Tooth whitening is commonly practised in France. Depending on the techniques and products used, it can be carried out at home, in a beauty salon, at a beautician’s or, of course, in a dental surgery.

On the market, it is sometimes difficult to know how to select the most suitable products.

We have chosen to explain the main existing tooth whiteners to help you better understand their actions and constraints.

1. Hydrogen peroxide

Let’s start with hydrogen peroxide, which is the best known whitening agent.

It is the basis of most tooth whitening gels. To put it simply, hydrogen peroxide is also called hydrogen peroxide in its aqueous solution.

It has oxidising and antiseptic properties. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide in bleaching gels must be analysed very carefully.

Although this product is very effective in a tooth whitening treatment, its use is indeed regulated.

Gels with a hydrogen peroxide content of no more than 0.1% are available over the counter. They are safe and effective in home or salon tooth whitening treatments.

Above this dosage, they are used by health professionals. For example, if you visit your dentist, he or she may offer you cosmetic dentistry with gels that may contain 6% hydrogen peroxide. Up to this dosage, the dentist can then prescribe further outpatient treatment for the patient. If the patient follows the protocol indicated by the practitioner, he or she can then carry out home tooth whitening with a 6% gel.

Beyond this dosage, no prescription for an individual is allowed. Only dentists are authorised to handle high-dose gels.

This last point is very important: hydrogen peroxide is safe as long as the correct dosage is used. Gels with a peroxide concentration of more than 6% can cause inflammation, gum burns and irreversible damage to your teeth (broken, cracked teeth, etc.). The damage is irreversible. Vigilance is therefore required and we strongly advise against buying gels that do not comply with the regulations on foreign websites.

2. Carbamide peroxide

Carbamide peroxide is the whitening agent used by dentists, but it is also widely used in American tooth whitening. In simple terms, carbamide peroxide contains 1/3 hydrogen peroxide. This ratio makes it easy to calculate the hydrogen peroxide content of a gel.

A product containing 30% carbamide peroxide is actually 10% hydrogen peroxide.

This gel is subject to the same rules according to the European directives. Therefore, only gels containing 16% carbamide peroxide (6% hydrogen) can still be prescribed by a health professional for home bleaching.

The major difference between carbamide and hydrogen is the decomposition time of the product. Carbamide peroxide delivers its whitening power over a longer period than hydrogen.

According to studies, hydrogen releases most of its bleaching power within 30 to 60 minutes. Carbamide peroxide, on the other hand, releases half of its whitening power in the first two hours and the rest over the following 6 hours.

Both hydrogen and carbamide provide excellent results in whitening your smile.

3. Phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid

This product, also known as PAP, can be considered a new whitening agent on the dental whitening market. This product does not release hydrogen peroxide. This gel contains an active bleaching agent that whitens the discoloured molecules inside your tooth. There are still few studies on this product but it seems to be effective.

As it does not contain peroxide, it does not fall under the European legislation that regulates the concentrations of tooth whitening gels.

4. Whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes are intended to maintain your teeth whitening or simply to refresh your smile.

There are several different components in whitening toothpastes.

Very often, manufacturers use baking soda, which helps to thoroughly clean teeth and reduce stains.

But you can also find so-called red and blue pigments. The aim is to accentuate the whiteness of the teeth, but rather in a trompe-l’oeil effect.

You can use these toothpastes on a daily basis because their composition is safe. The abrasiveness of the components is very low.

5. Charcoal for teeth

Activated charcoal is produced from organic vegetable matter. Its natural origin gives it a strong absorbing power. Presented as a black powder, charcoal helps to treat mouth ulcers or inflamed or swollen gums. It helps to fight against tartar and certain periodontal diseases. It has the advantage of penetrating inside the tooth to better target the stains in order to eliminate them quickly.

Charcoal powder does not have to be used daily but an application once or twice a week is recommended. It is a good product for home tooth whitening.

6. Natural remedies

There are other products that naturally have whitening properties.

We have already mentioned bicarbonate of soda, which is present in whitening toothpastes. But it is a home remedy for whitening teeth on its own. Its chemical compound is a very good abrasive. It therefore helps to remove recent stains. However, it should not be used frequently as it can make your teeth more sensitive and eventually damage your enamel.

Let’s move on to lemons, which are very well known for giving your teeth an immediate shine. Some people use a lemon wedge rubbed directly onto their teeth. Others prefer to make lemon juice and combine it with baking soda. You dip your toothbrush in this mixture and brush your teeth with it. But lemon is a citrus fruit so it has a high acidity. To avoid damaging your enamel, it is advisable to use it at most once a week.

We can also mention essential oils such as tea tree oil. This oil has many properties, including cleaning the mouth and helping to whiten teeth.

In the same register as tea tree oil, we can mention coconut oil which can be used as a mouthwash or peppermint essential oil.

If we add coarse sea salt, green clay or cider vinegar, you will draw up a long list of natural remedies that are a priori provided with whitening benefits. All should be used with caution and not on a regular basis.