How Teeth Whitening Works

Martin Urban DDS
2 min readJan 27, 2022

Teeth whitening is the process of using a chemical or light-based method to remove stains on the teeth, teeth, enamel, and gums. The original intent of teeth whitening was to give older people more youthful-looking teeth before entering nursing homes or institutions.

The primary type of teeth whitening is bleaching with hydrogen peroxide. This process will cause oxidation to occur as it increases concentration over time. This will cause the teeth to become more porous and therefore more sensitive.

The purpose of teeth whitening is to lighten the tooth enamel by removing the discoloration when white stains on the teeth are exposed to oxygen.

In this process, teeth are bleached with hydrogen peroxide, a mild acid (H3O+), and play an important role in maintaining good oral health.

This bleaching process causes the oxidation of the white stains on teeth, which breaks up the stains and removes them from your teeth. The oxygen in the environment continues to bleach your teeth until all of the stains are removed.

After bleaching, the oxygen that remains on your teeth is neutralized through an acid-neutralizing agent or through saliva. The acidity of hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous if it stays on your teeth for too long and is not neutralized. The acidity helps to keep the bleaching chemicals off your teeth and away from the sensitive tissue of your gums.

The process of teeth whitening is necessary because the stains on your teeth weaken the enamel seal and can cause your teeth to become sensitive. Sensitive teeth are more prone to cavities and dental decay.

Whitening tooth enamel will prevent these problems from occurring as it strengthens the tooth’s delicate protective coating.

In order to whiten bleaching tooth enamel, hydrogen peroxide is also used in a gel form that is applied under high pressure to teeth. It is recommendable to apply the gel in one session and regularly whiten your teeth as a part of regular dental visits.

The idea behind teeth whitening is to brighten the color of your teeth. With the proper care or attention, your naturally white teeth will be restored back to their natural color, and they will be perfected by modern technology.

The primary benefit of teeth whitening is that it lightens the appearance of your teeth, which can make a person look younger. However, people should be aware that bleaching with hydrogen peroxide can weaken enamel and cause sensitivity to sensitive teeth. It is important that people understand this process before they start using this method of whitening.

This could potentially lead to a negative experience of using hydrogen peroxide on their teeth, which could be avoided if they were aware of the effects it could have on their teeth.

Originally published at on January 27, 2022.



Martin Urban DDS

Martin Urban, DDS, is a dentist working in the state of Massachusetts where he has developed a career over the past 20 years. Read more at