teeth whitening trays

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Bad for Your Teeth?

November 3rd, 2016

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Bad for Your Teeth?Hydrogen peroxide is a medicine cabinet staple. Used for cleaning up scrapes and cuts, it also offers directions for oral use right on the label. But can it be harmful to your teeth? 

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizing agent in clear liquid form. Chemically, all it is is water with an extra oxygen molecule. It acts as a mild antiseptic to prevent skin infections due to cuts and scrapes and can also be used to relieve minor mouth irritations and mucus. When applied to the affected area, the hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen and bubbles up, and the bubbles help clean and disinfect the area by lifting away dead skin cells.

How Do Dentists Use It?

Dentists first used hydrogen peroxide as a treatment for gum disease back in 1913, according to Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine (RDH). It is still used to fight gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that can be a precursor to periodontitis. It occurs when the bacteria from plaque builds up, causing inflammation, and potentially leading to bleeds when brushing teeth. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide under these circumstances kills the harmful bacteria and can prevent the inflammation from getting worse, so dentists may recommend it for certain patients.

Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated, and the gums and bone pull away from the tooth, creating pockets that can become infected. Dentists use custom-fit prescription trays to deliver the hydrogen peroxide deep into the periodontal pockets and hold it there for more effective treatment of periodontal disease.

Hydrogen peroxide is also a whitening agent and is sometimes used by dentists to help with tooth whitening. The bottled hydrogen peroxide available in stores is generally 3% concentration, but products designed for dentists to use for tooth bleaching can contain up to 10% hydrogen peroxide.

Some over-the-counter whitening products like toothpaste, rinses, and whitening strips contain hydrogen peroxide as their bleaching agent. At home, it can also be combined with baking soda to make natural whitening toothpaste.

Can Hydrogen Peroxide Be Bad for Your Teeth? 

Many dentists do not recommend regular use of hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash or rinse. Regular use can cause irritation of the gums and can be too harsh for those with crowns, fillings, and dental implants.

Some dentists believe hydrogen peroxide can safely be used as an oral rinse if it is diluted with a mixture of water and Listerine. But because it can be so harsh on the gums and enamel, it should only be used if recommended by a dentist. There are other oral rinses available over the counter that contain hydrogen peroxide and may be less abrasive and therefore more suitable for regular use.

Is it Safe to Use at Home?

Hydrogen peroxide on its own should not be used for dental purposes at home unless directed by a dentist. If diluted in a solution of one-part hydrogen peroxide, one-part water, and one part Listerine, it is safe to use as a rinse and could be helpful for the treatment of gingivitis.

Consult a dentist to determine if such a solution is beneficial or if there are other treatments or rinses that would be safer. Hydrogen peroxide combined with baking soda can be used as a natural, at-home whitening toothpaste, but using correct proportions is key to ensuring it’s more helpful than harmful. At Water Tower Dental Care, we offer take-home teeth whitening trays that contain a safe yet effective amount of hydrogen peroxide-bleaching agent.

As always, when considering any at-home remedies, particularly for treating diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, it’s important to consult a dentist to determine the safest, most effective form of treatment. It’s always safer to purchase ADA-approved products with hydrogen peroxide or receive professional treatments from your dentist. Making your own concoction could be more harmful than beneficial.

If you think you have gum disease or want to whiten your teeth, contact Water Tower Dental Care today! We can examine your pearly whites and put you on a path to effective treatment.

Teeth Whitening Trays vs. Strips: Which is Best?

April 7th, 2016

Teeth Whitening Trays vs. Strips: Which is Best?Dentists have come a long way in the realm of teeth whitening. When it comes to brightening your smile, you now have a wide variety of effective options. Teeth whitening trays and strips are two of the most popular treatments out there. But which will leave you with the best results? Our dental experts are here to help you figure this out so that you spend your time and money on the best treatment for you.

What Are Teeth Whitening Trays?

Teeth whitening trays aren’t as well known as strips. But that doesn’t mean they are less effective. In order to treat your discolored or stained teeth with trays, you fill a tray that looks like a mouth guard with a gel whitening solution, made up of a hydrogen peroxide-bleaching agent.
You then fit this teeth-shaped tray over your teeth and wear it for certain period of time. We typically recommend that our patients wear their tray for one to two hours a day for one to two weeks. This process may need to be continued for longer, depending on your particular teeth condition and instructions.
Trays can either be bought over the counter or from your dentist. However, it’s best to get a customized tray made for your particular teeth from your dentist. If you buy a tray from your local drugstore, it may not fit over your teeth well, causing the gel to leak and unevenly whiten your teeth. Over the counter trays may also include solution that may be too strong or weak for your particular teeth condition.

What Are Teeth Whitening Strips?

Teeth whitening strips are extremely well known, thanks to the huge marketing push from dental corporations. These strips are typically very thin and virtually invisible plastic sheets that contain a hydrogen peroxide solution (similar to the solution found in the teeth whitening trays). Each container of strips will feature a different strength solution, so it’s important to follow the directions for your particular box.
You typically place these strips on your bottom and top teeth, and leave them there for an indicated amount of time, anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. You may have to do this every day for a week, two weeks or more, depending on the directions.

Teeth Whitening Trays vs. Strips: Which is the Best Option for Your Teeth?

If you’re looking for the best teeth whitening results for your teeth, trays are the way to go. When you receive a tray from your dentist, he or she will make an impression of your teeth so that the tray is customized to fit your teeth perfectly. This means that all of your teeth will receive the treatment that they need - you won’t miss any spots. You also won’t accidentally bleach your gums with a customized tray.
With teeth whitening strips, you have to be careful to make sure you are covering all of your teeth and aren’t hitting your gums. This can be especially difficult with hard-to-reach areas in your mouth.
When it comes to the strength of the whitening solution, prescribed trays are also much better. Over-the-counter strips and trays usually come with a standard low strength solution from 10% to 22%. When a dentist provides you with a tray, he or she will give you a strength that will best meet your needs depending on the severity of your teeth discoloration - anywhere from 15% to 43%. This means that trays can work to erase even the most prominent of stains.
When you visit your dentist’s office to receive a teeth whitening tray, your dentist will make sure that bleaching is an effective option for your teeth. Sometimes, teeth whitening solutions aren’t the best answer for tooth discoloration. Your dentist will help you save time and money by making sure you’re choosing the best treatment for your teeth.
At Water Tower Dental Care, we offer custom trays in our take-home teeth whitening kits. In as little as two days, we can make an impression of your teeth, get your tray ready for you and teach you how to use it. After you have worn your tray for about one hour a day for two weeks, we will have another appointment with you to check your progress and see if you should continue the treatment.
With our take-home whitening kit, you are guaranteed to see whitening results in two weeks. No more money wasted on ineffective treatments. Make your pearly whites shine again with a teeth whitening tray. Contact us today to make an appointment!