How to Whiten Your Teeth at Home

Smile Safety

In general, at-home whitening procedures are quite safe, with the most reported side-effect being increased tooth sensitivity -- something that fades with time.

The main ingredient in most whitening gels and strips is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (a substance that decomposes to release hydrogen peroxide), and research shows that neither chemical does permanent damage to the enamel of the tooth. However, there is at least one study that shows that the tooth's enamel -- the hardest substance in the human body -- can be weakened very slightly (just 1 to 2 nanometers) through whitening treatments and so, caution is recommended regarding the frequency and duration of treatments [source: Ohio State University].

It is also suggested that three groups of individuals avoid whitening procedures: those who have teeth that became grayish as a result of childhood antibiotic intake; those with teeth that are extremely sensitive to cold; and those who have front teeth with crowns or fillings, as these won't respond to whitening treatments and will instead look like blemishes on the teeth [source: Good Housekeeping].