Whitening Product Safety
Some whitening products dispensed through dentists' offices as well as professionally applied (in-office) bleaching products have received the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which indicates that the product has met ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use products containing 10% carbamide peroxide and office-applied products containing 35% hydrogen peroxide have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Over-the-counter bleaching products are not endorsed by the ADA, because the organization believes that professional consultation is important to ensuring safe and effective use. No whitening products using lasers are on the ADA's list of accepted products. Several whitening toothpastes that are available in drugstores have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance. For a list of specific toothpastes that have gained the ADA's Seal of Acceptance, visit www.ada.org.
It should be noted that not all manufacturers seek the ADA's Seal of Acceptance. This is a voluntary program that requires considerable expense and time on the part of a manufacturer. Just because a product does not have the ADA Seal of Acceptance does not necessarily mean that the product is not safe and effective. You can be assured, however, that products that do carry the seal meet the ADA's standards for safety and effectiveness when used as directed.
Teeth whiteners are not drugs and therefore are not regulated by the FDA.
Tips to Consider When Choosing an Over-the-Counter Whitening Kit
- Try to select a teeth whitening kit that allows some customization of the mouthpiece. Some kits come with a mouthpiece that can be molded to some degree. These are better than others that come with a standard mouthpiece.
- Try to gain the opinion of others who may have already tried the kit you are considering.
If at any time you experience a prolonged change in the color of your gums or an increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, stop wearing the mouthpiece and see your dentist immediately.