The Smart Side of Beautiful

Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening: How Does It Work?

by Nicole C. Bridge
girl driving with a big white smile
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Ifyou really want to knock people out with a great smile, make sure it sparkles.Hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening is one of the most effective ways to lighten teeth because it bleaches stains and brightens the appearance of your enamel.Peroxide is a key ingredient in a number of different whitening options including professional treatments, at-home kits and toothpastes. But how does it work?

What Causes Teeth Stains?

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, lots of things cause staining. Your teeth may develop a yellow or brown hue because of your food and beverage choices. If you regularly enjoy coffee, tea, wine and dark fruits, your teeth may darken. Dark-colored residue from food or other substances hang around, filling the pores in your tooth enamel and making this important outer layer look dingy. Other factors that cause staining might be genetics, age or over-exposure to fluoride while your teeth were still forming.

Accordingto the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, lots of things cause staining. Your teeth may develop a yellow or brown hue because of your food and beverage choices. If you regularly enjoy coffee, tea, wine and dark fruits, your teeth may darken. Dark-colored residue from food or other substances hang around, filling the pores in your tooth enamel and making this important outer layer look dingy. Other factors that cause staining might be genetics, age or over-exposure to fluoride while your teeth were still forming.

How Does Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening Work?

You probably heard of hydrogen peroxide, as it's a common bleaching agent in other products. As a teeth whitener, peroxide breaks up stains so that their color is less dense and your teeth actually become brighter. Some options, like professional whitening treatments, use a higher concentration of peroxide so that quick results are achieved. Over-the-counter products are formulated with a lower concentration. The results aren't immediate, but the lower concentration is safe to use more frequently.

How Effective Is Whitening Toothpaste?

Accordingto the MayoClinic, whitening toothpaste is one of the simplest whitening options and can be quite effective as a part of your usual routine. Whitening toothpastes that combine hydrogen peroxide with light abrasives are able to polish the teeth's surfaces while also going beyond stain removal to deeply whiten beneath the tooth surface.Look for a product that's formulated with fluoride, like Colgate®Optic White® High Impact White, so that you are protecting against cavities as you whiten. If you plan to start using a whitening toothpaste, finish your new routine with a whitening gel. The Colgate®Optic White® Toothbrush + Whitening Pen is a three-week treatment that starts working in just one day. After brushing, paint the gel onto the surface of your teeth. It will adhere right away, so you don't even need to rinse.

Is it Safe?

The American Dental Association says that hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening is safe when used properly. Just like getting a professional whitening, sometimes high concentrations of peroxide can result in tooth sensitivity. Many treatments are formulated with a buffer to prevent sensitivity. Over-the-counter products like whitening toothpaste, contain lower concentrations of peroxide so that you can use them every day without hurting your teeth or gums.

Go ahead and get started! If you stick to your new whitening routine, you might be just days away from a beautifully bolder smile.

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