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Are Shop-Bought Teeth Whitening Treatments Safe?

11 Oct 2022

A bright smile is often seen as a sign of good oral health. For many, having a radiant glow is important as it boosts self-esteem levels and gives them the confidence to do what they love in life.

If you want to look and feel good, you may consider using shop-bought whitening kits or even going to a beauty salon that offers treatment. But with so many options available, you must do a lot of research first. 

Before making a decision, it’s essential to ask, “are shop-bought teeth whitening treatments safe?” 

Here’s what you need to know about all the teeth whitening options available and why professional treatments at Love Teeth are the safest and most effective. 

Does Shop-Bought Teeth Whitening Work?

On the high street and online, countless teeth whitening products are available. You can easily buy whitening pens, strips, toothpaste, and more. All of them say they’ll give you a bright and revitalised smile. But how true is that? 

The first thing to evaluate is how they work. To understand teeth whitening, it helps to know about the different types of stains. 

There are two types of stains; extrinsic and intrinsic:

  • Extrinsic stains are surface-level stains. Although they won’t usually come off with regular brushing, they’re the easiest stain to remove. 
  • Intrinsic stains are bedded deeper into your tooth. Although they feel smooth, each tooth has lots of tiny pores on its surface. These pores absorb stains and take a lot to whiten.

To truly whiten your teeth, you’ll need a product that contains peroxide. The peroxide penetrates the pores and tackles intrinsic stains. That is, assuming there’s enough peroxide in your whitening treatment. 

The problem with peroxide is that it’s bleach. Exposure to too much peroxide is very harmful, particularly in your mouth. For this reason, whitening treatments carry heavy restrictions on peroxide levels. 

For shop-bought whitening products, the legal limits are 0.1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.3% carbamide peroxide. Professional whitening treatments may contain up to 6% hydrogen peroxide— but these can only be supplied and administered by qualified and registered dentists. 

At best, the whitening products bought in a shop or online are too weak to really impact the appearance of your teeth. 

Is Shop-Bought Teeth Whitening Safe?

Even with the low levels of peroxide found in most shop-bought whitening products, there’s still considerable risk. Exposing your teeth and gums to the peroxide for too long can cause ulcers and blisters on your gums and the inside of your mouth. 

Even if your product comes with a whitening tray that protects the gums and walls of your mouth, it won’t be made-to-measure. The peroxide may still leak out of the sides, and even the most cautious user could end up causing themselves irreversible damage. 

Does Teeth Whitening At Beauty Salons Work?

As with at-home shop-bought whitening treatments, the type of products used in beauty salons cannot legally contain anywhere near the levels of peroxide needed to be effective. 

The legal limit for the active ingredients in these treatments is 0.1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.3% carbamide peroxide. 

Because the whitening product is so weak, it’ll be ineffective at tackling most stains. Any beauty salon that claims otherwise is either breaking the law by using treatments above the legal limits or is putting your oral health at risk by leaving the product on too long. 

You might assume that getting the treatment done by a beautician means you’re in safe hands. But no formal training or qualifications are needed to administer the treatment.

Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?

Many brands have whitening toothpaste on the market. Some are marketed directly toward smokers, while others target people looking for a brighter smile. 

Typically, these whitening toothpaste aim to remove the extrinsic stains from the surface of your teeth. To achieve this, they include ingredients like charcoal, diatomaceous earth, or bicarbonate of soda. 

All of these ingredients are rough and abrasive. The idea is that as you brush your teeth, the stains are scraped from the surface. But they can only reach the stains that lay outside of your teeth. Anything embedded in your teeth’s pores won’t be removed this way. 

Whitening toothpaste is not only ineffective at tackling deep staining and discolouration, but it can also be bad for your teeth. If you use whitening toothpaste too much, the abrasive ingredients may damage your teeth by weakening the enamel. 

Thinner enamel leaves you at a greater risk of tooth decay. An adverse effect of thinner enamel is that the dentin below will show through, resulting in yellow teeth. 

Another common ingredient found in whitening toothpaste is blue covarine. This ingredient is said to whiten your teeth; however, the way it actually works is by coating your teeth with the blue chemical, so it gives the illusion of whiteness.

How Does Professional Whitening Work?

There are two types of professional whitening, both achieve excellent results. These are at-home and in-clinic whitening. Both options use higher levels of peroxide in a safe and controlled way to achieve the best possible results. 

At-home whitening treatments include Boutique and Enlighten. With both options, you’ll wear a custom-made whitening tray on your teeth for a few hours each day over two weeks. These trays hold professional whitening gel against your teeth. Because they’re made for your mouth, you’ll enjoy better safety levels than shop-bought kits. 

In-clinic whitening uses a whitening gel that’s applied directly to your teeth. Once applied, we’ll use a special light angled towards your teeth. This activates the whitening process. Your appointment will take about an hour, after which you’ll see immediate results. 

Teeth Whitening at Love Teeth Dental

When choosing a teeth whitening treatment, it’s important that you consider safety above all else. At Love Teeth, we offer a range of safe treatments from highly-trained dentists. Not only are these treatments safe, but they also provide exceptional results. 

To brighten your smile, book an appointment at our Chessington, Cheam, Stonecot, or Sutton clinic today. 


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