Understandably, many of us are turning to home tooth whitening kits as a way to avoid the expense of visiting a professional. These kits make use of small tubes of bleaching solution, applied to the teeth for a set period of time. They are proven to work, and the effects can last for around six months at a time.
However, as with any at-home treatment, there are always dangers. Here’s a guide to the main teeth whitening risks and how to avoid them.
What Are The Risks?
Although some people worry that the bleach contained in whitening products may damage the teeth and gums over the long term, the evidence suggests that they’re safe to use. The main risk of at-home treatments is sensitivity in the teeth. In other words, you can find it painful to eat or drink hot or cold foods after treatment. In most cases this is temporary, but the severity varies from person to person.
How To Avoid The Side Effects
1) Always follow the instructions on the label. Never leave the product on your teeth for longer than the recommended time frame.
2) Pay attention to any sensitivity you may feel while the product is on your teeth. If they start getting sensitive, decrease the recommended treatment time, or even try avoiding it altogether for the next few days.
3) Start using toothpaste developed specifically for sensitive teeth if you experience an adverse reaction to the whitening product. Visit a dentist if it continues.
4) If you already suffer from sensitive teeth and/or gums, or any other dental issue, then it’s important to speak to your doctor before you even begin any at-home whitening treatment.
5) Never use any teeth whitening product for a continuous period of over 14 days. It’s important to give your teeth a break from the treatment to minimize teeth whitening risks. Only use the products once every six months at most.
6) Children under the age of 18 should not use whitening products while the teeth are still developing. Nor should pregnant or breastfeeding women.
7) If you need to whiten veneers, crowns, fillings or false teeth then whitening isn’t the answer. Instead, contact your dentist who may replace them with lighter-colored versions.
Thankfully, home treatments use a much lower concentration of bleach than professional options. This helps to avoid any teeth whitening risks, as long as you’re careful to follow instructions.