Does Teeth Whitening Weaken Your Enamel?


If you are thinking about whitening your teeth, you may be worried about your enamel. Does teeth whitening weaken enamel? The short answer is no, it doesn’t. With that in mind, we want to explain what to expect during teeth whitening so you can approach this process from an educated perspective. Here is some information about teeth whitening and your enamel.

Types of Teeth Whitening and How They Affect Your Teeth

There are two categories of teeth whitening products: bleaching and non-bleaching. Bleaching products are much more effective than non-bleaching, but they interact with your teeth in a different way. You will typically find bleaching chemicals in in-office teeth whitening treatments, as well as take-home gels and over-the-counter whitening strips.  Non-bleaching products are toothpastes, charcoal scrubs, baking soda, and other items that use abrasion to clean the surface of your teeth. These will not make a dramatic difference in your smile, but they can be used for regular maintenance.

Bleaching products will cause your enamel to expand during a treatment. This is why your teeth may feel sensitive for a short time. They do not damage the enamel; it returns to its original form. Non-bleaching products, however, can cause damage if they are used excessively or aggressively. The abrasive materials used to scrub your teeth can also wear down the enamel.

Tooth Sensitivity Does Not Mean Weak Enamel

A common side effect of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity. This usually lasts one to two days after the whitening procedure, and then it goes away. If your teeth feel sensitive, do not worry. Your enamel is protected. During the teeth whitening process, your enamel will expand and contract. Your saliva helps it revert back to its original form. In the end, you will have whiter teeth that are still just as strong and durable.

Avoid Over-Whitening Your Teeth

It is possible to over-whiten your teeth. When that happens, your teeth may be sensitive for a prolonged period of time. You also may not get the results you want because you are whitening your teeth back to back. Your cosmetic dentist can help you find a balance that is appropriate for your teeth and your smile goals.

What to Do If You Have Weak Enamel

If your teeth are consistently sensitive, you may need a fluoride treatment to strengthen your enamel. You could also get dental sealants in areas that have not formed cavities but may be susceptible to cavities later on. Contact Redwood Dental at (800) 462-2222 to schedule an oral exam, and we will help you get your smile healthy and strong.