Your teeth can stain over time from coffee, wine, cigarettes, and other products, which may make you feel self-conscious and threaten the integrity of your tooth enamel. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products offer a convenient way to brighten your smile at home, but using these too much can be dangerous to your oral health, and can actually lead to damage.

There are several products on the market that claim to whiten teeth, including whitening toothpastes and whitening kits. Some of these products contain peroxide that helps bleach teeth, while others help keep your teeth whiter by being more abrasive with stains. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products reduce minor stains or yellow discoloration, rather than brownish stains and major discoloration.

These products are easy to purchase and do not require a prescription from your dentist. While this might seem convenient, it can easily lead to overuse. When you use over-the-counter teeth whitening products too much, you could be damaging your teeth. Even products approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) are unsafe when used excessively, and could lead to the following problems:

Translucent appearance: Applying peroxide-based whitening products too much can leave your teeth with a translucent appearance, rather than a white one. This can cause them to appear discolored, especially around the edges, which is irreversible.

Gum irritation: Over-the-counter whitening products that contain peroxide can irritate your gums, causing redness and sensitivity. These products can also irritate your throat and the inside of your mouth when they are overused.

Loss of tooth enamel: Tooth enamel helps protect your teeth from decay. Using teeth whitening products too much can erode tooth enamel, leaving you with a higher risk of tooth decay.

Increased tooth sensitivity: Overusing whitening products can cause your teeth to become more sensitive to cold and hot temperatures, making it unpleasant for you to consume certain foods and beverages.

Some of the effects of overusing whitening products, such as tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, typically go away when you stop using these products. However, tooth enamel loss is a more serious potential effect, which is why it’s important to avoid this problem in the first place. Instead of using whitening products on your own at home, consider having teeth whitening done professionally under the supervision of your dentist. Your teeth will be much safer in the hands of an experienced professional.

Talk to your dentist about either having your teeth whitened by them, or if they have any recommendations for a professional whitening service. Call Westermeier Martin Dental Care to schedule an appointment with your dentist today 716-508-4547!