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How to Whiten Teeth... Safely

Well, this didn't sound like good news. A recent British report says that some at-home tooth-whitening kits had levels of peroxide so high that in some instances they approached the amount found in hair dye. Yikes, and then this:

In a study conducted by the University-Hadassah Faculty of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem, doctors found that "all groups exposed to bleach showed an increase in mercury release over time."

None of that sounds good. But just as I was ready to succumb to a life of yellow corn-teeth, I read onward and was relieved. The story quotes multiple dentists who say that whitening your teeth isn't a health hazard. One dentist, Dr. Jeff Golub-Evans, director of the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, says to follow these guidelines:

  • Get a product recommendation from your dentist.
  • Purchase only well-established brands.
  • Don't buy teeth whiteners over the Internet, particularly from another country.

For four more tips on safe and effective whitening,

  • Always follow package directions.
  • Don't double up on product, leave it on longer than recommended or use it more frequently than recommended.
  • More is not better. Lower concentrations used over a longer period get better results than blasting teeth with high concentrations.
  • If the packaging doesn't look right (for instance, if there are misspellings) or the product looks or smells strange, don't use it.


Join The Conversation
adrianrny adrianrny 9 years
I would trust Hadassah hospital-- I am an extremely strong supporter of them--they have the best research teams in the world-- I am sure they know what they are talking about!
uscdoc uscdoc 9 years
The reason people are sensitive for DAYS after bleaching is because they have over bleached, perhaps unintentionally. Even if you have followed the directions, you may find that your teeth are still very sensitive. This is normal and it just means that your teeth are more sensitive to bleaching than the average person. Try cutting the recommended time in half. You will likely be able to increase the bleaching time slowly, over a few weeks, without causing yourself unnecessary pain. Pain from bleaching is caused by irritating the nerve. Be nice to your teeth and whiten slowly if that's what you need to do.
queencessjosie queencessjosie 9 years
I DEFINITELY recommend having it done professionally. The results cannot be duplicated with non-professional products. Whitening toothpastes can only go so far. I did the Zoom! Whitening (with the light.. hurts like HELL, but i did it for four hours :X). They make an impression that they use to make a tray that fits your mouth, and yours alone. My dentist then allows me to purchase Opalescence whitening syringes (20% bleach) to maintain my teeth (you can also make them even whiter with the bleach) for only $20.00. There's four in a pack, and it definitely lasts a lonnnng time. However, I too leave my bleach on for longer than recommended.
nomerz nomerz 9 years
I think it'd be more effective and safe to just get it done professionally...
tralalala tralalala 9 years
OK...I just re-read that... maybe the line about putting things in my mouth was a bad word choice... Maybe that's why I'm single? haha
tralalala tralalala 9 years
I just get my teeth zoomed. The "White diet" for the 3 days after sucks haha, but I hate having to put things in my mouth everyday. And it hurts less (it still hurts, but MI paster and vitamin e help with that). And it works better than the at-home kits.
LaLa-Laura LaLa-Laura 9 years
yeah my teeth can't handle them either. They hurt for days afterwards.
laurarose520 laurarose520 9 years
I brush with baking soda and toothpaste for some extra power. I've been meaning to make my own whitening paste to give it a shot. I'll make a post if it goes well.
caitlinp86 caitlinp86 9 years
wow that is shocking! I had no idea.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I have used GoSmile before. I like it a lot!
blackdiamonds blackdiamonds 9 years
Did anyone try using Go Smile Whitening Kit?
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 9 years
Thanks doc! I haven't had any problems with sensitivity but I love the at home remedy with the baking soda. So cost efficient!
conanho conanho 9 years
i use rembrandt everything, if you maintain a good routine, it really keeps teeth shades whiter. i love it!!
desodaro desodaro 9 years
Yeah...any of those things make my teeth just ache forever!!! I can't handle it.
gigglesss gigglesss 9 years
hmm i need to try the baking soda with toothpaste..
BethS BethS 9 years
My teeth get so painful and sensitive after using the whitestrips after just one day, they actually throb. I asked my dentist about it and he told me to use a fluoride wash (Act) a week before trying to strips again, but it was still too painful! I might try the baking soda tip though, that doesn't sound too painful!
mizz_jennii mizz_jennii 9 years
I'll have to try the toothpaste & baking soda tip. I think I'm gonna go back to the teeth whitners, the Aquafresh trays look pretty decent and I've heard good things on them. I'm a coffee addict so my teeth are not looking as pearly white as I want them to.
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 9 years
I use the Crest Whitening Strips but I think they would work better if I remembered to actually put them on :oops:
popularsugar popularsugar 9 years
I too have used baking soda and mixed it with my toothpaste as a kid, years before toothpastes came out with brands containing the stuff. It remove stains a few shades lighter.
Pink81406 Pink81406 9 years
I use Arm and Hammer toothpaste with baking soda and the crest whitening mouth wash and my teeth are noticeable whiter
smile3laugh8live smile3laugh8live 9 years
Thanks for the advice!
uscdoc uscdoc 9 years
As a dentist, I can let you know that it is safe to use at-home bleaching kits as long as you follow the directions. Overbleaching, which is common, will lead to increased sensitivity for several days, and in the long term it will lead to translucent looking (read grey) teeth. If you find that your gums and tongue become sensitive, you are using too much gel. Only a small amount is needed and adding more does not increase its effectiveness. After placing the trays in your mouth, use a moist q-tip to remove any excess that has oozed over the tray. Hope this helps.
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 9 years
Haha, I meant they are NOT horribly yellow. I actually take really good care of my teeth so they aren't bad but I drink coffee everyday and smoke a ton of cigarettes. I know, I need to stop!
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 9 years
I've been trying Listerine Quick Dissolving Strips. They're new and I got them for free at BzzAgent! Love Bzz! So far, I really like them. I don't know if they work like the Crest white strips because I've never tried those, but these strips dissolve on your teeth right away, just like the regular listerine strips you pop on your tongue. After about a minute, you can't even tell they're there and they fully dissolve in about 10 minutes. My teeth are horribly yellow but I am a smoker... I've already noticed a slight difference and it's only Day 3! And I think they are cheaper than the white strips!
MrDPember MrDPember 9 years
I use the 5 minute strips from Crest or something. In my opinion, they do not work. little_one. You said you mix baking soda and what else? I am curious to know so I can give it a try!
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