As dental professionals, we often get asked about teeth whitening and whether it’s safe or not. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and it can be hard to know what’s accurate and what’s not. In this article, we’ll discuss the safety of teeth whitening and what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Firstly, it’s important to note that there are three different types of teeth whitening that are considered safe and effective, mainly due to their ADA acceptance. When a dental product is ADA approved, it means that the American Dental Association has tested it for safety and efficacy. Therefore, whenever you’re looking for whitening strips, make sure they are ADA approved since they are often bought over the counter. Another option is custom trays that are made at your dental office, and your dentist will send you home with both your trays and the whitening gel to put inside them. Lastly, there’s in-office whitening, which is also safe, as long as it’s administered by a professional and in the correct manner.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Yes, teeth whitening can be safe, and it won’t damage your enamel if you’re using legitimate whitening products and those products are being used correctly. This means following the instructions and reading the directions before you use it. It’s also important to make sure you don’t wear them for longer than intended. Therefore, whitening is only safe if you’re using reputable products like we just talked about, the ADA-approved and/or from your dental office (the trays and the in-office procedures).
Can Teeth Whitening be Dangerous?
Whitening can be dangerous if used incorrectly or overused. Of course, too much of anything can be damaging, and that holds true for teeth whitening. Not all whitening products are legitimate, especially if you are trying any DIY whitening methods. Those are the most dangerous because they are not regulated, they have not been tested, and there’s no research on DIY stuff. Therefore, our best advice is to always stay away from the Tic Tac trends. Don’t be applying bananas or strawberries or any foods to your teeth, thinking they will get them white. Stop using the purple toothpaste. It’s most likely just a gimmick, a trend, and there’s no research showing these things are effective. Even if we do end up finding that some of this stuff actually does work, we still won’t know for a while whether or not it’s safe.
How to Whiten Your Teeth Safely?
If you want to whiten your teeth safely, be sure to use one of the ADA-approved white strips or the custom trays, or go to your dentist to get them professionally whitened. In a video all about the three options, we discuss more, and if you’d like to learn more, we’ll link that video in the description box.
DIY Baking Soda Toothpaste
DIY baking soda, making your own toothpaste from the baking soda container, is not recommended. As for the whitening toothpaste, even if it’s ADA approved, it’s generally fine. However, you never want to overdo it. You always need to make sure you read the directions and use it as instructed. Some whitening toothpaste actually stays in the bottle, and if you read it, they say to use it once a week and to use regular toothpaste all the other times.
Who Should Not Whiten Their Teeth?
Teeth whitening is never recommended for anyone with active gum disease, untreated tooth decay, cavities that need fillings, hypersensitive teeth, or excessive erosion or gum recession. If your enamel is thin, or you have areas of gum recession, it’s important to talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about how to whiten safely for your individual situation. Also, in most cases, whitening is not recommended for children. This is because, as their teeth are developing, the nerves are still quite large and hypersensitive. And, like we said with sensitive teeth, whitening will only make them more sensitive. But for teeth that are still developing, it can create extremely unnecessary hypersensitivity. However, if your teen is super self-conscious about their tooth color for whatever reason, always ask your dental team if there are any appropriate options for their specific needs.
In summary, it is okay to whiten your teeth with ADA-approved strips, custom trays from your dental office, and/or an office professional whitening. However, be sure to never overdo it. You don’t want to whiten your teeth daily for months and months. Be sure to read the directions, and know that most of the time, if you really want to touch up your whitening, you could do it every six months-ish. Always ask your dentist though, to confirm they agree with that generalized number of every six months. Everyone’s mouth is different, but no matter what’s going on with your teeth, you shouldn’t be whitening every single month or anything like that. Moderation is key. Again, if you have individual concerns, talk with your dentist and dental hygienist. They will help you.
Teeth whitening is a great way to improve your smile and boost your confidence. However, it’s essential to make sure you’re doing it safely and with reputable products. The three types of whitening that we discussed are safe, effective, and ADA-approved. DIY methods are not recommended, and overusing or misusing whitening products can be damaging. Always read the directions and follow the instructions carefully.
Lastly, if you have any concerns about whitening your teeth or any other dental issues, don’t hesitate to talk with your dentist or dental hygienist. They are the best resources for information and can provide you with the guidance you need to make informed decisions about your oral health.