What are Teeth Whiteners?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2018
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Teeth whiteners are products that are used to remove stains from teeth and restore a pleasant appearance to the teeth. Products used for teeth whitening are an alternative to more expense laser whitening procedures and are often much less expensive. Teeth whitening products are available over the counter as well as in stronger formulas that are used by dentists and other oral health professionals to professionally whiten yellow teeth.

Many of the over the counter teeth whiteners make use of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as an active agent. Both peroxides have the ability to gently lift the stains left behind by frequent use of coffee and tea as well as stains left behind by tobacco use. Other ingredients are added to help prevent the peroxide from causing any damage to the enamel on the teeth, thus minimizing the potential for chipping and other common dental problems that are associated with weakened enamel.


Teeth whiteners purchased in drugstores or other retail outlets are sometimes in the form of a gel that is similar to toothpaste. The teeth whitening gel is applied to the surface of the teeth, allowed to set for a moment, and is then brushed and rinsed away. An alternative to the gel products is strips that are applied directly to the teeth and left in place for longer periods of time. In some cases, the medicated strips can be left in place overnight, although many products call for the strips to remain in place for no more than a half-hour. Both types of over the counter products must be used daily for a period of one to two weeks in order for results to appear.

Professional strength teeth whiteners are only used under the direction of a dentist or other oral health care professional. This is because the level of peroxide and other agents in these whiteners is far more concentrated than in over the counter whitening products. In most cases, the treatments take place in the dentist’s office, where the progress is carefully supervised. Treatments are sometimes spaced out with several days in between, making it possible to observe any type of irritation or allergic reaction that could occur.

There are also home remedies for yellow teeth that are sometimes employed. One example of homemade teeth whiteners would be a mixture composed of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The two ingredients are combined to form a foamy paste that is then applied with a toothbrush. After using the paste to scrub the teeth, the mouth is rinsed thoroughly with water, effectively flushing away any residue of the peroxide. When used consistently over several days, this home remedy can remove minor stains from teeth and restore a healthier smile.

In most cases, it is better to consult a dentist before using any type of teeth whiteners, even home remedies. The dentist can assess the current state of your teeth and provide guidelines on which products to use, or if the staining is severe enough to require professional treatments.



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