Is UV Teeth Whitening Safe? | Colgate® (2024)

Everyone deserves to have a beautiful, confident, and healthy smile, so it’s no wonder that there are so many at-home products on the market that help you combat yellow or stained teeth to achieve a brilliant sparkle. But there’s one teeth whitening product that’s gained attention in the past decade among celebrities and social media influencers that’s a bit more high-tech and a bit more expensive: an at-home UV teeth whitening kit. Here, we’ve laid out a few facts on the safety and effectiveness of these types of products, so you can understand how it works before considering it as an option for a whiter smile.

How It Works

These kits are similar to a common in-office teeth whitening treatment, which involves a dental professional applying a peroxide-based whitening gel to your teeth, and placing a blue UV light over the teeth. Together, the gel and light create a system that can expedite the teeth whitening process. By using stronger peroxide formulas and light dental professionals can speed up the lightening process according to the Ontario Dental Hygienists' Association. The light-activated process may also give longer lasting results.

An at-home kit functions similarly and typically instructs you to apply a whitening gel to your teeth with a pen and then use a portable LED light over your teeth for a few minutes over a period of days. These kits often come with a higher price tag than other at-home whitening solutions, like whitening toothpaste or strips.

Safety of UV Teeth Whitening Kits

You might be wondering: is UV teeth whitening safe? The Canadian Dental Association notes that tooth-bleaching under controlled dental office conditions may be safe and effective, but the new in-office vital tooth-bleaching techniques, particularly those using laser and lights, have undergone little scientific assessment. The Canadian Dental Association Journal, also notes that peroxide when combined with heat sources (lasers/UV light) caused tooth sensitivity during and after the procedure.

Another critical safety consideration: there are no regulations associated with at-home UV light teeth whitening kits. Health Canada recommends consulting a dental professional for prolonged use of at-home whitening kits and to report any adverse reactions you have. You should always exercise precaution when using dental curing kits. According to the Oral Health Group, regulations on these kits vary from country to country. For instance, kits in Europe cannot legally contain more than 0.1% peroxide, whereas other countries allow for stronger amounts. Plus, some kits sold over the internet may contain extra ingredients that could be potentially harmful.


Is UV Teeth Whitening Safe? | Colgate® (1)

Colgate® Optic White® Overnight Whitening Pen

A teeth whitening pen with an enamel safe whitening serum formula designed for no tooth sensitivity.

Is UV Teeth Whitening Safe? | Colgate® (2)

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So, to answer the question initially stated about safety, it’s unclear. Therefore you should avoid using UV light kits at home, as the research isn’t definitive enough to say that it’s safe. Medical studies indicate that patients should be informed of the risks associated with tooth whitening and, if using agents a home, instructed for identification of adverse occurrences in order to seek professional help if needed. Supervision of the tooth whitening strategy by an oral healthcare professional will reduce the potential risks and optimize benefits of tooth bleaching.

A potential issue in using UV teeth whitening is that there can be extreme user error, resulting in damage and even burns. The ratio of gel to UV exposure varies from kit to kit, and without the consultation of a dentist, you may not know your threshold for sensitivity. What's more, applying too much gel at one time can result in the gel conducting too much of the heat from the UV light, causing gum burns.

What if I injured myself with an at-home UV whitening kit?

If you’ve experienced any injury from a UV whitening kit, don’t panic—your oral health care provider will know what to do. If you’re injured, contact your oral health care provider immediately, and have the kit on hand to provide any information. From there, they will be able to help determine the best treatment.

Luckily, there are plenty of other safe and effective home whitening methods available—and they don’t break the bank either!

Teeth Whitening Alternatives

If you want to whiten at home, you’ve got options. One is to choose a toothpaste that contains a whitening ingredient, like hydrogen peroxide. You can use a whitening toothpaste every day for continuous whitening that becomes part of your oral care routine—no extra steps required. Whitening strips and pens are other options, though you should consult with your oral care professional to ensure that this is the safest method for your needs. While these methods won’t be as quick as an in-office treatment, you can take comfort in knowing that they’re safe. But before you go ahead and choose an at-home whitening option, talk to your oral care provider first, and together you can determine the best (and safest) method.

The next time you notice an advertisem*nt or celebrity endorsem*nt for a teeth whitening UV light kit, remember to take it with a grain of salt. With the right at-home treatment or even a treatment via your oral care provider, you can get the star power smile without the risk.

Is UV Teeth Whitening Safe? | Colgate® (2024)


Is UV Teeth Whitening Safe? | Colgate®? ›

Colgate® Optic White® Overnight Whitening Pen

Is UV light teeth whitening bad for you? ›

Researchers have found out that the use of UV light for teeth whitening can put you at risk of high levels of radiation. Studies show that using UV light to whiten your teeth is four times more dangerous than sunbathing. It can also cause toothaches, mouth infections, stomach problems, and nerve damage.

