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What are Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Products?

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Updated March 14, 2012

Question: What are Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Products?
Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are what many people consider to be the most affordable teeth whitening option on the market. The types of over-the-counter teeth whitening products vary and many options are available, depending on your teeth whitening needs.
Answer:

Over-the-counter teeth whitening is a popular option when considering whitening your teeth. Without the need for an appointment with your dentist and several different brands on the market, it is considered the most affordable option available for whitening your teeth. Choose from:

  • Trays or strips
  • Whitening toothpaste, floss and mouth rinse
  • Gum or breath strips

It is possible to achieve whitening results with any one these over-the-counter options. Keep in mind many of these methods merely remove surface stain by using lightly abrasive materials, specifically in the case of whitening toothpaste. These abrasive additives are similar to the ones found in professional polishing paste, and do not actually whiten the dentin layer of the tooth. Care should be taken when using whitening toothpaste on a daily basis as it may begin to wear down the enamel layer, causing tooth abrasion.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening gels and solutions contain a low percentage of hydrogen peroxide, that may not effectively whiten the tooth if you have badly stained teeth. Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect from any teeth whitening options. Always seek the advice of your dentist before using over-the-counter teeth whitening methods, or talk to the pharmacist on-site where you are buying the product for more in-depth information on specific brands.

Sources:

British Dental Health Foundation. "Tooth Whitening FAQ"

Kugel G. "Over-The-Counter Tooth Whitening Systems" Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2003 Apr;24(4A):376-82.

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