Dental bleaching: the main risks and solutions

blanchiment dentaire

Who wouldn't want to have white teeth worthy of a star smile? However, brushing your teeth does not necessarily guarantee white teeth. After all, it is difficult to whiten devitalized teeth. This is why you have often been advised to use tooth whitening methods. For example, to get white teeth, dental surgeons recommend sodium bicarbonate with lemon or tooth whitening kits for optimal oral hygiene and to recover the natural colour of the teeth. However, all these methods of whitening teeth carry risks that are important to know. 

Here are the main risks associated with tooth whitening and the methods to whiten your teeth without damaging them.

What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is a simple technique that allows you to quickly lighten your teeth. It involves the application of a hydrogen peroxide-based gel, more commonly known as hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. In order to keep the gel on the tooth for several hours at a time, it is applied with the help of what is called a removable "tray" to be placed on the teeth.

    There are two types of tooth whitening:

    • Vital tooth whitening: This type of tooth whitening consists of whitening teeth that have been stained by various foods, tobacco or have naturally lost their whiteness as they age.
    • Non-vital tooth whitening: This type of tooth whitening concerns teeth that are grey in colour as a result of metabolic changes after the teeth have been devitalised.

    1) Hydrogen peroxide: a harmful chemical compound

    Hydrogen peroxide is composed of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. It decomposes without residue into water and oxygen, and is a powerful oxidant. It therefore has a harmful effect in high concentrations or quantities. A high or prolonged dosage of hydrogen peroxide has a negative effect on the teeth, gums and periodontium. It is not a good treatment.

    Here are the oral problems linked to its use:

    • Hypersensitivity of the teeth : You will have strong pains which are accentuated with the appearance of cold.
    • Alteration of the enamel : The pulp of the teeth will be much more sensitive to chemical and thermal aggressions.
    • A faster recolouring of the teeth : If exposures are too long or too frequent, the surface condition of the tooth enamel deteriorates, which can facilitate the fixation of pigments.
    • Reaction with dental filling materials : This can have the effect of degrading the junction between the tooth and the filling. This can lead to tooth decay.


    2) The various general contraindications to tooth whitening

    Although medical treatments are controlled, tooth whitening is far from being a harmless procedure. The products used have a higher concentration, they are not perfectly harmless and involve contraindications that must be respected. These rules are also valid for most non-prescription treatments.

    Here are the various contraindications to tooth whitening:

    Prohibition for children


    Regardless of the type of tooth whitening or the concentration of the product injected, it is important to be over 18. All tooth whitening is forbidden before this age. This is because dental tissue is not properly formed in children and adolescents. Bleaching products would therefore damage them.

    Prohibition in case of pregnancy


    Pregnant women are under new hormones. They experience fatigue on a daily basis. In addition, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy contribute to a weakened state of health. All of this generally favours the appearance of cavities or gingivitis during pregnancy. Therefore, tooth whitening could damage their teeth.

    Oral lesions


    The presence of oral lesions is also a reason why you should not use tooth whitening. The penetration of a bleaching product on a cavity or periodontal infection can lead to over-inflammation or damage to the tissues of the oral cavity. Wounds in the mouth are also a reason not to bleach.

    Dental sensitivities


    Sensitivity of the teeth and gums is also a contraindication to tooth whitening. It is important to take a course of treatment with potassium nitrate to remedy this sensitivity. Having an allergy to hydrogen peroxide is also a contraindication to tooth whitening. This is because the whitening products penetrate the inner tissues of the teeth.

    3) Methods for whitening teeth without damaging them

    A good technique for thorough brushing of teeth and gums

    It is important to brush your teeth after each meal, i.e. morning, noon and evening for 2 minutes. You can do this with a special white toothpaste or with baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. In addition, you can use dental floss and interdental brushes to clean the hardest to reach areas. To do this, you need to pour a tablespoon of bicarbonate onto a wet brush or onto your toothpaste. Do not forget to rinse your mouth with clear water after each brushing.

    Scaling and polishing at the dental surgeon


    Scaling and polishing are effective techniques if flossing and interdental brushes do not give you good enough results. After all, even after using them, there will always be places that are difficult to reach. Scaling and polishing can help to clean your teeth properly. The first step of "scaling" removes plaque and tartar. The next step is to "polish" the teeth to smooth the surface. It also corrects imperfections and areas of brittle texture on the teeth.

    The homemade method: homemade strawberry toothpaste


    This is the most suitable toothpaste in all circumstances but especially if you drink a lot of coffee. Strawberries contain malic acid. This acid dissolves coffee or red wine stains on the teeth. The recipe is very simple. Simply crush some strawberries and add a teaspoon of baking soda to make a toothpaste paste. Spread the paste on your toothbrush and brush your teeth for at least 5 minutes. Finally, it is important to rinse your teeth thoroughly to ensure that they do not stick to your teeth.

    A tooth mask with activated charcoal


    Activated charcoal is a plant-based organic material that has whitening properties. Its granules remove bacteria from the teeth to prevent possible staining. It is therefore an excellent alternative to hydrogen peroxide-based whitening products, which are far too aggressive. The recipe is simple. All you have to do is mix a little activated charcoal with a little water. You can then apply it to the entire surface of your teeth. Finally, you can leave it on for a couple of minutes and rinse it off so that the traces of activated charcoal disappear.

    To avoid damaging your teeth, you can use the Y-Brush sonic toothbrush, a toothbrush with several sonic vibration modes and brushing times. You can choose a vibration mode according to your dental sensitivity. 

    We hope this guide has helped you understand how tooth whitening works. We also hope that you have understood the harmful effects of hydrogen peroxide on your teeth and that it is therefore not a suitable method of tooth whitening. You should also be aware that tooth whitening is strongly discouraged in all the situations we have outlined. However, you can use all the tooth whitening methods we have presented to you with your eyes closed.

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