What is Carbamide Peroxide?

What is Carbamide Peroxide?

There are a variety of active ingredients to whiten teeth: from sodium fluoride to hydrogen peroxide and even carbamide peroxide. While less known than other ingredients, carbamide peroxide is gaining popularity in the teeth whitening space as more studies observe its efficacy at whitening enamel. Carbamide peroxide is a solution formed from urea and hydrogen peroxide. This water-soluble compound has many applications, from sanitizing to earwax removal, treatment of ear infections, and even teeth whitening.

How Does Carbamide Peroxide Work?

Carbamide peroxide is composed of hydrogen peroxide and urea. The urea helps disinfect, while hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent that breaks down discolored molecules on the enamel. While this substance doesn’t bleach teeth, it dissolves stains on the teeth to help brighten your smile.

Since carbamide peroxide is only partially made of hydrogen peroxide, it doesn’t oxidize as powerfully as pure hydrogen peroxide. On the other hand, carbamide peroxide doesn’t break down as quickly as pure hydrogen peroxide. As a result, hydrogen peroxide releases most of its whitening power within the first half-hour to an hour of use, while carbamide peroxide can continue to release whitening power for up to 8 hours. For this reason, carbamide peroxide is an excellent ingredient to consider for overnight whitening treatments.

Dosing of carbamide peroxide is typically higher than at-home concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, as it has a 1:3 ratio of hydrogen peroxide. Typical doses of carbamide peroxide gel are 10% carbamide peroxide which equates to 3.6% hydrogen peroxide, or 16% carbamide peroxide, which equates to 5.7% hydrogen peroxide. This formula can be applied for 1-2 hours a day up to overnight, if no sensitivity arises.

Usually, carbamide peroxide is utilized in gel form with a whitening tray. The tray allows the whitening gel to coat the teeth for longer, sink deper into the enamel and work better. In addition to gels, a carbamide peroxide formula is also available in strip form. For even greater whitening power, carbamide peroxide could be combined with a lighted whitening device  which will accelerate the oxidization of hydrogen peroxide and speed up whitening.

Is Carbamide Peroxide Safe for Teeth Whitening?

Carbamide peroxide is generally considered safe. Since this compound breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, it is safe to swallow and usually does not cause harm. However, it is crucial always to use the correct dosage and application of carbamide peroxide to prevent side effects. If you’re unsure where to start with whitening, consider discussing with your doctor before using a carbamide peroxide whitening gel.

Like most whitening treatments, carbamide peroxide carries the risk of tooth sensitivity, enamel damage, and uneven coloration of the enamel. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue the use of your whitening treatment and monitor your side effects. If they do not go away over time, consult with your dentist.

Hydrogen Peroxide VS Carbamide Peroxide for Teeth Whitening

Hydrogen peroxide is considered the best way to whiten teeth. However, carbamide peroxide contains hydrogen peroxide and is gaining popularity. Let’s consider how these whitening solutions are similar and how they are different.

-Safety and Side Effects: Both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are considered very safe when used correctly. Neither have been shown to cause serious damage.
            -Effectiveness: Hydrogen peroxide is more effective than carbamide peroxide, as it is more pure, and highly concentrated than carbamide peroxide which is essentially a diluted solution that contains hydrogen peroxide. This being the case, in order to get the same results, you will need to use a higher concentration of carbamide peroxide or apply it for a longer time than hydrogen peroxide.

-Ease of Use: Hydrogen peroxide whitens quickly, making it slightly easier to use than carbamide peroxide. Both are fairly straightforward to use. You should also consider that hydrogen peroxide has been widely used for longer and therefor is more available both in the dental office and in at-home treatments.

Conclusion

Carbamide peroxide is a compound of hydrogen peroxide and urea which has a variety of uses for sanitization and whitening. This ingredient is often found in teeth whitening gels, but must be used in higher concentrations to yield the same results as pure hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide is effective and widely considered safe, but not as effective or common as hydrogen peroxide. If you’re looking for a way to brighten your smile and whiten your teeth, you may want to consider a dentist-formulated whitening gel like that available from GLO Science, which is made of clean ingredients and is sensitivity-free.