8 Teeth Whitening Ingredients to Avoid

Written by Dr. Brian Harris

September 13, 2023

A radiant smile is more than just aesthetic appeal; it's a confidence booster. But to preserve this charm, we must think carefully about which teeth-whitening ingredients to avoid. After all, not everything that glitters is gold, and not all teeth whitening products ensure a safe, lasting brightness. In this guide, we'll reveal eight surprising teeth whitening ingredients that you should run a mile from. 

What this article covers:

Why Do Teeth Discolor?

Understanding why our pearly whites might lose their luster is essential before we explore safe teeth whitening methods. Common culprits behind tooth discoloration are our daily coffee habit, a penchant for red wine, or nicotine intake. Aging and certain medications can also affect your tooth color.

While using teeth whitening products might seem like the obvious solution, some may carry risks. For instance, overexposure to LED lights, a common feature in many whitening kits, might cause tooth discomfort. As indicated by our tests, potential teeth whitening led light side effects include gum irritation and increased tooth sensitivity.

Overdoing it with the wrong products can lead to too much teeth whitening, causing enamel damage and gum inflammation. It's not about how often you whiten your teeth; it's about the teeth-whitening ingredients you use.

8 Harmful Teeth Whitening Ingredients to Avoid

Navigating the world of teeth whitening can be like walking through a minefield. With so many ingredients listed on product labels, knowing what's a gem and what's a dud is essential. Here, we'll uncover 8 of the most harmful ingredients to avoid in your quest for a brighter smile.

1. Chlorine Dioxide: The Disguised Villain

Imagine sipping a glass of pool water to whiten your teeth. Sounds unpleasant, right? Well, chlorine dioxide, commonly used for water purification, is found in some teeth-whitening products. It's a powerful oxidizer that can strip away your tooth enamel, the protective layer of your teeth. Our research indicates that this leads to increased sensitivity and a higher risk of tooth decay.

harmful teeth whitening ingredients

2. Hydrogen Peroxide: A Double-edged Sword

Hydrogen peroxide is like that spicy dish that tastes oh-so-good but gives you heartburn. While it can effectively whiten teeth, high concentrations can lead to gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.

Using hydrogen peroxide is a major con when evaluating LED teeth whitening pros and cons. This ingredient brings to light the teeth-whitening risks we should all be wary of.

3. Alcohol: The Silent Drier

Alcohol can often leave your mouth feeling drier than a desert in the summer. It zaps away the moisture in your mouth, leading to bad breath and an increased buildup of bacteria. When you're considering the pros and cons of laser teeth whitening, remember that alcohol can intensify the drying effect of the laser used in your whitening treatment and negatively impact your oral health.

4. Sodium Chlorite: The Enamel Eroder

Yes, this ingredient might sound harmless, but don't let its gentle-sounding name fool you. Sodium Chlorite can damage tooth enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and even permanent enamel loss. When it comes to the best teeth whitening gel for sensitive teeth, products with sodium chlorite are best left on the store shelf.

5. DIY Teeth Whitening Fads

You've probably seen the DIY aluminum foil teeth whitening hack making rounds on the internet. It claims to give you quick results, but in reality, it's more of a faux pas than a ‘eureka!' moment. Aluminum foil can lead to uneven whitening and potential enamel damage when used in this way.

6. Carbamide Peroxide: The Stealthy Irritant

Carbamide peroxide is another common teeth-whitening ingredient that you might want to side-eye. While it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth, it's more potent than the latter and can cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.

dangerous teeth whitening components

But fear not; we've found the perfect solution: DIY teeth whitening. It doesn't contain carbamide peroxide but uses a proprietary, sensitivity-free formula to ensure a painless whitening experience.

7. Ammonium Hydroxide: The Hidden Hazard

Ammonium Hydroxide might not ring a bell, but it's a potentially harmful ingredient found in some teeth-whitening solutions. This caustic compound can erode enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity and even tooth damage. So, next time you reach for a teeth whitening solution, take a moment to read the label very carefully.

If Ammonium Hydroxide is listed, it might be best to put it back on the shelf. Instead, reach for some whitening teeth strips. Based on our observations, they're formulated without Ammonium Hydroxide, making them a safer option for achieving that bright, dazzling smile.

8. Parabens: The Unwanted Preservatives

Parabens are often used as preservatives in many personal care products, including some teeth-whitening solutions. However, they've been linked to various health concerns, prompting most folk to look for paraben-free options.

When it comes to gargling, this whitening mouthwash is an excellent paraben-free choice. It's carefully formulated to whiten your teeth, freshen your breath, and promote overall oral health. You can also check out teeth whitening for aligners and teeth whitening powder for gradual and gentler, paraben-free approaches to whitening.

Remember, not everything that glitters is gold, and not every teeth whitening solution is safe, like idly wondering, ‘Does purple dye whiten teeth?'. You can make smarter decisions for your oral health and overall well-being by staying informed and avoiding over-hyped whitening trends.

ingredients to avoid in teeth whitening products


Remember, the journey to a whiter, brighter smile doesn't have to be risky or uncomfortable. By avoiding harmful ingredients and choosing safe, effective alternatives like the ones offered by SNOW, you can enjoy the benefits of teeth whitening without the worry.

We have the proper dental expertise and the best products to help you achieve that gleaming, confidence-boosting smile you desire. So, don't waste another second and try out our stellar whitening solutions for yourself!

Did you find the blog beneficial? If so, consider exploring our other guides.