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Does teeth whitening harm teeth?

Maestri Family Dental Staff

Certain drinks, foods, and habits in our day to day lives can take a toll on our teeth, especially their color. Coffee, tea, red wine, foods that are high in vinegar or acidity, smoking, poor dental hygiene, certain medications, and other items we consume leave trace stains on your enamel causing them to look discolored. Even excessive use of fluoride, which is in just about everything including tooth paste itself, can cause your teeth to look yellow overtime. 

There are lots of preventative measures that can be taken to prevent discoloration of teeth such as cutting back on the habits that cause it such as coffee and smoking. Creating a healthy dental routine that includes flossing, brushing and consistent dental maintenance including teeth cleaning with your local dentist will minimize tooth discoloration. If you already have yellow stained teeth there are several teeth whitening options available. Stains on the outer surfaces of the teeth, called extrinsic stains, can be easily removed with the right products. Depending on your particular situation, there are even take home treatment options available. If you have a severe stains that are within the tooth rather than on the surface, standard teeth whitening treatments will not work and other options would be recommended such as dental bonding and porcelain veneers.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Most conventional whitening treatments are safe as long as you use them as recommended. As with any health regimen, there are certain risks involved. If you desire to use at home dental teeth whitening products, we highly recommend you first schedule a checkup and cleaning at your local dentist and make sure you are a good candidate for home products. Our dental office even offers an at-home teeth whitening kits for patients in the Lafayette, LA, area that are good candidates. Teeth whitening is generally meant for those who already have a healthy dental profile and are simply looking for a brighter smile. Some potential risks for teeth whitening products are: 

  1. Allergic reactions. Be sure to thoroughly check ingredients to make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. 
  2. If you have or have had gum disease or history of cavities, teeth whitening kits can actually cause more damage to your teeth. Always consult with your local dentist first as other options are available aside from home whitening kits. 
  3. Tooth sensitivity – although this is usually temporary. 
  4. Gum irritation, sometimes called “chemical burn” – also often temporary.
  5. Undesired results. Overuse can lead to gray tinted or translucent looking teeth. You will also not see any change if you have veneers, crowns, caps or fillings as whitening products will not work on those areas.


While there are restorative options to tooth discoloration, it is best to take a preventative approach. While there are some potential risks, dental-approved whitening products are considered safe and effective. Check with your local dentist to see if you are a good candidate for these products. At home treatments sold at grocery stores are not recommended, especially without first consulting a trained dental professional. Some of these options can leave your teeth brittle and sensitive creating long term damage. 

If you do not have a local dentist, we would love the opportunity to discuss teeth whitening needs with you. We offer professional at home kits for those who are at least 16 years of age, in overall good health, and not pregnant or nursing. Contact Maestri Dental for your consultation. You can learn more about our teeth whitening kits here. 

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