What’s the difference between peroxide and non-peroxide whitening?

Most teeth whitening treatments until recently have been carried out up to now using a carbamide peroxide gel of varying strength. Research and trials established that a minimum of 6% concentration of carbamide peroxide is required to whiten teeth significantly, and that an optimum concentration is 15-20%.

Unfortunately, at this sort of concentration there is a risk of chemical burn or soreness of the gums from over-spill, sore throat if gel is inadvertently swallowed, and hypersensitivity of the teeth, especially in those with receded gums or slightly worn enamel.

Concentrations of up to 44% have been used by dentists under carefully controlled conditions, protecting the gums by means of a rubbery coating, and often using a special light to enhance the treatment. Such high concentrations have been shown to cause dehydration of the teeth, sometimes irritating the pulp (nerve) of the teeth, with frequent post-operative pain or at least increased teeth sensitivity.

Although the carbamide peroxide formulation works well there have been increasing concerns about the side effects previously mentioned, especially with the increased use of unregulated kits for home use. The EU has sought to address this situation and to ban the use of over 6% carbamide peroxide gels for home use. Higher concentrated gels will have to be used under the supervision of a dentist in the future.

This situation has led manufacturers to develop new types of home whitening kits with non-peroxide formulations in order to comply with the new regulations and provide a safer way that everyone can use without worry. These newer versions of home whitening kits typically use either sodium bicarbonate or sodium perborate as the main bleaching agent, and are virtually as effective as the peroxide types but without the potential downside danger of sore throat, chemical burning of the gums, or increased sensitivity of the teeth.

Anyone who already has sensitive teeth should definitely not use a peroxide whitening product as it can make the teeth unbearably sensitive. Imagine not being able to have a cold drink or ice cream, or a hot cup of tea for three weeks!

Whatever whitening system is used, it is important, in order to get the best results, to thoroughly clean all the teeth surfaces of external stains first. Also, results will tend to vary depending on factors such as the age of the person, their diet, and whether or not they smoke.

An older person’s teeth are naturally denser due to increased amounts of dentine building up inside, as well as discoloration accumulated over a long time, and are bound to be more resistant to whitening than a young person’s.

Any sensible person can use a home kit containing peroxide safely, but there is certainly no need to since a good non-peroxide kit will do the job just as well using entirely natural and safe ingredients such as sodium bicarbonate.

Sodium bicarbonate has long been known for its cleaning properties and in new whitening products like Zero Peroxide is combined with other natural ingredients such as chamomile and vitamin D to promote healthy gums as well. The era of peroxide gels is past and we now look forward to even safer ways to whiten our teeth at low cost in the comfort of our own homes with the latest breed of non-peroxide kits.

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