What is Carbamide Peroxide?

What is Carbamide Peroxide?  Carbamide peroxide is a chemical commonly used to whiten teeth both in and out of a dentist’s office.

The concentrations used vary greatly, with the higher concentrations typically only applied by your dentist during a chair side teeth whitening.

While this type of peroxide does have several medicinal uses, too much of it can be quite dangerous.

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Before using carbamide peroxide for teeth whitening, you should learn the basics so that you can make an informed decision.

How is Carbamide Peroxide Used for Dental Whitening

This type of peroxide is used to whiten teeth and in most cases, it is used in a dentist’s office so that they can control how it is used. However, there are some products you use at home that contain carbamide peroxide in low concentrations of around 10 percent.

Dentists may also use this type of peroxide to treat mouth sores, but this only requires very low concentrations.

When using carbamide peroxide for teeth whitening, this chemical is typically applied directly to the teeth and it’s usually in a gel form.

Chairside whitening procedures protect the gums from this chemical and it uses a light to speed up the whitening process.

You may also use carbamide peroxide at home as part of a teeth whitening kit.  The kits that contain this type of peroxide are usually put together by your dentist.

It is very important to follow the instructions exactly to reduce the risk of gum irritation and tooth sensitivity, and to get optimal results.

How Does This Chemical Work to Whiten Teeth?

Cigarette 1

“Cigarette 1” by mi-sio (Standard Restrictions), via FreeImages.com

Carbamide peroxide’s active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide and it works to oxidize tooth surface stains and breaks them down.

The saliva in your mouth mixes with the carbamide peroxide to release hydrogen peroxide.

The level of bleaching that occurs is dependent on how long the peroxide stays on your teeth and how concentrated the formula is.

In general, a dentist uses concentrations ranging from 15 to 16 percent and anything higher than 35 percent puts you at risk for chemical burns.

Initially, teeth whiteners with this chemical work to remove extrinsic stains, which are the stains present on the enamel.

Lifestyle habits are the usual cause of these stains, including things like regularly consuming coffee, tea, dark berries and other foods and drinks with dark pigments.

Cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause this type of staining. If you still consume these foods and drinks and use tobacco, use the best teeth whitening toothpaste to maintain the results you get with carbamide peroxide.

Repeated use can start to target intrinsic stains, which are stains that occur in the dentin. Dentin is a deeper layer within a tooth that your enamel protects. Since the surface stains are the first ones people typically try to tackle, you may not notice whitening after the first use because the stains in the dentin may still show through.

Potential Side Effects and Dangers of Carbamide Peroxide

Dental Mirror (What is Carbamide Peroxide?)

“Dental Mirror” by bashar21 (Standard Restrictions), via FreeImages.com

High concentrations of this carbimide peroxide can be dangerous.  This is why products typically only use it in low concentrations for teeth whitening.

When performing teeth whitening properly, the risk of side effects and potential issues are very low, but still possible.

However, you should still know about them so you can make an informed decision.

Minor side effects are things that all people are at risk for. Using a good dentist to whiten your teeth can help to reduce the risk of side effects.  But, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk.

Gum sensitivity and irritation are common and they can make it a little uncomfortable to eat, especially hot or cold beverages.  This side effect generally disappears with continued use.

Irritation or a mild rash on the skin are possible if this chemical comes into contact with the skin. This is a powerful form of peroxide so it kills bacteria.

It may also kill the healthy bacteria in the oral cavity, so it is important to never use it longer than directed.

When a peroxide product kills of healthy bacteria, this provides an ideal environment for the harmful bacteria to flourish.

If you experience issues with carbamide peroxide, make sure to talk to your dentist about possible alternatives for the future.

There are other teeth whitening ingredients that can effectively whiten teeth that may be less likely to cause side effects.

If you have issues with your teeth or gums, you may not be able to comfortably use this type of peroxide for teeth bleaching.

Addiction and Overuse With This Type of Peroxide


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Some people overuse teeth whitening products and this can cause some problems with products that contain carbamide peroxide.

Only use over-the-counter whitening products at the most twice a year and follow the directions exactly.

Most carbamide peroxide products recommend using for no more than two weeks at a time.  Please don’t use them for a longer period of time.

You should make sure to have at least six months between uses. It isn’t safe to use whiteners with 10 percent carbamide peroxide concentrations or higher regularly.

Overuse may cause the enamel on your teeth to take on a bluish color, your teeth can become sensitive, your gums can get irritated and uneven whiteness may occur.

Using this solution too much may lead to it penetrating into the inside of a tooth, especially if there is a crack in the tooth. If this occurs, you may require a root canal to fix the damage.

It isn’t common, but some people become addicted to teeth whitening and abuse bleaching products. Carbamide peroxide abuse can lead to significant issues with your gums and teeth.

It can also lead to varying degrees of pain, making it uncomfortable to eat and perform daily dental hygiene, which can further worsen any associated issues.

If you are considering using a teeth whitening product with carbamide peroxide make sure to talk to your dentist first. It is important that you know what concentration the product uses and if there are any potential side effects.

Carbamide peroxide is an effective teeth whitener, but make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks for you.  We hope this helps to answer the question “What is Carbamide Peroxide”.

  12 Responses to “What is Carbamide Peroxide?”

  1. I tried Carbamide Peroxide once with my dentist. It worked well making my teeth whiter. But, my gums were sore for what seemed like weeks.

  2. Frank,

    You should give Dr. Song’s product a try. Reports are good with regard to both whitening and sensitivity.


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