I had the same exact concern as you before … I was wondering whether whitening gel is safe or not. Especially that you apply it on your teeth which means it could touch your gum or lips and not to mention the likelihood to be swallowed!
That’s why I felt committed to put together this complete resource to answer this question thoroughly …
… So is Teeth Whitening Gel Safe? When you manage to use Teeth Whitening Gel properly without touching your gum, lips and without being swallowed then it is 100% safe. The process could be even safer if you use a quality Gel with reasonable levels of peroxide.
Obviously, there are other factors that determine how safe this kind of products could be for your mouth and health in general!
The main purpose here is to be really aware of these things. So, you will not only get the whitening results you are looking for safely but also you will be able to avoid some creepy Products that would ultimately hurt you!
Is teeth whitening gel safe to swallow?
This is a very common and legit concern that many whitening products users are usually expressing. In fact, the gel is obviously designed to be only applied on your teeth. And it was not designed to be swallowed at all.
In addition, this product usually has some chemicals, especially peroxide (main whitening agent of the majority of products) which is just not suitable for your stomach or digestive system.
However, swallowing fairly limited amounts of the gel won’t be harmful in the way you might think. This happens most of the time when you apply it on your teeth. I can imagine that the manufacturers (especially the most trustworthy ones) would take that onto consideration by not including toxic elements in the gel composition.
There are even some manufacturers who confirm that they are aware of that. In other words, the peroxide included is weakened to a level in which it has effect on your teeth and with little to none effect on your body.
And if you want my honest opinion, I can trust these claims from trustworthy brands. Indeed, if a bunch of users confirm they’ve had some bad side-effects this would be detrimental to these brands. So it is in the best of their interests to make sure the peroxide is with no significant side effects if swallowed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you are allowed to swallow a high amount of the gel. This probably would lead to some issues like vomit, constipation, nausea or even stomach irritation in some extreme cases (like swallowing a cup of gel).
More helpful thoughts …
Other than peroxide, you can find other elements like Vegetable Glycerin, Water, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, and Flavoring substances.
I’ve found that none of these elements represent a real danger to your body. Of course, the usage should be correct and without abuse though!
I would like to add another fact that might make you more confident using this product. Indeed, there have been some estimations that while using this gel you are exposed to less than 0.1% to the peroxide usually produced by the liver.
Is bleaching gel safe for your lips and gum?
This is another understandable side-effect that may concern you!
It is generally not recommended to allow the gel touching your lips or gum in order to avoid tissue irritation.
This usually happens using (let’s say creepy) products that usually include high carbamide peroxide concentrations. Plus, this may become even worse if the user doesn’t know what he/she is doing or apply the process improperly.
There are some claims that this bleaching gel could cause or cancerous cells. This is justified by the fact that some molecules might be released with the ability to hurt the composition of DNA cells.
The studies that have been performed couldn’t identify this which shows that this might not be totally true.
In addition, saliva has many enzymes that are useful to your body. Some of them could neutralize from 20 up to 30 mg of peroxide in 60 seconds.
And according to what I know, most whitening products and gels don’t exceed 4 mg of peroxide which sounds pretty safe considering this fact.
Of course there are many ways to use the gel to whiten your teeth around that issue. Particularly, by touching neither your lips nor your gum …
… I will detail these safety measures a bit later in this article.
Is teeth whitening gel safe during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, I can understand that sometimes there is the need to keep your teeth whiter!
This may be justified by:
- Some professional reasons like being in a sales position in which you need to keep a great appearance at all times.
- Or just a drop of confidence for which you feel the need to have some fun taking care of your beauty. Especially by improving your smile.
There might be other reasons …
I was pretty curious on how the American Dental Association addresses this topic, that’s why I’ve made some researches …
… In fact, they confirm that there are no actual serious studies confirming any bad effect on pregnant women or their babies. That’s why ADA somewhat leaved this decision to women depending on the urgency of this matter.
I can’t deny that unless there is a serious need to use whitening gel during pregnancy, the proper way to go is to leave it until this pregnancy period is over.
If you feel you are in a need to use it to improve your smile, you need to watch out 2 things:
- Your mouth from being dry: As you know babies absorb lot of water during pregnancy. Thus, the future mom may express a lack of water. This leads to many things including a super dry mouth. So, it might be risky to use the gel as you will certainly lack in terms of saliva that neutralizes the peroxide.
In this case, women should drink lot of water and rinse their mouth from time to time.
- Weak Enamel: During pregnancy many unusual things may happen. Particularly, vomit! The latter is very acidic which could cause a little bit of teeth erosion, thus pretty much teeth sensitivity. And as you know, peroxide is not always the best way to whiten sensitive teeth.
In this case, I encourage you to rinse completely your mouth (even with mouthwash) each time you vomit!
Is teeth whitening gel safe during breastfeeding?
Most of things we’ve said about pregnancy are valid on breastfeeding period. That’s why if you don’t have a real need to use the gel to whiten your teeth, you probably should wait until you are done breastfeeding your baby.
No confirmation from ADA or any other authoritative source on whether gel peroxide has side-effects on the woman or her baby.
So you should use your intuition and pick a reliable and trustworthy product in case of need.
If you think you have to use this gel, you should pay attention to 2 things that most breastfeeding women might have:
- Lack of minerals: to produce breastmilk moms use their body resources. So, within a poor nutrition for example, this could lead to a lack of many body resources including some vital minerals like calcium. As a consequence teeth will tend to look and be actually weaker over time. And it is not recommended to use the gel on weak teeth in general.
