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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2018 > 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WHITENING…


Always put the health of your teeth and gums first, by following our 10-step stay-safe advice

1You should have any dental problems fixed first

If you’re planning on whitening your teeth, you must always see your dentist beforehand. This isn’t just a way for them to drum up business – it’s important to check whether your teeth and gums are healthy enough for the procedure.

Professor Ailbhe McDonald, professor of prosthodontics at the Eastman Dental Institute at University College London, explains why the chemicals used for whitening can be a problem for tooth sensitivity. ‘If you have existing cavities or nerve problems, these chemicals (such as hydrogen peroxide) irritate the pulp of the tooth if not applied safely. You need to get the problems fixed before you try whitening.

‘Plus, if you go for the whitening trays option (moulds that sit over your teeth with the whitening chemical applied inside), your dentist can make bespoke ones to fit your teeth exactly so the chemicals don’t come into contact with your gums,’ says Ailbhe. ‘If you go for a one-size-fits-all DIY option, there’s more danger of the chemicals leaking and irritating your gums.’

2 Hydrogen peroxide levels aren’t always safe

‘Hydrogen peroxide is the main chemical used in many teeth whitening products,’ says Ailbhe. ‘Another is carbamide peroxide, which breaks down to roughly one-third hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals are regulated by the EU and it’s actually illegal for products containing between 0.1 and 6% hydrogen peroxide to be sold or supplied by anyone other than a dentist or a hygienist working on a dentist’s prescription in the UK and EU.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Too busy to cook every day? Find out how the new calorie guidelines for eating on the go could stop you putting on weight (goodbye, coffee shop up-selling and unhealthy meal deals). We help you power up your walk to burn more fat and get more nutrition on your plate by pairing foods. Plus don't miss our 8-page guide to vegan eating - everything you need to know!