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DENTAL HEALTH

Are at-home teeth-whitening products safe to use all the time?

We all want a whiter, brighter smile. But is it possible to overdo it?

We recently received this question from a viewer:

Dear Dr. Manny,
How often is too often to use at-home teeth whitening systems?
Thanks,
Jessica

Peroxide is the key ingredient in most at-home whitening products. It’s generally considered safe, and works by forming bubbles on the enamel that lift away stains. Manufacturers say the most common side effect is tooth sensitivity, but experts have differing opinions when it comes to whitening your teeth at home.

“Consumers have access to lots of over-the-counter teeth whitening products that can damage your teeth,” Dr. Gerry Curatola of Rejuvenation Dentistry in New York City told FoxNews.com. “Some of these products use too high a concentration of the bleaching agent, which is generally a form of hydrogen peroxide.”

Additionally, some at-home teeth-whitening products can be acidic— if their delivery systems malfunction, they can cause damage to the soft tissue in the mouth like the gums, tongue or throat.   When used frequently, Curatola said, these products can also cause damage to the mineralization and enamel of your teeth.

If you notice a fluorescent blue hue to your teeth, that can be a sign of over-whitening, Curatola noted.

People who are constantly whitening their teeth with at-home products are actually referred to as “bleachorexics,” or “bleachaholic,” he added.

“You should only whiten your teeth for a short period of time – less than a week, and it should be done not more than 2 to 3 months at a time,” Curatola said. “For the right type of system, I really recommend consulting your dentist, or doing this process under a dentist’s supervision.”

Do you have a health question for Dr. Manny? Send it to DrManny@foxnews.com.