Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in teeth whitening. It is used in many commercial and home based whitenining solutions. Compounds and products that contain hydrogen peroxide are often used as bleaching agents /teeth whitening.

Benefits of using hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth

1. Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria by releasing oxygen, which alters the environment.

The anaerobic bacteria cannot survive in an altered environment hence its growth is inhibited. This eases discomfort caused by a high number of bacteria and infection.

Dangers of harmful bacteria in the mouth

  • Infect the roots of the tooth causing abscess(small pockets of pus on the gums)
  • Causes tooth decay by feeding on sugars and food remains. Since they are living things, they reproduce and release waste material which infects the teeth
  • Tooth loss, bad odour, cavities, and gum diseases are caused by an imbalance in the mouth. Bacteria can shift due to poor oral health, diet ,and underlying issues

2. Treats gum related disease and infections

Hydrogen peroxide contains antibacterial properties that destroy biofilm. Biofilm is a slimy film of bacterial plaque that forms on the teeth. It is hard and shiny. In most cases, it looks like shaded glassy enamel.

How do biofilms damage teeth?

  • The bacterial releases acids that corrode the enamel. The enamel acts as the protective layer for your teeth. When it is damaged, the acid makes way to the root hence causing root cavity.
  • Where the bio film coating meets the gum, it causes gum inflammation. The inflammation can advance to more serious gum infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis
  • If not removed regularly, biofilm eats and undergoes maturation the resulting bacterial compound is complex and has far effects.

3. It diminishes minor mouth sores

Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic. When applied on a sore or a cut, it bubbles to release oxygen. This bubbling cleans the sore, reduces bacteria, and removes dead cells. This speeds up the healing process. However, it needs a longer period of contact in order to exhibit these characteristics. If the period of contact is reduced, a few bacteria may survive.

Dangers of having untreated mouth sores

  • They are painful at the slightest scratch. This causes discomfort and eating problems
  • They can cause serious problems such as dehydration and weight loss
  • It acts as an entry point for bacteria and other disease causing pathogens

Disadvantages of using hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth

1. Extensive use can increase teeth sensitivity

Just like any other chemical, hydrogen peroxide has a very high reactive nature .teeth whitening involves bleaching the enamel which is responsible for heat sensitivity. Interfering with its structure will make your teeth more prone to heat/cold sensitivities. If you are planning to use hydrogen peroxide, make it an occasional activity or use it in low concentrations. The process may take longer but sensitivity risks will be reduced.

You can use it in case of emergencies such photo shoots, weddings, or parties. However, do not make it a lifestyle.

Effects of teeth sensitivity

  • Pain when brushing or flossing can trigger poor dental hygiene
  • Poor eating habits which may lead to weight loss and other health issues
  • Discomfort and high risk of gum infection

2. It may make your teeth look more artificial

Hydrogen peroxide is very effective when it comes to teeth whitening. It gives your teeth a shiny and glassy look. However, this may be a drawback since your teeth will look less natural. In addition to this, if you are joining modelling or any sector that praises the natural look, you will reduce your chances.

3. Possibilities of accidental swallowing are high

If you are to consider using hydrogen peroxide, then you have to be very careful. It may not cause chronic toxicity immediately, but regular exposure to the vapour may irritate the respiratory tract.

In addition to this, the reactive effects will depend on the grade and concentration levels.

Precautions when using hydrogen peroxide

  • Avoid using food grade hydrogen peroxide, which has a concentration of 35 percent. It can lead to serious intestinal problems when swallowed
  • Avoid inhaling it when mixing. Regular inhaling can cause irritation in the respiratory system
  • Avoid splashing back to the eyes when rinsing. It may cause redness and irritation

In case you swallow more than 3 percent or you experience an irritation that does not go away, you should see a dentist immediately.