How teeth whitening strips work

teeth whitening

Many of us use teeth whitening strips, and many of us don’t. But for the folks who do, have you ever once thought about how it actually works? Wired explains this to us, and we have to say, it is quite enlightening. Basically, teeth whitening strips use something called hydrogen peroxide, which is the same thing you bleach your floors with along with…well, anything else that needs bleaching. Scared? Don’t be old chap, because it’s OK.

The good thing about the hydrogen peroxide used in teeth whitening strips is that it adds a much lower level of concentration, so it won’t damage your gums or have you looking like a mummy….without teeth. Now, the hydrogen peroxide here breaks apart into molecules with reactive unpaired electrons. This is called Radicals, for those who are interested in learning.

Radicals practically attacks stain molecules and breaks them apart. So if you’re teeth is filled with coffee stains, whitening strips could help.

If you weren’t aware, hydrogen peroxide is acid. Well of course it is, because it is able to burn things away. Now, because it is acid, and it is bad to put acid in our mouth, hydrogen peroxide is mixed with sodium hydroxide, which makes it less acidic and easier to keep in your mouth. There’s more to how teeth whitening strips work, so to know more, take a peek at the video below. After that, do tell us if you have used these products before and why.

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  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@becky] How did your husband come to pour peroxide into the coffee maker? You can’t drop that out there and then just walk away without an explanation! :)

  • Steve

    Most bacteria in your intestine are beneficial. They help you digest food. Don’t kill them!
    From “Wikipedia”: “Claims that diluted hydrogen peroxide may be taken intravenously or even orally for treating various sicknesses, including cancer, have been shown to be fraudulent, dangerous, and illegal…”

  • Steve

    Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygen-based bleach. Do not confuse it with much more powerful chlorine bleaches, mildew removers, etc. Read the ingredients labels.

  • mutonic2


    That’s incorrect Becky, H2O2 is also called hydroperoxic acid, it’s a weak acid, pH about 6.
    Drinking a wee bit in diluted form is actually not at all bad for you, kills “bad” bacteria in the stomach.

  • becky

    Sorry….Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2, is alkaline, NOT acidic.

    Both extremes of the pH scale will burn H2O2 is very alkaline, NOT acid. Unless you buy it for fuel at absurd concentrations, it also will not burn you but you likely don’t want to swallow it at the upper GRAS limit which is 35%. The stuff you buy at WalMart is 3% and from other places it’s also 3% but some have fillers.
    –I use it topically to correct blemishes, moles, skin tags. DH accidentally poured it into the coffeepot…and drank it. He didn’t die or even have to go to the ER.