Why The Chemicals In Tooth Whitening Products Aren't Safe By Themselves

Posted on: 29 July 2018

If you've ever taken a close look at what it is in tooth whitening products like toothpaste or strips that actually get the job done, you've most likely seen peroxide and baking soda appear many times. These two chemicals are mainstays in tooth whitening products, but using them directly on your teeth to get the results you want is mistaken. Here's why you should never use peroxide or baking soda directly on your teeth.


Peroxide is used in many self-care applications, like cleaning out wounds. However, how much would it surprise you to learn that peroxide is actually dangerous for you even when you're just putting it on an open wound?

The reality is, peroxide damages any cells it comes into contact with. This means that when you put it on your teeth, the peroxide chews away at the surface of your teeth. The microscopic amounts of peroxide in FDA-approved whitening products are diluted to prevent this from happening. However, if you use plain peroxide on your teeth, you may end up severely damaging your teeth's enamel. 

Baking Soda

Yes, baking soda is great for baking and it keeps your fridge smelling nice. In professional products, it can whiten also your teeth. However, when used alone, baking soda damages your teeth just as much as peroxide does.

Baking soda poses two problems for at home use: it's abrasive and it's dehydrating.

The roughness of baking soda makes it seem like it would be useful to brush with -- but that roughness is actually the issue. While peroxide breaks down your enamel all on its own, rubbing baking soda onto your teeth does the same thing, just with a little physical effort required. In addition, if you use baking soda regularly, you may trigger dry mouth. This can increase your risk of developing sticky plaque and cavities, which is something you don't want if the enamel of your teeth has already been damaged.

What To Do Instead

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and dentists exist for a reason, and all you need to do is rely on them. A cosmetic dentist can professionally whiten your teeth for you. If you want to use at-home whitening kits, always follow the directions and look for an FDA seal to ensure that you're safe. Don't try any "hacks" that suggest using the ingredients alone.

In addition, if you've already been using baking soda or peroxide on your teeth, you should get help from a dentist. You may have already done some damage to your teeth. If so, actual cosmetic dentistry may be able to help you overcome any issues.

Dental whitening is possible to do safely if you just get help. Don't put your dental health in anyone's hands other than your dentist's.


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!