Teeth whitening is no longer seen as being vain. For many people it is a necessity to look their best both at home and at work. You don’t just have to have a job on TV to need to look good and creating the right impression is much easier if you can smile in confidence.
There are a few different methods of teeth whitening treatments available to you but the most effective process, and most used method is by bleaching. When you look at most home whitening kits, you will probably notice that they use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the whitening gel.
What is hydrogen peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical combination of both hydrogen and oxygen, both natural elements. At low levels, it is often used medically to clean cuts and wounds and it is a natural by product of some plants and organisms. When used at very high levels of concentration it can be powerful, in fact the Russian space programme used hydrogen peroxide as rocket fuel!
Hydrogen peroxide is also used in washing powders, industrial cleaners, clothes whiteners, skin care products, beauty treatment and is the active bleaching ingredient in carbamide peroxide.
What is the difference between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide bleaches the teeth effectively and quickly but the effect will not be as long lasting as with carbamide peroxide. The reason for this is because the carbamide peroxide when mixed with saliva, creates the hydrogen peroxide naturally in the mouth – these naturally occurring molecules are known as free radicals.
Because it takes time to transform the carbamide peroxide into hydrogen peroxide, the free radicals are produced for longer and at a more sustained rate. This makes the whitening process more predictable and more easily controlled.
Dentists prefer carbamide peroxide to hydrogen peroxide for a number of reasons. One reason is that carbamide peroxide is a more stable product and has a longer shelf life but the main reason is that it gives longer lasting results. Although hydrogen peroxide often gives an instant great effect, it can often wear off quickly which is disappointing for the user.
An added danger of using a teeth-whitening treatment that does not last, is that some users will be tempted to keep using whitening products to keep up the initial effect. Teeth whitening is not recommended over a prolonged period as it can cause damage to the teeth if overused.
To get the best results from your teeth whitening always read instructions carefully and keep within the guidelines of the recommended treatment time.