MAR 31, 2017 11:45 AM PDT

Is it Safe to Bleach Your Teeth?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

With the explosion of teeth whitening products on the market, from do-it-yourself kits to services offered straight from the dentist, it seems that a dazzling white smile is within everybody's reach. But how does teeth whitening work and do the pearly whites come with unknown risks?

Because tooth enamel is porous, stains from our foods and drinks can seep in over time. While brushing and regular cleanings at the dentist office help to minimize the process, discoloration of the teeth as we age is naturally unavoidable.

Teeth whitening procedures are designed remove the stains at the deep level and restore a white brilliance. Most whiteners rely on a common chemical known as hydrogen peroxide. On the teeth at clinical-grade concentrations, this chemical breaks down the stain-causing compounds, essentially bleaching the enamel.

The process of whitening your teeth has become so common that nearly every major tooth-care brand has their own version of a DIY whitening kit. But before you commit, watch the video to understand the side effects like teeth sensitivity, and why whitening doesn't work on everyone.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 22, 2019
Why a Metal Asteroid Tops NASA's Must-Explore List
Innumerable amounts of asteroids exist in the asteroid belt that resides between Mars and Jupiter in orbit around the Sun, but one specimen in particular a...
NOV 22, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 22, 2019
The Great Barrier Reef is Disappearing, and Here's Why
Most people think of the Great Barrier Reef as a single, massive coral reef off the coast of Australia, but it isn’t. Instead, this beautiful underwa...
NOV 22, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 22, 2019
The Penguin Life Isn't Always Easy
Mother nature isn’t kind to wildlife; many assume their position as either the prey or the predator depending on the cards they’re dealt. Unfor...
NOV 22, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 22, 2019
Radioactive Spill? Self-propelled Microbots to the Rescue
Scientists have been looking for an effective method to clean up radioactive elements in industrial wastewater and accidental spill, to support and boost t...
NOV 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 22, 2019
Can We Terraform Mars?
Space agencies and commercial space companies are taking the idea of colonizing Mars very seriously. There’s just one problem: the red planet isn&rsq...
NOV 22, 2019
Health & Medicine
NOV 22, 2019
Climate Crisis Will Impact Children The Most
Many are already feeling the impacts of climate change around the world. Heat waves, severe storms, and flooding have affected humans of all ages. However,...
Loading Comments...