Pulling Back the Veil on Teeth Whitening AgentsWhat exactly is in your teeth whitener? Science has provided us with several teeth whitening agents that are used by dentists and home whitening kits alike. Teeth whitening agents work through different mechanisms to reveal your brighter, whiter smile. Whitening agents (sometimes referred to as “bleaching” agents although they don’t contain bleach) oxidize stains, other agents prevent the formation of future stains, and others physically polish them away. With a little research, you'll find that many products use similar teeth whitening agents.
Facts about Teeth Whitening AgentsHere are some examples of common teeth whitening agents:
- Hydrogen Peroxide: This is widely used in many teeth whitening agents for both at-home whitening kits and systems used at the dentist's office. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that oxidizes stains on the surface of teeth.
- arbamide Peroxide: This is another teeth whitener that is widely used. Carbamide peroxide is a mixture of urea and hydrogen peroxide. In water, it breaks down into these two parts, and the hydrogen peroxide oxidizes stains.
- Silica: Silica is a form of silica dioxide, and is used in its granular form. These granules polish the stain and wear it down, helping to reveal your own white enamel underneath the stain.
- Sodium Hexametaphosphate/Pyrophosphates: These teeth whitening agents work by disrupting the stain itself and making it easier to remove. Then they remain on the tooth, forming a thin layer over the enamel and the stain, thereby helping to prevent future stains.