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nonexpert's avatar

Another question about teeth whitening. Does this make a difference?

Asked by nonexpert (563 points ) July 17th, 2012

I have some trays of teeth whitening gel and on the pack it says something like: “use once per day for 15 minutes for 5 days”.

Does it really matter if I use twice a day for 15 minutes for 2 or 3 days instead? I can’t imagine how this affects how the product works. Or is that just it? The whitening doesn’t actually work? And if they don’t work why do they sell them? Isn’t it false advertising?

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10 Answers

chyna's avatar

What are the ingredients in the whitening and at what percent? I would think they are trying to ensure that there is no damage to a person’s enamel by slowly bleaching the teeth instead of leaving the product on for an extended period of time.

Seelix's avatar

The reasoning behind the “once a day” thing might have to do with the ingredients in the whitening gel. I’d imagine that the stuff is going to bleach your enamel, which would conceivably weaken it, at least a little. (I’m assuming that might be the case, as bleached hair becomes very fragile; granted, it’s exposed to a stronger bleach, yada yada.)

Anyway, the time in between the whitening sessions might be suggested so that you don’t “overdo” it. Kind of like gradually lightening your hair using a product containing a lower percentage of peroxide rather than dumping a bottle of peroxide on your head and hoping to come out with platinum locks.

Yes, I know teeth are not hair. But that’s my guess.

Edit: What @chyna said. But not as elegantly worded.

nonexpert's avatar

Sorry, it’s actually 30 minutes a day for 3 days and contains carbamide peroxide, but doesn’t say what percentage.

nonexpert's avatar

I mean 5 days! Dangit.

chyna's avatar

That is the usual ingredient in teeth whitening, so I don’t think you are getting scammed. It would be helpful to know the percentage though. The whitening I have used from my dentist is 22% and I am supposed to use 30 minutes a day for 5 days, so it sounds like you are probably using the same product. I have seen the product in 10% dosage, but the time to leave it on is usually longer, sometimes overnight.

jca's avatar

Where is our resident dentist?

chyna's avatar

@jca She is probably in someones mouth!

nonexpert's avatar

Thanks @chyna, I should also add that it’s an over-the-counter product, so I’m not holding out too much hope :S

trailsillustrated's avatar

Over the counter product is usually 10% or less. They all work, some better and faster than others. It doesn’t matter how often or for how long, they have to be in contact with the teeth to work. So if you use it for 15 minutes for 5 days or 30 minutes for 3 days it doesn’t matter. The 20 or 25% will make your teeth sensitive but that goes away if you quit for a few days. With the over the counter stuff, (weak) they work better if you use them consistently, like every day.

nonexpert's avatar

Thanks for your input @trailsillustrated.

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