Can You Use Tooth Whitening Products For Longer Than It’s Recommended To?

Tooth whitening products like whitening strips and gels can quickly and effectively whiten your teeth and make your whole smile look brighter. Many people consider wearing their whitening products than longer than it's recommended to, as they think that they can stretch their dollar or get results faster that way. If you're wondering if you can too, keep reading to find out the answer.

The Problem

Whitening products - regardless of the variety - typically include strict directions on how long, at maximum, you can use their products per usage. The exact amount of time varies from product to product, but the main reason that they say this is because damage can be done to your mouth past that point.

Tooth whitening products typically contain peroxide or similar chemicals that are designed to etch away the surface layer of grime and stains on your teeth. When used properly, this is all they do. However, if you go too far, they can harm the enamel of your teeth, softening it or eroding it away entirely.

What Happens

When you use a tooth whitening product normally, it may temporarily soften the enamel of your teeth. This is why many tooth whitening products recommend using them away from food and drink, especially acidic beverages.

Wearing a whitening product for too long takes this to the next level. The peroxide continues to eat away at the surface of your teeth, and it can wear down your enamel entirely. While softened enamel will become tough and resilient in a short amount of time, damaged or destroyed enamel doesn't. Whitening your teeth for too long could allow harmful bacteria, acidic beverages, and even the whitening product itself to damage the inner structures of your teeth once the enamel isn't there to protect you.

What to Do Instead

Obviously, using a whitening product as recommended is the way to go. However, there are steps you can take beyond that.

First of all, you should see a dentist before attempting to whiten your teeth. If you already have enamel damage, your dentist can repair it before you attempt whitening to ensure that you aren't hurting yourself.

Secondly, consider getting your teeth whitened by a dentist instead. Dentists are pros at tooth whitening and can do so safely in their office.

Whitening your teeth is perfectly safe to do as home as long as your teeth are healthy and you follow the directions. If you have further questions or are concerned about sensitivity in your teeth following tooth whitening -- especially if you used it for longer than the directions said to -- get in touch with a dentist right away for help.

For more information, contact a company like Sun Dental.