Will rinsing with peroxide whiten my teeth?

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Every kind of teeth whitening product at the drug store seems to contain peroxide. Can I just rinse with the three percent hydrogen peroxide to whiten my teeth? It will sure save me a lot of money!

-Michelle in Washington


Thank you for your question. It is possible that you will notice a very slight whitening if you were to rinse with peroxide. But, this is not the solution if you want noticeably whiter teeth. In order for teeth whitening to be successful, the whitening agent must remain on the teeth for an extended period of time in order to penetrate into the teeth. For example, it would need to sit on teeth for close to 15 minutes. In fact, the professional teeth whitening trays you would receive at your dentist’s office will be instructed to be worn for several hours, or even overnight. This enables the whitening agents to effectively whiten teeth.

Many stains on teeth aren’t on the surface and the teeth whitening formulas need to go deep. The color you see is actually from the dentin, not the enamel on the surface.

Let’s give this further perspective. Crest Whitestips contain approximately five or six percent peroxide. The instructions will have you wear the strips for 10 minutes, for two weeks straight. And this method will provide only mild results. So, if you rinse with peroxide, you’re looking at about half the potency. It’s really not worth it.

If you want to see results, talk to your dentist about the many professional teeth whitening options available. Don’t waste your money on over-the-counter products. They can be damaging and can end up causing other issues and sensitivity. Zoom whitening, Kor whitening or take home trays are much stronger formulations that will provide your with a smile you’ll love.

This post is sponsored by Lexington cosmetic dentist Hamburg Expressions.