Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless, chemical compound often used as a bleaching agent. The compound is often found in most pharmacies and drugstores in strengths of 2% to 3%. However, food grade hydrogen peroxide is at 35% in strength. Food grade hydrogen peroxide has to be diluted to make it safe for topical use. As long as hydrogen peroxide is used externally, it’s not harmful to the body. It’s so effective in whitening surfaces and getting rid of stains that hydrogen peroxide could also be used to whiten teeth.
Whitening Teeth with Hydrogen Peroxide
Using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth is relatively safe — as long as you don’t gargle with the solution for too long. When you gargle with hydrogen peroxide for too long, it would cause your oral tissues to oxidize, causing soreness or pain that will last for a couple of days.
Step 1: Start by brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste. Rinse with water and then with a clean cup, add ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide. Swish the solution all around the mouth for one minute, carefully avoiding any of the liquid from being swallowed. Gargling the solution is safe as long as the liquid does not venture into the throat.
Step 2: Spit the solution out. Make sure to rinse the place where you spat the liquid. Hydrogen peroxide will bleach any surface, including your bathroom sink. The liquid will start bubbling and hissing as soon as it makes contact with any surface. In addition, be careful not to splash any hydrogen peroxide on your clothing or on dark colored towels and surfaces because it will damage the color of the material.
Step 3: Rinse your mouth with water. Take as long as you need to completely remove hydrogen peroxide from your teeth. If you can feel bubbling or fizzing between or around the teeth, do not stop rinsing your mouth. It should be free from peroxide after several rinses.
Step 4: You should see a slight difference on your teeth color after gargling with hydrogen peroxide for a couple of times. Repeat daily until you achieve the desired level of teeth whiteness. Gradually lessen the frequency of gargling from daily to weekly especially if your teeth has become quite sensitive to the solution. Discontinue gargling if the liquid caused gum irritation.
Apart from using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to whiten teeth, you could also apply it using a cotton swab or a cotton ball directly on the teeth. Rub the saturated cotton swab on the surface of the teeth, carefully spreading it in every nook and cranny. And again, just rinse everything off your mouth with water until it’s peroxide-free.
Do note that it’s perfectly normal to feel slight burning while gargling with hydrogen peroxide. This won’t damage the gums or teeth. According to the American Dental Association, whitening teeth using hydrogen peroxide is safe as long as you take necessary precautions. However, the ADA also recommends consulting with your dentist first before conducting your own DIY teeth whitening session.