Can You Actually Whiten Teeth With Drugstore Hydrogen Peroxide?
Can you whiten teeth with store-bought hydrogen peroxide? After all, most whitening strips, pens, and gels have peroxide as an active ingredient. Is it possible to rinse or brush with hydrogen peroxide instead of paying 40 or 50 bucks for a teeth whitening kit at the store? No. And trust me, there’s a good reason why.
Whiten Teeth With Hydrogen Peroxide
First off, the type of peroxide ingredients in teeth whitening systems aren’t the same as the brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide you have in your medicine cabinet. These bleaching agents have specific levels of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Depending on which one, the concentration and application time will vary. If you’re just swishing (or rubbing) it around for a couple of minutes, it isn’t going to penetrate your teeth and make them whiter.
The gel that your dentist uses may have concentrations of hydrogen peroxide between 10-40%, depending on the brand, ingredients, and what your specific teeth need. But your bottle of hydrogen peroxide is somewhere around 3%. Even if you did brush or rinse with straight drugstore hydrogen peroxide, it would likely make little to no difference in the color of your teeth. Whereas a thicker gel that’s in place for several minutes (like in a strip or tray) will.
Can You Gargle Hydrogen Peroxide to Whiten Teeth?
Using something that’s “fast” like mouthwash or toothpaste offers very little contact time with your teeth. And for effective stain removal and whitening, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide really needs to set against your teeth for 30-60 minutes at a time, several days in a row.
Hydrogen peroxide needs contact time to whiten your teeth. But not only that, it needs to be the right concentration. Rinsing with straight-up hydrogen peroxide liquid doesn’t offer either.
Remember, commercial products like teeth whitening mouthwash and toothpaste are best for preventing new stains on your smile, rather than whitening away the ones that are already there.
Somebody rinsing with hydrogen peroxide could, potentially, notice a shade or two of difference on their teeth after an extended period of time. But by the point you reach that goal, you’ll be dealing with a host of other side effects…
Side Effects Of Hydrogen Peroxide
Three words: black hairy tongue.
But that’s not all. The elongated papilla also tend to pick up stain and turn black from all of the hydrogen peroxide exposure. So not only does your tongue look hairy, but it also looks like black hair.
I know. It’s gross. And it’s a telltale sign that someone has been rinsing with hydrogen peroxide.
Also if you have sensitive teeth, rinsing with hydrogen peroxide will make your teeth more sensitive so keep that in mind.
Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening?
Yes, you can use hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth. But only if it comes in a concentrated gel that is specifically made to wear on your teeth. Like whitening strips, pens, or a custom set of teeth whitening trays with gel from your dentist’s office.
Tooth Stains & Discoloration
No matter how great of a whitening agent you’re using, you could still be staining your teeth between teeth whitening sessions. It all boils down to your lifestyle and the types of foods or drinks you’re putting into your mouth.
Teeth are porous. And if they’re exposed to stain particles during the duration of a whitening process, they can soak up even more stains than normal. That’s why it’s super important to avoid anything that could stain your teeth if you’re in the process of whitening your smile.
Things like smoking, dip tobacco, coffee, red wine, tea, soda, and dark tomato sauces, berries, or curries can quickly lead to tooth stain. If it can stain a white blouse, it can stain your teeth. There are even some cases where certain vitamins, supplements, or swimming in a chlorinated pool are known to cause tooth stains.
Don’t forget, it’s easier to whiten teeth that have been professionally cleaned since there isn’t any tartar buildup or extrinsic stain for the hydrogen peroxide to power through. It’s best to bleach your teeth right after a dental cleaning when your teeth are naturally their brightest.
Safe Ways To Whiten (OTC Teeth Whitening Products)
If you’re not ready to whiten your teeth at the dentist’s office, one of the best things to do is use an over-the-counter teeth whitening system that’s produced by a reputable oral health brand. Here is a list of the best teeth-whitening products.
Always follow the product directions to the T. If you don’t, you can irritate your gums, cause unnecessary sensitivity, and reduce the effectiveness of your investment. With whitening strips, that means shaping them around your gums and making sure you have good contact on all of the curved surfaces of each tooth.
If you’re still unhappy with how white your teeth are, you can get even brighter results with a concentrated, professional-grade product bought directly from your dentist’s office.
Talk With A Dentist
Is hydrogen peroxide safe for teeth whitening? Never attempt a DIY teeth whitening hack without talking to your dentist. Unfortunately, a lot of these trends—rinsing with hydrogen peroxide being one of them—only cause more harm than good without the results to show for it. Whitening teeth with hydrogen peroxide can work, but only when the peroxide is concentrated properly and spends enough time directly against your teeth. Rinsing just won’t cut it!
teethtalkgirl content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or medical doctor to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.
Our medical affairs team works hard to ensure the accuracy and integrity by cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).British Dental Journal volume. Hydrogen peroxide tooth-whitening (bleaching) products: Review of adverse effects and safety issues. British Dental Journal volume. 2006 Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/4813423. October 31, 2022 World Journal of Gastroenterology. Black hairy tongue syndrome. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014 Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4138463/. October 31, 2022 Australian Dental Journal. Safety issues relating to the use of hydrogen peroxide in dentistry. Australian Dental Journal. 2000 Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11225528/. October 31, 2022 The British Pharmacological Society. Chemical gastritis and colitis related to hydrogen peroxide mouthwash. The British Pharmacological Society. 2016 Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.13100. October 31, 2022 Sec. Reconstructive Dentistry. Effectiveness and Adverse Effects of Over-the-Counter Whitening Products on Dental Tissues. Sec. Reconstructive Dentistry. 2021 Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fdmed.2021.687507. October 31, 2022 American Dental Association. Whitening. American Dental Association. NaN Available at: https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/whitening. October 31, 2022