Commercial dentistry and home teeth-whitening kits can be expensive and time consuming. Trips to the dentist can lead to long afternoons of sitting in a dentist's chair, resulting in a costly bill. Home teeth-whitening kits are also expensive and messy and may leave questionable results.
Hydrogen peroxide is a common item found in most medicine cabinets. Originally used for cuts and scrapes, hydrogen peroxide has been found to serve many other purposes, one of which is improved oral hygiene.
What is hydrogen peroxide?
The chemical compound for hydrogen peroxide consists of two molecules of hydrogen and two molecules of oxygen. It is often used as an antiseptic, and has for years been used as a topical treatment for cuts on the skin. Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and can be applied to a cut to clean an area before applying a bandage.
In large concentrations, hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous. However, most bottles of hydrogen peroxide found in the drug store contain less than 5 percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide and are therefore too diluted to pose any danger. It should never be swallowed or ingested.
Hydrogen peroxide is always sold in a dark bottle-usually a dark brown bottle with a white lid. The dark bottle prevents the compound from breaking down and becoming useless, a reaction that would take place if the hydrogen peroxide was exposed to light in a clear or light container.
Benefits of hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening
There are several benefits to using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth; most notably, cost. One bottle of hydrogen peroxide usually costs under a buck, and it will last for months if used in small daily amounts. Compared to the cost of home teeth-whitening kits, the savings are significant.
Hydrogen peroxide also kills bacteria in the mouth and throat that can cause bad breath. So while it whitens your teeth, it can also cure that not-so-fresh smell you (and the people around you) would rather avoid.
Finally, hydrogen peroxide is easy to use. There's nothing to mix, and there's no need to deal with slimy strips that need to be attached to your teeth. You simply take a swig, mix it around your mouth and throat for a few minutes and spit it out.
Possible drawbacks of hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening
Hydrogen peroxide has many benefits, but there may still be some drawbacks to its use. While people have used hydrogen peroxide for many years for oral hygiene, there are still dentists who are against this practice. It remains unknown if the lack of support from the dental industry is due to the fact dentists make large profits from their teeth-whitening services, or if there are indeed side effects to the use of hydrogen peroxide. Some dentists claim the use of hydrogen peroxide can damage gums and/or fillings. Use hydrogen peroxide sparingly (a couple of times a week), and if you notice any side effects, discontinue its use.
How to use hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth
Using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth is simple. Pour a small amount (a couple of tablespoons) into a cup. Put the hydrogen peroxide in your mouth and swish it around or gargle with it. When you first place the hydrogen peroxide in your mouth, it will become slightly foamy and expand. This will go away in a few seconds. The hydrogen peroxide will have a slight medicine taste, but it will not taste bad. After rinsing with the compound, spit it out. DO NOT SWALLOW THE HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. If you prefer, rinse with water or brush your teeth with water. Your teeth should be noticeably whiter within three to four uses of hydrogen peroxide. Continue to brush your teeth daily with toothpaste as usual.