Some people like to know what goes into their bodies. If you are such a person, then you will want to know the composition of teeth whitening agents before bleaching your teeth. Below is an overview of some of the major ingredients in these bleaching products.

Active Ingredient

The active ingredient is the substance that gets rids of the stains to whiten your teeth. Current teeth whitening products have either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient. It is the peroxide part of the compound that does the actual bleaching. At-home bleaching products contain lower concentrations (not more than 20%) of peroxide than in-office bleaching products (the concentration can be as high as 43%).

Thickening Agent

It is not easy to apply either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxides directly to the teeth in their native states. The bleaching agent needs to adhere to and stay on the teeth for some minutes so that it can soak into the enamel and whiten the teeth. For this reason, bleaching products have thickening agents, usually the chemical carbopol. The thickener increases the viscosity of the bleaching product so that it can stay on the teeth for a considerable time.


Dental bleaching products also contain carriers, such as glycerin, for dissolving the other ingredients. The carrier dissolves and 'carries' the rest of the ingredients for accurate delivery. Glycerin is commonly used as a carrier for this purpose. 


Most chemical compounds deteriorate with time. Contamination from microbiological agents can accelerate the deterioration and cause decay of bleaching products. As a result, preservatives are usually added to bleaching products to stabilize the chemical compounds and keep microbes away. That way, your dental bleach doesn't go bad a few days after purchase.


Since dental bleach goes into the mouth, manufacturers also add some flavoring to make their products more acceptable. The goal is not to make the bleaching products sweet. The added flavoring is just enough to deal with the chemical taste that would otherwise turn some people away from the products.

Desensitizing Agent

Dental sensitivity, (for example, hot or cold foods and drinks) is a common side effect of teeth whitening. The hypersensitivity is triggered by the increased porosity of the enamel during bleaching. For this reason, manufacturers of bleaching add desensitizing agents (such as fluoride) to reduce the sensitivity.

Note that you can either bleach your teeth at home or the dentist office. Whichever route you choose, however, it's a good idea to consult the dentist before taking the plunge. Contact a clinic, like The Smile Architects, to learn more.