Over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits are as common as toothbrushes in most drugstores these days, and while many of them promise “amazing results!” in as little as 24 hours, one question remains: could they be making our teeth sensitive?
Over-the-Counter Teeth-Whitening Kits and Tooth Sensitivity
“Generally speaking, whitening kits are not harmful to your teeth,” explains Dr. Greg Scheier, DDS of Scheier Dental Group. “There are, however, potential temporary sensitivities, both in the teeth and gums, that may result from the use of both over-the-counter and dentist-administered whitening kits.”
Dr. Scheier says this temporary tooth sensitivity has to do with the bleaching agent contained in particular teeth-whitening products. “Whitening products work when a peroxide-based gel makes contact with the tooth,” Dr. Scheier says. “In doing so, the gel ‘bleaches’ out stains both on the outer surface of the tooth, as well as stains deeper within the tooth.” He says this contact could be the culprit of tooth sensitivity people might experience after using an over-the-counter whitening kit. “At times, this contact with the tooth can result in a temporary sensitivity that will normally subside within a few days at most.” If the peroxide makes contact with the gums, that could also cause a temporary sensitivity.
What to Consider Before Using an Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitener
Over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits are safe when used as directed. If you already deal with tooth sensitivity, however, you may want to think twice before using one.
“Even with over-the-counter products, it is still recommended to see your dentist prior to starting a whitening procedure.” Dr. Scheier says. Those who are susceptible to sensitivity, either from gum recession or worn-down enamel, may inadvertently increase that sensitivity by using a teeth-whitening kit.
If you’re looking for a way to whiten your smile without making your tooth sensitivity worse, Sensodyne Repair and Protect Whitening toothpaste is a great option. Not only does it help whiten teeth 1 , but it also actively repairs, strengthens, and protects your teeth from sensitivity by forming a layer over exposed dentin. When you brush twice a day with Sensodyne Repair and Protect Whitening, you’ll also be promoting healthy gums, freshening your breath, and fighting back against cavities — what teeth-whitening kit can do all that?
1 With twice daily brushing