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If you have ever tried to whiten teeth at home, then you may have come across hydrogen peroxide. If you want to know how to whiten teeth instantly, then at-home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) treatments will not work for you.

Professional whitening treatments at your dentist offer more effective and instant results. However, if you do not want to spend money on professional treatments and have the patience to wait for results, then using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth is something you can consider.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

It is a mild antiseptic that can be used on small cuts, scrapes, and burns to prevent infection. It can also be used as a mouth rinse to assist clear mucus or treat minor oral discomfort (due to problems like gingivitis or canker/cold sores). When this product is administered to the affected area, it releases oxygen. Foaming is caused by the release of oxygen, which helps to eliminate dead skin and clean the area. Deep wounds, animal bites, and significant burns should not be treated with this medication.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Teeth?

While it can help whiten teeth in some cases, there are several critical safety concerns to keep in mind. If hydrogen peroxide is used inappropriately, it can cause damage to the enamel of the teeth.

The hydrogen peroxide concentration in store-bought teeth whitening kits can be as high as 10%. Dentists may also provide hydrogen peroxide whitening procedures with up to 40% hydrogen peroxide concentrations. Most store-bought hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, has a 3% content.

Many people fear that increased peroxide concentrations may cause additional negative effects like enamel breakdown and tooth sensitivity, however, this is not always the case. On the other hand, it appears that the amount of time these products are left on the teeth is significant.

In fact, the authors of a 2016 study discovered that when lower dosage gels were left on the teeth for extended periods, they had more harmful impacts on tooth enamel. Higher concentration gels often take less time on the teeth to produce the desired results, reducing the risk of enamel damage.

Another study published in the American Journal of Dentistry discovered that after four weeks, a commercial mouthwash containing only 1.5% hydrogen peroxide induced a visible lightening in human dental enamel.

Before using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth, people with sensitive teeth should consult their dentist.

Method of Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Whiten Teeth

In a tiny cup, combine 2 oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 2 oz of water to make a peroxide mouthwash. Swish this combination in your mouth for 2–4 minutes every day. The liquid should not be swallowed and spit out when you are done swishing.

A homemade paste, on the other hand, might be able to help some people eliminate minor stains. To make this paste, combine a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a thick, homogeneous paste. Using a toothbrush, apply the paste directly to the teeth. Allow a few minutes for the paste to rest on the teeth before rinsing it away with water. The paste should not be swallowed.

If you are buying OTC products, then look for ADA’s seal of acceptance on them and follow the instructions provided.  It is highly recommended that you consult your dentist before using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth. If you experience pain and tenderness when using it, then stop the use, and visit your dentist.

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