Does gargling with hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth and would it affect any fillings that I have?

Teeth WhiteningThe short answer is “No, it will not whiten your teeth and it will not harm well-fitting permanent fillings.”

What are my options for Teeth Whitening?

Interestingly, many take home whitening gels are 10% carbamide peroxide gel which breaks down to 3% hydrogen peroxide in your mouth. It is the 3% hydrogen peroxide that does the bulk of the whitening. Over the counter hydrogen peroxide solutions are also usually 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Unfortunately, with over the counter hydrogen peroxide solution it is virtually impossible to keep active hydrogen peroxide on your teeth for long enough to whiten them. Generally at this concentration you would need to have your teeth in contact with the 3% hydrogen peroxide for about 5 hours a day for about 2-3 weeks to have meaningful tooth whitening, which is very difficult to do with a watery liquid. Your body makesĀ  an enzyme called hydrogen peroxidase which quickly inactivates hydrogen peroxide.

10% carbamide peroxide whitening gel is designed to keep releasing hydrogen peroxide and hold it against your teeth for 5+ hours. Whitening gels also generally have a desensitizing agent since hydrogen peroxide in contact with your teeth for that long can temporarily make them sensitive.

There are substantially higher concentrations of whitening gel available, but often temporary sensitivity can be a problem. The advantage of higher concentrations is they allow you to whiten your teeth in less time (faster).

Rather than gargle with hydrogen peroxide you could get Mentadent toothpaste which has hydrogen peroxide in it, but again don’t expect any meaningful whitening.

Before you get your chemistry kits out, you can buy whitening touch-up kits in our office (if you have trays) with Zoom whitening gel (which I feel is the best money can buy) currently for $19 if you are a patient. You can have molds made and custom trays made with whitening gel currently for $98.

Probably the best over the counter option is Crest Whitening Strips which do work, but are not as effective as custom whitening trays.