Young bearded man checking his teeth

5 Common Teeth Whitening Mistakes

You may know several teeth whitening options, including in-office treatment by your dentist and at-home whitening strips. But did you know some methods are neither safe nor very effective? Some at-home whitening options can cause lasting damage to your teeth if you don't use them properly. Learn about the five common whitening mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Overusing Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are an affordable, convenient way to get your teeth a bit whiter at home. Although they can effectively whiten your teeth, whitening strips can start to damage your teeth if you wear them too long and too often. Wearing whitening strips for too long increases your risk for tooth sensitivity. Ensure you follow the manufacturer's instructions and talk to your dentist if you continue to experience discomfort or painful tooth sensitivity.

2. Using Baking Soda

You may have heard that baking soda can clean your teeth and remove surface stains, but baking soda isn't the best or most effective whitening option. If you use household baking soda, its abrasiveness can weaken parts of your enamel, increasing sensitivity. It's generally safer to use a whitening toothpaste than to brush with only baking soda.

3. Using Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar

Unfortunately, using lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or another acidic liquid to whiten your teeth can cause enamel erosion, putting you at an increased risk for cavities. Keep in mind that the American Dental Association (ADA) listed lemons and other citrus fruits among its top nine foods that damage teeth.

4. Using Ill-Fitting Whitening Trays

One-size-fits-all teeth whitening trays sold in stores may lead to certain problems. The whitening gel may leak if the tray doesn't fit your mouth, potentially irritating your gums. Also, if the whitening ingredients leak out of the tray, you may not see results. These are the reasons why getting a customised tray from your dentist is often more effective, even if it is more expensive than over-the-counter whitening trays.

5. Using Any Product Not Designed for Teeth

You may see even more recommendations for at-home teeth whitening that involves household products like hydrogen peroxide or even bleach. However, these products were not created for oral care and can lead to tooth damage, or worse. It's important to seek out oral care products from oral care experts!

Remember these five common mistakes as you search and speak with your dental hygienist and dentist about whitening options. Your dental professional can recommend the best whitening treatment or product for your needs to ensure you don't accidentally cause damage or tooth sensitivity.

There are safe ways to do at-home teeth whitening, especially when you ask a professional.


The above information is provided for informational purposes only. Colgate does not accept any liability should the above recommendations have an outcome contrary to the intended result. Always seek the advice of a qualified doctor or dental professional. Do not disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

Not all Colgate products contain hydrogen peroxide. Optic White Expert is the only product in our toothpaste range that contains hydrogen peroxide.

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