In this case, you should think about having a better nutrition program that includes lot of fruits and vegetables.
- Gum issues: During pregnancy, women tend to vomit pretty often. And if the mouth is not cleaned by rinsing it properly. This could lead to gum issues that would appear in the breastfeeding period. Examples of these issues are gum irritation and gingivitis. With that being said, if you use whitening gel with these gum issues, chances are you will make the situation worse.
In this case, you should visit your dentist to figure out ways to heal you gum first.
What about Kids, is it safe for them?
If you want my opinion I will say NO!
Indeed, my daughter is about 5 now and even if I find out she has some stained teeth I would never apply a whitening gel on her by any means. I just can’t do it!
Now, as far as scientific facts are concerned, after 2 years of new emerging teeth, the kid might be eligible to try some gel with low peroxide concentrations.
However, you need to keep in mind that even at this stage; the enamel is usually not mature yet. Not only to fully protect your teeth completely but also to handle whitening agents like peroxide.
That’s why; I would rather push for a better oral hygiene and help my child to avoid staining foods and beverages as much as possible.
How to use teeth whitening gel safely with trays?
There are several ways to use this gel to whiten your teeth. The most common one is to use it with trays.
Of course you can use any tray out there close to your mouth size. However, if you want to ensure maximum whitening benefit without the gel being pushed out the tray, you absolutely need custom made trays.
Your dentist would take care of that …
… Then you need to apply only a dot of gel on each tooth area before placing it in your mouth.
You need to use your finger to adapt the tray well.
The video below says up to 6 hours, but for me 1 hour is more than enough. I always opt not to rush to get the results I want. The most important thing is to end up getting great results even if it takes more time than usual.
Don’t forget to use a Q-tip to clean your tray thoroughly. So it will stay ready for the next usage …
… This video gives you a little bit more details on a proper and safe usage of the whitening gel with trays.
How to use teeth whitening gel safely without trays?
If you are not so sure about the previous method or you can’t afford the high price of a custom whitening tray, then you might think about other ways to apply the gel.
What I suggest you to do here is to think about 2 different options:
1. Whitening Strips
This product is probably the most popular one when it comes to over-the-counter whitening products.
There are couples of reasons why this could be a better way to do it rather than the classical gel/tray method:
- The pre-coated gel in each strip is minimal! In a way it provides the whitening effect with 0% chance of the gel touching your gum or being swallowed.
- The treatment period is also minimal! It is about 2 or 3 weeks, and each session takes you around 30 minutes at most. This means a minimal exposure to the gel.
- Usually adapted to sensitive teeth. As I’ve said earlier, one of the main safety concerns is sensitivity. And many whitening strips providers confirm their products are adapted to sensitive teeth.
Probably you are already aware that Crest 3D Whitestrips is second to none. They are just the best out there. Yet, I felt it is important to put this summarized article together, in which I talk about what makes from this product at the top.
2. Whitening Pen
This is one more way to apply the gel without using trays. Yet, this is an under-used method at the best of my knowledge.
There are 2 reasons why I think that bleaching pens make the gel usage safer:
- Easy to use: All what you have to do is to press the pen to dispense the gel before applying it.
- Accurate: it is very easy to target one tooth or a set of teeth you want to whiten without touching your gum or your lips. This will prevent from swallowing the gel.
I was curious about the best bleaching pen providers out there. It was a little bit difficult to come up with one that I consider being the best. That’s why I’ve written this Top 10 Whitening pens in the market today. So hopefully you will at least have a better idea on what this product is all about.
Is it safe to buy bleaching gel online?
If you are not totally sure, the safer way to go is to ask your dentist for a recommendation. This would certainly cost you the consultation price, and the product that he would try to sell you.
Nonetheless, I prefer that you understand what kind of bleaching gel you should opt for. So you will always have the choice to visit your dentist or to just get it in any online market place out there.
In any gel you will find an element called carbamide peroxide, when it touches your saliva it becomes hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide concentration that your mouth can handle is 3%. And if you want to have that you need to use an under 20% carbamide peroxide concentration.
In fact, under 20% carbamide turns to around 3% of hydrogen peroxide that fits perfectly your mouth.
There are several examples in the market. But to get a more concrete idea, you can check this good whitening gel in Amazon.
What are some other alternatives to bleaching gel?
Of course when we talk about teeth whitening, peroxide and bleaching gels come first to mind. Yet there are other ways to whiten your teeth whenever you feel you are not totally ready for gel usage.
I will list only 3 ways, because I need another complete article if I want to speak about that:
- Activated Charcoal: You can brush with it for 2 up to 3 days straight once every season. I say this because it is a little bit abrasive so you will get a better smile safely. Charcoal is a great way to get rid of dental plaque. The latter is one of the main causes of discoloration.
- Miswak: it is a tree twig that you can brush your teeth with for cleaning purposes. It could also provide whitening results as far as you are patient and consistent with it. By the way, it is the most ancient toothbrush in history!
- Teeth Whitening 4 you: I’ve found this program about a year ago and I’ve found it interesting. As it teaches you how to whiten your teeth yourself using fairly cheap ingredients like olive oil. You can check my review about it and decide whether it fits your expectations.
To sum up, I hope you are now aware on how safe the bleaching gel can be for you. According to how to use it and to the circumstances in which you are using it (eg. : pregnancy …)
Just please don’t rush, even if the results may take some time to manifest. It is totally fine that you notice them later as far as it done the safe way.
No I really want to hear from you …
Do you think that whitening gel is safe or not?
Did you ever use it before? If so how was your experience?
Let me know in the comment section below … So Other people will learn as well!