Will Teeth Whitening Damage My Enamel?

teeth whitening

Will Teeth Whitening Damage My Enamel?

The conclusion from research and studies is that teeth whitening gel does NOT harm or damage tooth enamel mainly because enamel is considered to be the human body’s hardest tissue. Enamel is composed of tiny tubules that can only be seen under high magnification. Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth, and it is the tissue underneath the enamel that absorbs the stain. With whitening, the gel flows through the tubules and starts lightening the stained tissue.

What whitening products can do

However, be aware that products that do whitening CAN cause temporary sensitivity of the teeth after exposure to the whitening gel, or they can cause gum and nerve issues. As the gel goes from an active stage to an inactive one, the tubules become exposed and are left open, called dehydration, but are remineralized by saliva organic material. Dehydration of teeth can happen any time the saliva flow is disrupted by various conditions, but rehydration can take hours. White spots may appear on the tooth’s surface but will disappear.


It is important to avoid drinks or foods containing color because, until the tooth becomes rehydrated, it will absorb color that it is exposed to. Also stay away from extremely cold or hot and salty and sweet substances in order to avoid irritation of nerve tissue.


Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

That is a normal part of aging. Just as hair turns gray, the inner part of the tooth turns yellow. The enamel gets thinner due to wear, acids from foods, grinding your teeth, and other causes which make teeth become yellow sooner as the color of the dentin reflects through the enamel.


Teeth can also turn yellow or gray if you fall on or hit that tooth, have silver fillings, too much fluoride, and other reasons including genetics, which determine your teeth color to begin with. The enamel can also get stained when you drink tea, wine, coffee, or smoke tobacco.


What are the Types of Whitening?

“Extrinsic” is removing stains on the enamel. The stains left behind are usually easily removed with a polish by your professional hygienist at a regular teeth cleaning appointment or possibly with a polishing and whitening toothpaste. Bleach will not work.


“Intrinsic” is whitening the tooth’s inner part, which soaks up the hydrogen peroxide gel (also called bleach or whitening gel) and becomes lighter, whiter and brighter. The results will depend on how well you’ve taken care of your teeth. If you have brushed and flossed regularly, kept up with your regular dental appointments, avoided discoloration and damage, the whiter the teeth will look after a treatment.


Custom-Made Whitening Trays

Custom trays are made by a dentist after impressions of your teeth are taken. Hydrogen peroxide gel is squirted into the trays, and you pop the trays into your mouth. The whitening gel is kept in place, surrounds the surfaces of the teeth, and keeps the gel away from the gums where it could do harm.

Having these trays, you can continue to whiten your teeth if the teeth don’t move. You would add peroxide gel to the trays and wear the trays for a couple of hours or overnight. The gel stores well in the refrigerator.


Whitening Is Safe When Done as Recommended

There is a large amount of clinical data that reports that whitening gel is safe, especially bleaching gels with 10 percent carbamide peroxide and a neutral pH. You can also drink lots of water with meals and throughout the day, which reduces staining. Swish your mouth with water after meals. Protect your teeth with a mouth guard; yellowing happens faster if teeth get hit.


The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you only use a bleaching product after consultation with a dentist. You can also look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on over-the-counter whitening toothpastes. They contain chemical or polishing agents that can improve tooth appearance by removing the surface stains by gentle polishing and other non-bleaching actions.


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