hydrogen peroxide is considered safe in smaller doses and when we go above we experience very bad side effects.

If opting for teeth whitening using hydrogen peroxide at home, keep these following tips in mind. Try not to use hydrogen peroxide often to whiten the teeth and definitely not multiple times in a week. Also the time the hydrogen peroxide left on the teeth is very important. Don’t use products containing higher doses of hydrogen peroxide but if you opt to do it, try not to do it without teeth protection and make sure not to use hydrogen peroxide while having mouth ulcers…..

5 Worst Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Teeth Whitening: 

1. Hydrogen Peroxide Effect On Enamel:

Since going to dentists for whitening teeth each time is very expensive, many prefer to use do it yourself whitening kits. The most common ingredient in almost all the teeth whitening kits are hydrogen peroxide. When we use hydrogen peroxide on the teeth it releases free radicals which interacts to give the whitening effect. When used in larger doses it results in loss of enamel. Usually the teeth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide ranging from 3 % to 10%. When used in small doses we don’t see the results immediately so most of the companies prefer to use large doses to give us instant whitening feel. A sad thing is when we lose our enamel, it also results in temporary tooth whitening effect. When buying teeth whitening kit make sure to check for the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in it.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide Effect On Soft Tissue:

We all know the ill effects of free radicals it is the reason for premature aging and degenerative diseases. When we use hydrogen peroxide at home especially in higher concentrations, the soft tissues are exposed to the hydrogen peroxide as many of us don’t take measures to protect them. Many hydrogen peroxide gels for teeth whitening requires us to put the gel in gum shields and apply.  The barriers protect the soft tissue from hydrogen peroxide exposure but what about teeth whitening strips? If our gums are exposed regularly to the hydrogen peroxide, it might lead to ulcers in the gums. Make sure to protect the gums from direct exposure to hydrogen peroxide gels and if ulcers form apply vitamin E oil on it..

3. Toxicity Due to Hydrogen Peroxide:

If the shields don’t fit properly, the hydrogen peroxide gel will leak out onto the gums. Prolonged exposure of the gums to the hydrogen peroxide can easily cause burns in the soft tissue. When hydrogen peroxide enters our body free radicals are produced. When the free radical are released, if it is in smaller amounts the body tries to fight it off but in large doses we have to face all the ill effects of free radicals like premature aging, degenerative diseases, etc. Also if  we ingest hydrogen peroxide accidentally when using it in the mouth it can cause ulcers in the stomach and throat. In smaller doses hydrogen peroxide does not cause any toxicity as only very tiny amount enters our body but in higher doses there is a high chance of toxicity.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide Effect On Tooth Sensitivity:

Many experience teeth sensitivity after using hydrogen peroxide. That is because of the loss of the enamel. Once the enamel is eroded, the teeth loses it’s protective barrier and is exposed to stains more than ever. You will find yourself with stained and discolored teeth very often. So we tend to use the teeth whitening strips more often, it becomes a vicious cycle. One other important thing is the time that hydrogen peroxide is on our teeth is very very important. If left for too long it will cause tooth sensitivity. The tooth sensitivity occurs because hydrogen peroxide reaches the pulp (the inner layer). This also happens with less time with subsequent use as the enamel gets eroded..

5.  Hydrogen Peroxide Effect On People With Dental Problems:

Sever irritation might occur if the whitening procedure is done on people who have mouth ulcers and other dental problems. Especially if the teeth whitening product contains high amount of hydrogen peroxide the effects will be very bad. So please be very very cautious when doing teeth whitening while having dental problems. Also pregnant women and children should experience caution while doing teeth whitening procedures at home, I would suggest not doing it at all. Also make sure to check for other ingredients in the whitening kits. And if doing the teeth whitening procedures in salons and parlors please be very careful especially if you had any dental procedures recently and always inquire about the ingredients and the concentrations…


1 Comment

  1. Michelle Liesch
    October 1, 2015 / 3:05 am

    Store bought, off the shelf Hydrogen Peroxide contains a number of stabilizers that are not healthy for you. I buy 35% and dilute with Distilled Water to 3%. You can find instructions online. I only use the cheap store bought 3% for my laundry, to whiten my whites.

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