Is Teeth Whitening Bad For You?

When you have discolored teeth, it can affect your self-image. It is possible for you to get a brighter smile. However, you do need to understand the risks before you pursue the procedure.

Generally, whitening your teeth is a safe procedure. Nevertheless, some people do experience side effects. Most of these side effects are relatively benign.

Bottom Line Facts

  • Whitening Your Teeth is Generally Safe
  • There Are a Few Side Effects
  • Which Side Effects You Experience Depends on the Method of Whitening

Getting at the Root of the Problem: Why Do Teeth Become Discolored

Why do teeth become discolored in the first place? Well, there are generally two sources. Your teeth could be discolored because of something from inside of the tooth. It could also be from an external cause.

Intrinsic Discoloration:

When something inside of your tooth causes the discoloration, it’s called intrinsic discoloration. Typically, this is a sign of some kind of dental infection.

Extrinsic Discoloration:

More commonly, teeth get discolored because of things you eat. Highly pigmented foods can leave behind stains on the surface of the teeth. The more you eat these foods, the worse the staining.

Possible Risks When You Whiten Your Teeth

Suppose you would like to whiten your teeth. What kind of risks can you anticipate? Luckily, most people do not experience any at all. Yet, in some cases, the following side effects may occur.

Pain in the Teeth:

Painful sensations in the teeth are one of the most commonly reported side effects. These can be a sign of possible dental health concerns. However, most of the time, they are nothing.

Pain in Your Gums:

Your gums may also become irritated during the whitening procedure. Most procedures use chemicals to lighten your teeth. These chemicals can also burn sensitive tissues.

Lasting Sensitivity of the Teeth:

Perhaps, the worst side effect is lasting teeth sensitivity. If you experience this, your teeth will hurt randomly. Sometimes, you can treat it with a special type of toothpaste.

Possible Adverse Effects on Dental Restorations:

It seems the chemicals used to whiten teeth can also damage dental restorations. As such, if you have dental restorations, you may want to avoid whitening.

Different Methods You Can Use to Whiten Your Teeth

There are several different methods you can use to whiten your teeth. If you would like to have a brighter smile, the best method will depend. Each has its own benefits and its own drawbacks.

Professional Teeth Whitening:

You could go to the dentist’s office. Your dentist will apply special chemicals to your teeth. These chemicals will strip away any stains on your teeth. The end result, you have a much prettier smile by the time you leave.

Prescription Teeth Brighteners:

If you do not have time to stay at the dentist’s office, they could prescribe you something. Prescription brighteners are more powerful than over-the-counter solutions. However, you must be careful when using them to avoid chemical burns.

Over The Counter Treatment Options:

Different products are sold over the counter to improve the brightness of your smile. Efficacy varies depending on the material.

Factor Affecting Which Method Is Best

  • 1. Severity of Tooth Discoloration
  • 2. Affordability of Various Treatment Options
  • 3. How Comfortable Are You Treating Yourself at Home?
  • 4. Do You Have the Flexibility to Attend in Person Treatments?
  • 5. What is Your Individual Dental History?

Professional Teeth Whitening

Working with professionals will always be your best bet. They have the most consistent results. Plus, they can lighten your teeth by an additional shade or two.

Faster Results:

Do you enjoy waiting around for results? Most people would rather get them right away. If you like instant gratification, professional teeth cleaning is the best option.

Monitored by Professional:

Additionally, you will have professional monitoring of the procedure. That means you won’t have to worry about anything going wrong. No matter what, they will keep an eye on you.

Most Effective:

Suppose you have severe staining. Over-the-counter solutions just will not cut it. Professional teeth whitening procedures could give the results that you are looking for.

Prescription Teeth Brighteners

When you want better results than you can get over the counter, prescriptions may be the best route. Particularly, if you do not have time to stay at the dentist’s, prescriptions can be helpful.

Convenient For People Who Are Short on Time:

Not everyone can spend a few hours at the dentists to get their teeth brightened. If this sounds like your situation, consider getting a prescription whitener. You can apply these from the comfort of your own home. Plus, they are still very effective.

Over the Counter Options

In some instances, over-the-counter solutions may be suitable. For example, people with minor staining can use an over-the-counter solution. As long as the staining isn’t too severe, these will work just fine.


There are several different brands of toothpaste that include whiteners. These are clinically shown to help brighten people’s smiles.


There are also strips you can purchase over the counter. These contain minorly diluted versions of the same chemicals used by professionals. As such, they are the most effective over-the-counter option.

Activated Charcoal:

Activated charcoal can help to penetrate deep within your tooth. Then, it helps to draw out stains that are deeply set. You must brush your teeth vigorously afterward. Otherwise, you will have a layer of black charcoal left coating them.

Keeping Your New Smile Safe

Now, once you have a better smile, how did you keep it?, how to prevent cavities?. Protecting your teeth is relatively straightforward. You just need to know the right steps. As long as you can follow them, your teeth will stay white forever.

Avoid Highly Pigmented Foodstuffs:

The primary reason teeth become discolored and turns yellow is because of your diet. When you eat foods that contain very colorful material, it can stain your teeth. Avoiding eating these types of food is essential if you want to protect them.

Brush After Every Meal:

It is impossible to avoid all pigmented foods. Nevertheless, you still need to exercise caution. Immediately after you eat any food containing pigments, brush your teeth.

Do Not Smoke:

Of course, this should go without saying. Smoking can discolor your teeth faster than almost anything else. If you are serious about maintaining an aesthetic smile, then you must stop smoking. If you do not already smoke, do not start.

Whitening Your Teeth Is Relatively Safe

Whitening your teeth can greatly improve your self-esteem. It is a generally safe procedure. There are some potential side effects, but they are relatively benign. If you would like more information, talk to your dentist.

Potential Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

  • 1. Sensitive Gums
  • 2. Sensitive Teeth
  • 3. Irritation in the Gums
  • 4. Painful Sensations on Your Teeth
  • 5. In Some Instances, Chemical Burns


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