Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Carbamide Peroxide – What’s the difference?

Q: What is used in teeth whitening gel?

A: Teeth whitening products mainly have the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.  Carbamide peroxide however is hydrogen peroxide which is combined with a stabiliser called urea.  Hydrogen peroxide is the most popular product for use in cosmetic teeth whitening due to its fast effective results.

Q: What is the difference between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide?

A: Both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are effective teeth whitening ingredients. Carbamide peroxide is a more complex and stable product and has about 1/3 the strength of hydrogen peroxide. Put simply, 18% carbamide peroxide has about the same strength as 6% hydrogen peroxide. The other difference is that hydrogen peroxide works faster which makes it a popular choice with most clinics and salons.

Q: Does carbamide peroxide have a longer shelf life than hydrogen peroxide?

A: Products with carbamide peroxide have a slightly longer shelf life than those with hydrogen peroxide however the difference is very slight.  Both products must be refrigerated to prevent loss of potency.  The higher temperature peroxide is stored at the faster it will become less effective.

Q: Which works better?

A: Both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide generate teeth whitening results. There are no conclusive studies showing one whitens better than the other however hydrogen peroxide offers more direct delivery and is faster acting.  As the client salivates during the treatment the faster the product the better as its whitening power works faster.

Q: How long does a treatment take?

A: Hydrogen peroxide treatments are generally done in 15-20 minute sessions while carbamide peroxide treatments are 20-25 minute sessions.

Q: Does hydrogen peroxide cause more teeth sensitivity than carbamide peroxide?

A: Generally speaking at levels of 6%HP and 18%CP tooth sensitivity is rare with both products when applied correctly.

Q: Which ingredients give longer lasting results?

A: The time teeth whitening will last depends on diet and lifestyle not the products used.  Teeth will gradually restain with food, beverages and smoking.