DIY teeth whitening – the risks

If you are looking to refresh your smile and brighten up your teeth, teeth whitening is a possible solution. In recent times, whitening trends such as do it yourself DIY teeth whitening or take-home teeth whitening kits have become a popular trend. The convenience of whitening your teeth anywhere at any time without having to see a healthcare professional seems attractive for many customers. However, there are some risks involved in the whitening process. Our team has outlined what is involved in a tooth whitening treatment and some DIY teeth whitening risks.

Couple with white teeth smiling in the park

What is involved in DIY teeth whitening?

Do it yourself teeth whitening is commonly used by those who have discoloured teeth. As it is an efficient way to remove stains on your teeth without visiting a dentist, all sorts of DIY whitening products have appeared on the market.

Most teeth whitening products such as DIY teeth-whitening kits contain chemicals such as peroxide. Peroxide is used to bleach the surface of your teeth to remove stains.

The discolouration or stains on your teeth can be caused by:

  • Drinking coffee and alcohol
  • Smoking regularly
  • Age
  • Certain medications

Teeth whitening kits can be purchased online or at your local dentist. Whitening kits normally contain:

  • Bleach trays (shaped like a mouthguard)
  • A bleaching chemical
  • A UV light source
  • Tooth whitening pen or adhesive strip

Some products such as certain Whitening Power are made from charcoal. When the charcoal is blended with toothpaste, it acts as an abrasive agent to remove stains from your teeth. Even though abrasive and whitening toothpaste can remove stains, they won’t actually “whiten” your teeth. In general, they will just make your teeth return to their natural colour and overuse can damage the enamel surface.

DIY teeth whitening products on the market

There are a variety of teeth whitening kits on the market such as whitening powders, whitening kits, pens and gels.

At Coastal Dental Care, we offer take-home whitening kits for your convenience. Our take-home whitening kits contain a higher percentage of bleach and are safer to use than products you may buy instore or online. As a result, you can expect to achieve a similar result to an in-chair whitening procedure with your dentist. Also, products purchased online are not as tightly regulated and can actually be unsafe or harmful.

Side effects of DIY teeth whitening

Prior to purchasing a tooth whitening kit, we recommend you consult with your dentist first. There are several side effects that can put your health and wellbeing at risk whilst using a tooth whitening product.

Swallowing bleach

Teeth whitening gel or bleach is designed to be applied to your teeth but can be easily swallowed.

Bleach contains some chemicals to clean stains from the surface of your teeth. In addition, peroxide is the main whitening agent in most whitening products. This chemical can negatively impact your stomach and digestive system if consumed in large quantities.

Moreover, you should try your best to avoid it from touching your gums as much as possible. In an event that it does, it can leave burn marks. During the in-chair whitening process at a dental practice, your dentist will protect your gums with a shield to avoid any damage. Professional take- home kits use custom made trays to help avoid damage to gums also.

Extreme chemical reactions

In extreme cases, you may experience serious side effects due to the over exposure of the bleach. If you incorrectly use DIY teeth whitening, some side effects may experience include:

  • Tooth sensitivity due to irritation of the nerves in teeth
  • Difficulty breathing as a result of allergic reactions
  • Mouth infections and chemical burns to gums

Low quantity of whitening ingredient

In the dental surgery, dentists can administer up to 6% of peroxide to whiten your teeth. On the other hand, DIY teeth whitening kits are not permitted to administer anything over 0.1% into their products. These concentrations have been proven to be effective in whitening teeth whilst being safe when sued correctly.

Although DIY products may seem to be an easy and convenient solution, in-chair whitening will give you a faster result. In-chair whitening takes around 1.5 hours to complete whereas you may have to use your DIY whitening kit for weeks to see results.

Damaged enamel

In some cases, charcoal has been seen to cause more harm than good. Research suggests that charcoal can scratch off the protective layer on your teeth. Therefore, it may leave your teeth exposed to bad oral conditions and prone to form cracks.

DIY teeth whitening alternatives

In-chair whitening is only one alternative to DIY whitening products. All our practices offer Philips Zoom in-chair teeth whitening. Alternatively, our dental team can assist you making customised bleach trays for your take-home whitening. This ensures that the moulds fit your teeth seamlessly for your whitening at home. It is important to discuss with your dentist which option is best for you and how to get the most out of your teeth whitening treatment.

Book an appointment

Looking to whiten your teeth? Contact one of our friendly practices today to see how we can help you to brighten your smile. You can also book and appointment online 24/7.