Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is teeth whitening safe?"
I was thinking about getting my teeth whitened now that I've stopped smoking cigarettes. Is this safe? Can the stuff they use to whiten your teeth damage your gums or your tongue or your lips?
First of all, congratulations on quitting smoking cigarettes! That is a major step in the right direction towards improving your overall health! If you want to whiten your teeth there are several options. For minor stains, there are tooth whitening toothpastes. There are many of these brands available and they can be effective for some people. The major side effect of these toothpastes is that some people feel like they lead to tooth pain or tooth sensitivity. There are also bleaching strips or gels that are available over the counter. These are typically of intermediate strength for more noticeable stains. Major side effects include irritation of the gums where the gel gets on them; fortunately, if you are careful, this can be minimize and it tends to be just a temporary problem. Finally, if you have major stains, you should see your dentist. There are several very strong whitening products that are typically applied by your dentist in the office. These are the solutions that are most likely to cause burns or irritation to the gums, which is why they require the help of a dental professional. If you are not sure which product to use, talk to your dentist, who will be able to make recommendations.