Safe Teeth Whitening should be the goal of anyone looking to whiten or bleach their teeth to a brighter shade of white. While there are many ways to lighten the color of your teeth, safety should always be the most important factor when you make your final decision. That said, there are plenty of safe ways to whiten teeth, but watch out for the unproven or even decidedly dangerous methods out there as well.
Here are a handful of safe ways to whiten your teeth.
Professional Teeth Whitening Services
I'm including this one first because I personally think it's the obvious choice when safety is a big concern. When a dental professional, such as a dentist or oral surgeon, performs professional teeth whitening services, you can usually rest assured that they are following a safe and proven teeth whitening system and using products recommended by the American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration. You'd be surprised at how many home teeth whitening products aren't endorsed by either administration.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss teeth whitening procedures that he or she can perform easily at the clinic, or even bring it up during your next check up.
Teeth Whitening Trays
Teeth whitening trays are effectively "sleeves" that fit over your top and bottom teeth, like a mouth guard. You simply put some included solution (usually a peroxide based whitening mixture) into the trays, rub it around to ensure equal coverage, and then place the trays over your teeth.
Not too long ago, teeth whitening trays were only available through dental professionals, but now there are a handful of companies that make them available over the counter. The good news is that this makes them more affordable and accessible, but the downside is that their quality, usage and safety isn't monitored or prescribed by a dentists.
That said, these trays were widely considered a safe teeth whitening method back when dentists prescribed them, and in many circles they are still considered safe today. The solution hasn't changed, so don't worry about the chemicals suddenly become unsafe - the only reason I list them as "questionable" is because there isn't any direction or monitoring done by a dental professional.
Crest White Strips
Crest set the standard for home teeth whitening kits when they launched their widely popular "Crest White Strips" product in the 2000's. These are extremely easy to use: Simply apply them to your teeth, let them sit there for the appropriate amount of time (indicated in the directions) and then remove them. The frequency that you use them is relative to how many "shades" you're trying to safety whiten your teeth.
Many people - including members of my immediate family - love Crest White Strips, and in once instance someone actually told me they worked better than the teeth whitening tray his dentist prescribed him several years ago.
So is this a safe teeth whitening product? I would argue (and I'm not a dental professional) that as long as you followed the directions to the letter, and worked slowly with realistic expectations, that these are reasonably safe. Again, a dentist isn't involved, which does add a question mark to the safety concern. But I'd say these are much like a tanning bed: "Less is more." Using these a little here and a little there seems much safer than slapping these white strips on, letting them sit on for hours at a time, and hoping that your teeth become several shades whiter overnight.
Toothpaste That Whitens Your Teeth
There are several brands of toothpaste that make this stuff, and the idea is that it gradually lightens your teeth as you brush. Sure it's not a very powerful whitening agent, but when you consider that you brush your teeth at least once per day, the whitening power adds up over time.
Several studies have suggested conflicting reports: Some say that these toothpastes can actually lighten your teeth when used consistently and according to instructions, while others say there is no noticable difference and that these products are simply preying on desperate consumers.
Either way, no research that I have read indicates that theses are dangerous, which does make them a safe teeth whitening product.
Personally, I like these types of products, because they don't subject your teeth to a "blast" of whitening solution at once. I've actually been using a whitening toothpaste for several months and while I can't tell if my teeth are any whiter, they haven't fallen out of my head.
Mouthwash The Whitens Your Teeth
Like the toothpastes I just mentioned, these mouthwashes supposedly contain a whitening agent that lightens your teeth when you use the mouthwash. Pretty simple idea. Again, some research suggests they work, others suggest they don't. For the cheap price, I personally think it's at least worth a try, considering they haven't been shown to be dangerous (just be sure to check for the endorsement from the American Dental Association on the label).
Light Activated Teeth Whitening
Supposedly, harnessing the power of certain bands of light (which to me looks like a very bright white light) is a safe teeth whitening method. Honestly, I don't know much about this method, other than it requires a person to apply a special substance to their top and bottom teeth that supposedly helps them absorb the light rays. Then you wear a big, bright light and shine it into your open mouth.
Like I said, I'm fairly unfamiliar with this method, and honestly I don't recommend it because I haven't read a lick of credible information that indicates that it either works or is safe. I am including it as an option should you wish to consider it, but I would highly recommend doing plenty of homework and speaking with a professional before opting for teeth whitening lights.
Sorry, but to me it just doesn't seem like a safe teeth whitening strategy.
Whitening Your Teeth With Peroxide
While peroxide does bleach your teeth (and pretty much anything else) white, I would STRONG suggest that you DO NOT use peroxide for the purpose of whitening your teeth.
It's often considered a way to safely whiten your teeth at home, because the idea is that over the counter hydrogen peroxide is widely considered safe on the human body. But in my unprofessional opinion, subjecting your tooth enamel to a bombardment of a bleaching chemical is only asking for trouble. True, many of the teeth whitening solutions prescribed by dentists contain peroxide, keep in mind that these solutions are designed specifically for oral applications, whereas the big bottle of peroxide that you can buy in a supermarket pharmacy section for about a dollar is not.
Safe Teeth Whitening Considerations
While the products I've mentioned are intended to safely whiten your teeth, it's a good idea to consider what's causing your teeth to yellow in the first place. For example, smoking and coffee are big culprits for causing yellow teeth, and eliminating or at least reducing your usage of these products can reduce the frequency that you'll need to whiten your teeth in the first place.
And finally, I'd like to stress again how important it is to do your homework before trying any product or procedure designed to lighten your teeth. Sure, many things can "whiten," but not all of them are safe. The only way to know that you're using a safe teeth whitening method is to check with an expert.