Peroxide, that bubbly stuff used by doctors and moms to clean scrapes for years is the base chemical for this teeth whitening agent. Surprise!
Carbamide peroxide and / or Hydrogen peroxide are the two main key chemical ingredients used to whiten teeth. These are found in almost all of the tooth bleaching kits and teeth whitening products available today. The main difference between many of these products is the strength of the Carbamide peroxide gel. A general rule is that the higher the strength, the faster the results … and the greater the risks of gum damage.
Most professional whitening / bleaching gels use only a couple of different chemicals to whiten teeth: Carbamide peroxide, used for a few hours to overnight, or Hydrogen peroxide usually used for about 30 minutes a couple of times a day.
Carbamide peroxide is actually a lower strength product that can limit the irritating effects of stronger peroxide chemicals.
Still, Carbamide peroxide gels come in a variety of strengths. These range from a very safe 10% to the more typical 16 and 20-22% strengths. There's also even stronger gels available that claim upwards of a 30% + strength level. These can and will discolor your mouth soft tissue if the gel comes in contact with it for any length of time.
These stronger peroxide gels should probably only be considered if done by a dentist or dental professional. A dentist can make certain the material is only applied to teeth surfaces and can better protect the gums and soft tissue in your mouth. Higher strength products also are the reason why a dentist can achieve faster, though much more expensive results sooner. Although you may be tempted to get the highest strength available, the higher the potency, the higher the risk of problems. For best home teeth bleaching results, use the lower or middle range of Carbamide Peroxide strengths.
Professional Teeth Whitening kits bleach teeth for thousands of people every year without major problems. This does not mean that using teeth bleaching products are completely free of any problems even if used incorrectly however. Tooth sensitivity, gum discoloration and a poor teeth whitening job can result if Carbamide peroxide gels are not used as directed.
Peroxide and it's counterpart, Carbamide Peroxide, are bleaching chemicals. Specifically they're known as oxidizing agents. Although you may be more aware of basic chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide or peroxide bleaches are also actually another well used and trusted bleaching agent in many industries. Color safe bleaches and even the now popular "Oxy-Clean" type bleaches are really oxygenating or an oxidizing bleach. To be even more clear, they're selling bleach with an oxidizing agent, and most probably it's a compound that includes peroxide in some strength.
Did you know that bleach does not really get out stains? Depending on the bleaching chemical used, it actually adds oxygen (oxidizing) to a stain or removes or (reduces) oxygen to the stain. Chlorine bleach by the way is considered a reducing agent that removes oxygen from stains. Depending on the type of stain, it simply disappears when the right bleaching product is applied.
So Carbamide Peroxide is an oxidizing agent that bleaches or whitens your teeth by adding oxygen molecules to the stains. Remember that Carbamide Peroxide is almost the same product as that brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide moms have used for decades to clean cuts and scrapes on children. When used as directed, it's a safe and effective tooth whitening product that can make your smile look it's best.