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How Does Hydrogen Peroxide Whiten Teeth?

How Does Hydrogen Peroxide Whiten Teeth?


Hydrogen peroxide whitens the teeth through its bleaching action that is able to remove both deep and surface stains. Hydrogen peroxide bleaching of the teeth is one of the ways with which the color of the teeth is actually changed.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen Peroxide, also known as hydrogen dioxide and hyperoxide, is an unstable compound readily broken down to water and oxygen, catalyzed by various powdered metals and an enzyme called catalase.

It is also commonly found as an ingredient in teeth bleaching products, both over the counter and professionally dispensed.

Home Bleaching Products

Dental bleaching products containing hydrogen peroxide as the active bleaching ingredient are available both over the counter and from professional dentists. Home bleaching products have a hydrogen peroxide concentration of three to seven percent.

According to the American Dental Association, most of the products with their ADA Seal of Approval are those that have ten percent of the ingredient carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide, is responsible for decomposing the hydrogen peroxide and urea, was found by various studies to be at its safest yet most effective in bleaching the teeth when it at a concentration of ten percent.

The most common home bleaching procedure is the custom tray bleaching, wherein the dentist makes a customized tray using the mold made from your teeth, and the bleaching product is applied to the tray, and is thereafter worn in the mouth.

Professional Bleaching Products

The main difference between over the counter or “take-home” bleaching kits sold by dentists and professionally applied bleaching products is that the latter have higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, normally between fifteen to thirty-five percent.

Because they are higher in concentration, professional bleaching products work faster than their home bleaching product counterparts. When combined with lasers, professional hydrogen peroxide bleaching procedures can be completed in as little as one hour.



“ADA: American Dental Association – Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products.” ADA: American Dental Association – Home. Web. 06 Feb. 2011.

“What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?” Online Medical Dictionary at WebMD: Find Definitions for Medical Terms. Web. 06 Feb. 2011.

ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. Tooth Whitening/Bleaching: Treatment Considerations for Dentists and Their Patients. 2009. Print.

“Tooth Whitening Today — SARRETT 133 (11): 1535.” The Journal of the American Dental Association 133.11 (2002): 1535-538. The Journal of the American Dental Association. Web. 06 Feb. 2011.


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