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Do it your self-whitening kits are a popular choice right now; everyone wants that perfect white bright smile. These kits are often a lower cost option than veneers or the in-surgery professional whitening option and are more suited for those who wish to whiten their teeth in the comfort of your own home when you have the free time available. So, knowing exactly how whitening your teeth might lead to gum irritation or burnt gums is important. Here are some tips on how to recognize symptoms of gum irritation and how to soothe your gums. Better yet, how to prevent burning your gums.

If you’ve ever burned the inside of your mouth with your morning coffee, you know that irritating the soft tissue in your mouth is not fun. Hot foods and drinks aren’t the only things that can burn or irritate your soft tissue and gums. If care is not taken, you can damage your gum tissue while whitening your teeth.


What Causes Gum Irritation During Teeth Whitening?

Do it your self-whitening products you can purchase include toothpaste and products with bleaching agents, such as whitening strips, gels, rinses, pens, and gel trays.

The whitening toothpastes contain little or no bleaching agents but helps brighten your teeth by scrubbing away stains. These kinds of toothpaste are less likely to irritate or burn the gums if they have no hydrogen peroxide. They can though, Cause irritation if you brush too hard. These tooth pastes are also not designed for long term use as they can scrub away your tooth protective enamel. It is important to use as directed, usually these pastes are for use no longer then 10-14 days.

Tooth whitening products with bleaching agents usually contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Gum irritation is one of two common problems when using teeth whiteners with a higher concentration of bleaching agents. (Tooth sensitivity is the other problem.) Besides feeling a chemical burn, you may also recognize gum irritation during the process, your gums may develop white spots and become inflamed.



What You Can Do to Soothe Your Gums

If you start feeling the above symptoms, stop the treatment and remove the tray or the whitening product. Don’t wait until the burning gets worse!

Then, rinse your mouth with room temp salt water. This will help swish away any lingering bleaching product and sooth the irritation. As long as you stop the bleaching treatment quickly, the good news is that gum irritation usually resolves on its own after a few days. Carry on the Saltwater rinses to relieve discomfort during recovery.

If your burns seem severe, become inflamed, or cause you concern in any way, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist’s office. By looking at the injury, your dental professional can tell you if home care will be enough to treat the injury or if there are other options to relieve your injured gums.


How to Prevent Burned Gums from Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is generally safe, as long as you take a few precautions. Remember to:

  • Read: Review all product directions carefully – and then follow them exactly as written.
  • Wipe: If the whitening agent comes anywhere near your gums, wipe it off immediately with a soft, damp swab. This typically happens when using a one-size-fits-all, ill-fitting gel tray or applying too much gel.
  • Pay Attention: It’s worth emphasizing to keep the whitening agent on no longer than the manufacturer recommends. And rinse it off if at any time you feel discomfort.
  • Heal: Give your gums a break. If you had to cut short your teeth whitening time because of gum irritation, please don’t start the whitening process again until a few days after your gums have fully recovered.

You may also find non-peroxide whitening products on the market. Some are marketed as containing only natural ingredients. These products might have their own side effects, including gum irritation, so read the ingredients and directions with care.

Though do it yourself teeth whiteners contain much lower bleaching agent concentrations than products used in your dentist’s office, you might consider professional tooth whitening. In a dental office, you’re in a controlled setting with dental professionals taking every precaution to protect your teeth and gums. And they can monitor any irritation situation. Because of this the dentist is able to use a higher strength whitening solution, which can give more dramatic results in a much shorter period.

If you have no time for professional teeth whitening, at least ask your dentist for a custom-fitted gel tray to use at home. Custom trays can help prevent over flow of the bleaching product. The dentist can also show you how to use the bleach and trays correctly.

When whitening your teeth, be sure to take these preventive measures so when you smile, your teeth dazzle, and your gums look pink and healthy. If you have any further enquires about whitening at home or professionally, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your Lower Hutt Dentists are happy to offer advice.


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