The dangers and risks of DIY tooth whitening methods

by | Mar 15, 2023


White teeth transform our smiles as they dazzle people with their healthy glow. A symbol of a healthy smile is whiter teeth, and they give a person a more youthful appearance. While it is good to care for your teeth to keep them healthy and white, there are a few current dental trends on social media doing the rounds that promise whiter teeth with treatments that are not properly researched or have dental expert backing.

While there are many quality home teeth whitening kits available over the counter that are endorsed by dental experts, there are some current online trends that are quite risky and cause more long-term issues rather than benefits. Some of the higher risks involved in DIY teeth whitening treatments are listed below.

Staining of teeth

The main problem with some of the DIY teeth whitening options is the chemicals used to achieve whiter teeth. Some even contain chlorine dioxide which is a disinfectant used for cleaning swimming pools. Other home kits sometimes contain hydrogen peroxide which is effective and harmless when the correct concentration is used, within the permitted limits. Unfortunately, some of the home teeth whitening kits use a strong concentration which can penetrate the tooth enamel. This oxidizes which stains the tooth creating the exact opposite effect expected from teeth whitening products.


Another risk of using non-professional teeth whitening methods is the risk of suffering from gum irritations and burns. High doses of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide can cause chemical burns when it comes into contact with the gums. Home kits do usually come with a mouth guard but if the fit is not perfect then the bleaching gel can spill out and come into contact with your gums. This can increase tooth sensitivity and cause other complications such as lip burns, permanent gum recession and blistering along with destroying tooth enamel or if a significant amount is ingested cause, throat, gut and stomach burns.

Damage tooth enamel

To provide a quick solution many home treatments that whiten teeth use abrasive ingredients if they do not contain hydrogen peroxide. The risk here is that abrasives too can be very harsh on teeth and cause significant harm to tooth enamel which can end up damaging your teeth. The danger of DIY teeth whitening treatments is that you can end up causing permanent damage and discolouration to your teeth instead of achieving the brilliant white teeth you are hoping for. When your tooth enamel is harmed it leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavities and staining in the future. So the effort of whitening your teeth can actually cause them to stain more easily if your tooth enamel gets damaged in the process.

Tooth sensitivity

With home whitening kits you are not always sure of the ingredients used and quite often they can contain either harmful ingredients at the wrong percentages that can destroy the enamel, burn gums and cause tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can occur if your nerves or roots are exposed which may happen when your gum health is compromised. Once you have tooth sensitivity it causes you to feel discomfort when eating hot or cold foods and drinks while also being sensitive to changes in the weather temperature. You might feel pain while brushing and flossing.

Uneven results

Despite your best intentions, it is not always easy to achieve an even appearance when you whiten teeth with over-the-counter whitening products. When you use gels, strips or pens it can be difficult to reach all areas of your teeth such as spaces between your teeth. This can result in the flat surfaces of your teeth looking definitely whiter and the spaces between them looking discoloured in comparison. This especially becomes an issue if you have crooked or overlapping teeth. Without the proper expertise, you might end up with a patchy finish when you whiten teeth at home, which can end up costing more to remedy.

Gum irritation

Most home whitening kits contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as an active agent. When you used above the recommended concentration both these peroxides can cause severe gum irritation which sometimes leads to sores and affects your oral health. While these products come with a warning or advice against letting their solutions touch soft tissues it is not always possible to stop these runny solutions from dripping onto your gums, lips and the soft tissues of your cheeks. With repeated use, it can leave noticeable white spots on your gums and create painful sores. Damaging your gums will cause long-term dental issues because healthy gums are important to maintain strong and healthy teeth.


It is wonderful to have pearly white teeth to enhance your smile, but it should not be achieved at a cost to the health of your natural teeth. Seeking the help of dental services for your teeth whitening will ensure a professional finish that will not harm your natural teeth. At the very least you should speak to a dental professional about the best treatment options for you and get advice on the proper way to do whitening treatments at home. However, to ensure a bright smile and healthy teeth you should let a professional dental expert do the whitening treatment for you. You will achieve a whitening that looks natural and feels good as well.

Many DIY tooth whitening methods can only lighten your teeth by one or two shades while also posing the danger of stripping your tooth enamel. Damaged tooth enamel in turn leads to susceptibility to future staining and oral health issues, which can lead to further dental costs. By having a professional perform your teeth whitening you will not only achieve long-lasting results that are impressive, but you will also avoid the pitfalls and dangers involved with DIY teeth whitening.

You will be able to find an affordable dental clinic in your area that will give you a professional whitening finish that you can be confident of both its appearance and longevity. Do yourself a favour and invest in yourself with a professional finish that will be an asset to you and your smile makeover.