Although the American Dental Association (ADA) has deemed peroxide to be a safe way to whiten teeth, there are alternatives. Why go peroxide-free? There are two common side effects that come with peroxide-based teeth whiteners that lead many consumers to look for more “natural” options.
Adverse Side Effects of Peroxide-Based Teeth Whiteners
While oral care products containing carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide are safe and effective, some consumers might prefer peroxide-free products to whiten their teeth. One reason they opt for peroxide-free is that they want to avoid negative side effects. Peroxide-based products come with two common adverse side effects: increased teeth sensitivity and gingival irritation.
Temporary teeth sensitivity is a common adverse reaction to using teeth whitening products that have high concentrations of peroxide. For example, tooth-whitening trays, which you wear for several hours or while sleeping, can have higher concentrations of peroxide. Some people report increased sensitivity in their teeth after using such products. In fact, the ADA found that about two-thirds of people who use this form of bleaching report some form of sensitivity during the early stages of use.
What is gingival irritation? The gingiva is the formal name of the gums, so gingival irritation is any kind of disruption of the normal state of the gums — itching, redness, swelling and inflammation. It’s also known as gingivitis.
For some people, using peroxide-based oral care products aggravates their gums and causes gingival irritation.
How Can You Whiten Teeth Without Peroxide Bleach?
Here are three ways you can brighten your smile without using carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Before undertaking any teeth whitening procedure, the ADA strongly recommends that you visit a dentist for a regular checkup. Make sure you have no contraindications, such as cavities, gingivitis, or serious underlying issues.
Probably one of the least popular suggestions for brightening your teeth is to avoid things that stain them in the first place. After all, giving up their beloved coffee or an acai berry smoothie is not what most people want to hear!
Avoiding foods and substances that stain teeth is one of the best ways to brighten your smile naturally. If you can’t avoid them, arm yourself with a good brightening mouthwash, especially one that contains fluoride. Rinse after snacks and meals and then brush twice daily with fluoride-based whitening toothpaste.
2. Baking soda
According to the ADA , studies have shown that teeth “dentifrices” that contain baking soda are more effective at whitening teeth than those that do not contain it. A dentifrice, by the way, is the fancy name for a powder or paste that cleans teeth. Toothpaste is a dentifrice.
Unfortunately, baking soda doesn’t taste very good when used by itself. In fact, another study that the ADA cites supports the notion that flavor matters when it comes to choosing a dentifrice!
The bottom line is that if someone is looking for toothpaste or a product that whitens teeth without the use of peroxide, then baking soda is a good alternative. It might not be as effective, but it will lighten teeth color a shade or two, as well as remove stains from teeth.
3. Mineral-based dentifrices
Some higher-end toothpaste and teeth whitening gels offer peroxide-free ways to whiten teeth while also protecting and remineralizing tooth enamel. Their ingredients include natural mineral crystals and whitening agents that remove stains from teeth.
Teeth-whitening gels are brushed on teeth, left on for several minutes, and then rinsed away. They can lighten teeth as many as 10 shades with regular, continuous use.
Unproven ‘Natural’ Teeth Whiteners
While researching natural teeth whiteners, you might find references to several home remedies other than baking soda that people use to whiten their teeth. There is no scientific evidence or a severe lack of evidence that supports that any of these are effective ways to whiten teeth: oil pulling, apple cider vinegar, activated charcoal, and fruit slices applied right to your teeth. In fact, some of these methods can deteriorate teeth by eroding the enamel.
The best ways to whiten your teeth without peroxide are using the three methods described above: avoiding teeth-staining foods, using baking soda, and using a mineral-based tooth whitening gel or paste.
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