Teeth whitening products are a common offering in the drugstore aisle and are generally safe. However, like other lifestyle choices, moderation is key.
Peroxide is a common ingredient in teeth whitening products. Depending on its concentration, irritation of your gum tissue may occur. While your dentist tends to use a higher-strength product, he or she will also use a process to protect your gums.
Home kits such as strips or trays are convenient and cheaper but may not prevent gum irritation. However, when used properly, they will not cause any long-term health effects or damage to your tooth enamel. Chewing gum, toothpaste and mouthwash may help keep your teeth whiter but are unlikely to whiten teeth that are already stained.
Dr. Fischer stresses taking care of your dental health before embarking on cosmetic and elective treatments like teeth whitening. Avoid things that stain your teeth and maintain good dental hygiene:
- Minimize drinking dark liquids such as soda, coffee and tea
- Don’t use cigarettes, chewing tobacco or dipping tobacco
- Practice good brushing habits
- Get regular dental checkups
- Talk to your dentist if you grind your teeth
You should not use a whitening product every day, nor should you see your dentist monthly for whitening procedures. Before whitening your teeth, first address any serious dental or medical health issues.
For pregnant or nursing mothers, the American Dental Association recommends waiting to whiten your teeth until after you give birth and have stopped breastfeeding.