Let’s face it. Some of the most addictive beverages and habits are not the best for our pearly whites. Fortunately, if you want white teeth, you don’t have to say goodbye to coffee, soda, sweets, tea, wine, and smoking because there are many teeth whitening kits to choose from.
Teeth whitening has also been commonly called teeth bleaching, mainly because the active ingredient in most products is hydrogen peroxide (or products that release hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water or air).
Teeth whitening is offered by dentists, other dental practitioners and by cosmetic businesses.
Teeth whitening is somewhat controversial; different countries have different rules regarding the permitted concentrations of hydrogen peroxide released by products and who may provide these.
In Australia, only a dental practitioner may provide products that release more than 6 per cent hydrogen peroxide. Some in-chair whitening systems use 35 per cent hydrogen peroxide.
At this concentration, hydrogen peroxide can effectively permeate deep into the enamel structure. Weaker concentrations act only at the surface of the tooth enamel.
While hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in most whitening products, some teeth-whitening gels contain carbamide peroxide or sodium perborate.