What are the side effects of blue light teeth whitening? ›

Generally, using blue LED light in this way is considered safe, following comprehensive in vitro and clinical studies. The only risk associated with this procedure is potentially creating tooth sensitivity or irritation in the treated areas. Overall, using blue light in this way will not have any severe side effects.

How long does UV teeth whitening last? ›

If you opt for an at-home teeth whitening kit, you can generally expect your results to last for about four to six months with touch-ups as needed. However, if you choose to get your teeth professionally whitened at the dentist's office, your results could last up to a year or even longer with proper care.

What is safest teeth whitening? ›

Custom-fitted trays and in-office treatments are the safest and most effective ways to whiten teeth. ADA-approved over-the-counter toothpastes, gels, and strips are more affordable and convenient options.

How often can you use UV teeth whitening? ›

Dentists recommend getting whitening treatment once a year or so for most patients to keep their smiles looking aesthetically pleasing. Whitening teeth too often could cause certain oral health concerns, such as worn-down enamel.

What's better, whitening strips or UV light? ›

Crest 3D Whitestrips can stay on the teeth for 3o minutes for faster results. Although some of these whitening kits include UV lights to “accelerate” the process, studies show that these lights may not be that effective and can possibly damage the teeth.

Do LED lights really whiten teeth? ›

LED lights speed up the tooth-bleaching process by helping the peroxide to break down faster, forming free radicals that whiten the teeth.

Are LED teeth whitening kits safe? ›

Is LED whitening safe? For the most part, it is considered safe. Sensitivity may occur with this type of teeth whitening. Sensitivity is related to the type of gel solution (bleaching agent), strength, and usage.

How can I whiten my teeth naturally? ›

Seven Ways to Naturally Whiten Teeth
  • Eat Strawberries. One of the simplest ways to naturally whiten your teeth is just by eating strawberries. ...
  • Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables. ...
  • Brush After You Eat or Drink. ...
  • Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. ...
  • Apply Coconut Oil. ...
  • Brush Your Tongue. ...
  • Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide.

How much does UV teeth whitening cost? ›

However, prices can range from $350 to $1,200 depending on the dentist, the type of teeth whitening treatment performed, and the severity of the patient's tooth discoloration. This price may also include at-home maintenance and regular follow-up visits.

Is UV better than blue light teeth whitening? ›

Blue light teeth whitening provides a non-invasive technique that is gentle yet effective in removing stains and discolorations. Unlike UV light, which has a reputation for causing damage to the skin and eyes, blue LED light technology is considered safe and has minimal to no side effects.

Do home UV teeth whitening kits work? ›

Although home teeth whitening kits can be effective in whitening teeth, they can only really whiten teeth by a few shades. If you want a drastic change in teeth whiteness (i.e. you have severe teeth staining), home teeth whitening kits may not be enough.

Can yellow teeth become white again? ›

What Can Be Done to Whiten Yellow Teeth? If you're looking for a radical change in the coloring of your teeth, you need professional-grade whitening to get the job done. Your cosmetic dentist can provide treatment that penetrates deep into the enamel and removes years of stains with a powerful bleaching agent.

What is the number 1 recommended teeth whitening? ›

The Crest Whitening Emulsion with LED Light stands out as the best overall teeth whitening product due to its ease of use, effectiveness, and comfort. Its simple, straightforward process, coupled with the ability to carry on with normal activities during treatment, makes it highly convenient and user-friendly.

Who should not whiten their teeth? ›

If you have sensitive teeth, you should let your dentist know. You may not be a candidate for teeth whitening. If you are allergic to peroxide, you will not be able to have your teeth whitened, since peroxide is the active ingredient in whitening systems.

Are LED lights better than UV for teeth whitening? ›

Compared to UV light, LED light is safer but is still as effective. Ultimately, the best teeth whitening method for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are unsure of which method to choose, it is always best to consult with a qualified dentist or dental specialist.

Is LED light bad for teeth whitening? ›

Is LED whitening safe? For the most part, it is considered safe. Sensitivity may occur with this type of teeth whitening. Sensitivity is related to the type of gel solution (bleaching agent), strength, and usage.

Is there a healthy way to whiten teeth? ›

Baking soda is one common household product that can actually pack some teeth-whitening power, according to the ADA. It's a mild abrasive that can help remove stains from the surface of your teeth. An easy way to try baking soda is buying a toothpaste that contains baking soda as a whitening agent.

Does LED light damage teeth? ›

Tooth and gum sensitivity.

Studies show that sensitivity is common after bleaching, especially after LED tooth-whitening procedures. Some people felt more sensitivity of their teeth and gums in the 24 hours following the procedure. If you have sensitive teeth, LED tooth whitening may not be for you.

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