Author: Katie MacMillan
Peroxide is commonly used to whiten teeth. In a 2007 literature review paper by Andew Joiner, the effects of peroxide on dentin and enamel was investigated.
Two peroxides used to brighten smiles are hydrogen and carbamide. These can be used in a few different ways - through drugstore whitening products like whitening strips, or by dentists if you get your teeth whitened in a dental chair, or if you are given a whitening night guard by your dentist (Joiner, 2007).
The effects of peroxides were looked at from many different angles. One was to see if peroxide changes the surface structure of your tooth. A scanning electron microscope (which is basically a very high tech microscope) was used to see if any differences were present (Joiner, 2007). Results from many papers showed that there were no differences (Joiner, 2007).
The hardness of teeth before and after peroxide was also assessed through a measure of surface microhardness (SMH). No differences were seen here either (Joiner, 2007).
Acid challenges, meaning how teeth hold up against acid, were also looked at (Joiner, 2007). Different experiments would bleach teeth, then expose them to acids. Again, no differences were seen following the treatments (Joiner, 2007).
The review paper concluded peroxide does not have any significant adverse effects on teeth (Joiner, 2007). However, don't bleach them without a care in the world! Always speak to your doctor about the methods that are best for you.
Joiner, Andrew. "Review of the effects of peroxide on enamel and dentine properties." Journal of dentistry 35.12 (2007): 889-896.