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Problems with Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

Lady shocked to find out that there are problems with over-the-counter teeth whitening products.

Pigments in certain foods and drinks are known to stain and discolor our teeth. People who are regular consumers of tea, coffee, red wine, curry, soft drinks, black and white sauces and fruits like pomegranate, berries, and cherries develop stubborn stains on their teeth.

Moreover, people who are chain smokers or have the habit of chewing betel nuts have unpleasant brown and black stains on their teeth. Over time, their teeth become so discolored that it is hard to spot the white color that’s associated with healthy teeth.

Discolored and stained teeth can affect our overall appearance and social relations. According to a research study conducted in the partnership of Leeds University, UK and Monash University, Australia, both men and women prefer to date people who have whiter teeth.

To enhance their physical appeal and restore the pearly white shimmer of their discolored teeth, people resort to over-the-counter teeth whitening products as they are readily available at the physical and online stores and are only a fraction of the cost of in-office, professional teeth whitening procedures.

Problems with Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

Even though over-the-counter teeth whitening products seem like a quick, easy and affordable solution for whitening our teeth, these products bring with them their own set of problems which will be discussed below:

Too Many to Choose From

The first problem with the teeth whitening products that are available in pharmacies and online stores is that you have far too many options to choose from. Today, teeth whitening products are available in all shapes and forms.

From teeth whitening gels to teeth whitening strips, you have everything at your disposal to help you whiten your teeth. Depending on our budget and convenience, you can take your pick from teeth whitening toothpaste, kits, strips, gels, pens, rinses, trays, and powders to suit your needs.

But the problem with having so many over-the-counter teeth whitening products is that you will spend a lot of time trying to find the one that is most reliable and effective and still end up with the one that does not deliver the promised results. Because of the increased competition in the market, many manufacturers of teeth whitening products make misleading claims to sell their products. Therefore, the probability of finding the one that actually works is miniscule.

Risks of Tooth Damage and Injury

Another problem with using over-the-counter teeth whitening products is that several of them don’t come with clear instructions. As consumers, we trust the manufacturers and believe that the product must be safe for use. But since many of these teeth whitening products contain abrasive cleaning agents and active ingredients, prolonged or over-use of these products can lead to permanent tooth damage.

Frequent use of abrasive cleaning agents can erode our enamel (hard, protective layer on our teeth) and expose our teeth to infection-causing bacteria. Moreover, the erosion of enamel makes our teeth very weak and sensitive. This increases the risk of injuries, tooth damage and tooth loss

Ill-fitting teeth whitening trays and strips can injure our gum tissues and make them more susceptible to bacterial infections. Also, overuse of teeth whitening kits that include high-intensity LED lights and combine them with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel can make your teeth very sensitive over time. Teeth sensitivity can make it very painful to bite and chew your food.

Ineffective for Stubborn Stains

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain a small percentage of active ingredients that work on the principle of abrasion and only remove superficial stains. These products are ineffective for removing deep-rooted, stubborn stains that are the actual reason for the discoloration of your teeth. At first glance, it may appear as if your teeth have become whiter, but the results are short-lived. Within 2 to 3 days, you will notice the yellow hue and stains on your teeth again.

Compared to that, in-office and professional teeth whitening services target stubborn stains. Usually, you will need around 3 sittings to get the desired results. After each treatment, your technician will tell you a list of do’s and don’ts that you must follow to keep your teeth white.

Unlike the over-the-counter teeth whitening products, the results of a professional teeth whitening procedure are long-lasting. With proper care and maintenance, your teeth can continue to look pearly white for 6 months to over a year.


If you want to see a noticeable difference in the color and appearance of your teeth, don’t waste time and money on over-the-counter teeth whitening products. Talk to your certified teeth whitening professional who performs in-office teeth whitening service to get your questions answered.


Jonathan Erik, Owner, New Wave Accelerated Teeth Whitening Certified Teeth Whitening Technician


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