Does Teeth Whitening Weaken Enamel?

Women smiling after teeth whitening.

A white smile can make you happier and more confident, but can teeth whitening actually ruin your smile over time?

What Is Enamel?

Enamel is the tough outer layer of your teeth. Although strong, it can get worn down by repeated exposure to acid, which can be found in foods and drinks such as citrus, candy, and alcohol. Once enamel is damaged, it exposes dentin, the tissue under enamel that gives teeth their color.

How Teeth Whitening Works

There are two types of teeth whitening: bleaching and non-bleaching. Bleaching products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in order to brighten teeth faster. They are usually used for in-office whitening treatments and in whitening strips, gels, and trays. Non-bleaching products – including whitening toothpastes, baking soda, and activated charcoal – use abrasion instead of chemicals to lift surface stains off your teeth.

Side Effects of Whitening

Although you may experience tooth sensitivity after you receive a whitening treatment, the good news is that your enamel will remain intact! Your enamel expands and contracts during whitening treatment but is able to heal naturally with your saliva. Although your teeth are actually more sensitive to staining after a whitening treatment and may feel funny when in contact with cold, hot, or very sweet or salty foods and drinks, your teeth will feel back to normal shortly. Try to avoid smoking or taking medication that dries your mouth (unless you need to, of course), and be sure to drink plenty of water.

Want a whiter, brighter smile? Know that you can have one without any risk to your oral health! We offer professional teeth whitening here at Jones Creek Family Dental and will work with you to tailor a plan that will give you the smile of your dreams within your own budget. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

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