In recent years, the cosmetic practice of whitening teeth has grown by leaps and bounds. While professional teeth whitening procedures done at the dentist office has been around for some time, now affordable over-the-counter versions have cropped up everywhere. The demand for these products is great enough that not only do local pharmacies carry them, but the big box stores do as well. Is this ease in availability of teeth whitening products a good thing or are there dangers consumers should be aware of?

In general, teeth whitening procedures are not known for damaging teeth or gums or for causing any problems. This is because the dangers that come from such are not resulting from the professional procedures done by a dentist, but are the results of consumers’ overuse or improper use of over-the-counter teeth whiteners. The drugstore teeth whitening kits that are so readily available are not dangerous, per se. They have, in fact, been deemed safe to use up to twice per year. It is when consumers disregard the frequency of such applications that damages can result.

Improper use of amateur teeth whitening agents can lead to various damages do the teeth and mouth. Damages such as gum irritation, teeth enamel that has a bluish tint to it and tooth sensitivity can easily occur when the over-the-counter products are used too much and too often. If the tooth whitening chemicals get down into the tiny cracks and crevices of teeth, into undiscovered cavities, there can be serious pain and long term internal damage. Getting the teeth whiter and whiter has become a body image obsession for some people. This leads to the improper abuse of the whitening agents and therefore leads to harmful effects.

Significant damage can result when teeth whiteners are over used. Some of these results are things such as extreme temperature sensitivity to both hot and cold substances and even tooth loss if the damage is great enough. If the whitening agent spills from the provided tray, it can seriously burn the mouth and highly irritate the stomach. The best way to prevent problems like this, as well as protect the teeth from permanent damage, is to see your dentist and have the procedures done professionally. The dentist can ensure safety and control frequency, therefore preventing accidents and long-term tooth damage. Teeth whitening can be a great cosmetic benefit when properly used, for your smile is a worthy investment.