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Can Tanning Beds Whiten Your Teeth? #Explained In Detail

can tanning beds whiten your teeth

Can tanning beds whiten your teeth? We can all admit that tanning beds can definitely do wonders for our skin. However, there has been some confusion in terms of its other effects. While it has been proven that tanning beds can also lighten hair, they cannot whiten your teeth. At least, not on its own.

Tanning beds work by exposing our skin to artificial UV or ultraviolet radiation. Typical tanning beds can emit around 95% of UVA and only 5% of UVB, which is helpful because UVB is carcinogenic and harmful to customers.

Consequently, teeth whitening kits now have activated ultraviolet radiation, similar to those from tanning beds. These UV rays can, when mixed with teeth whitening gels, make your smile a lot brighter. 

Why Do My Teeth Appear Whiter After Tanning?

Getting darker skin contrasts your teeth’ original color. So, if your skin becomes a few shades darker, your teeth instantly appear whiter without actually changing. The concept is no different than how an artist or designer would put it.

It is more of an illusion rather than a science-based fact. However, you can get whiter teeth while getting a tan if you add a teeth-whitening program to your regime. Remember the whitening kits we mentioned earlier? Many salons offer them a good tanning session.

These two procedures are two independent events. That means that getting in a tanning bed designed to give your darker skin, will not automatically make your teeth cleaner or whiter than it initially was.

However, salons do have individual teeth whitening kits that you can use while in a tanning bed. The process is also similar because it uses UV to activate the necessary whitening ingredients.

Advanced Tanning Beds That Whiten Teeth

UV radiation teeth whitening kits sound interesting enough, right? It is easy to understand that teeth whitening and skin tanning are two different events. However, according to Kristeen Moore, recent innovations have led to the creation of tanning beds that can also whiten teeth. 

These advanced kinds of tanning beds use a stronger ingredient named carbamide peroxide. The reason behind a different chemical is to induce a more substantial bleaching effect. It works similar to the individual whitening kits, wherein you would need to apply the gel beforehand.

Afterward, the UV exposure from the tanning bed activates the whitening process. It also comes with a mouthpiece to keep your mouth open during the procedure. Unfortunately, this tanning bed is not widely available or as accessible as regular tanning beds.

You will find that it is easier to get a teeth whitening kit on its own and book a standard tanning session than find a salon that actually offers both. The tanning and teeth whitening programs combined can be pretty pricey too.

Teeth Whitening Kits

Tanning and teeth whitening are two entirely different processes that do not affect each other. However, you can achieve both of them at the same time. Dental clinics can now offer what we know as a teeth whitening kit. 

You can use them while lying in a tanning bed. It usually comes with a hydrogen peroxide-based whitening gel. The chemicals interact with your teeth and induce a deep cleaning action or bleaching effect activated by UV rays.

The mouthpiece activates ultraviolet rays and puts your mouth at a higher temperature. Once you expose the chemical to UV rays, it starts the bleaching or whitening process, and you can expect that it makes your teeth a lot brighter.

Effects of UV Rays

In terms of skin tanning, UV rays also pose a high risk of skin cancer, especially if you are sensitive to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation. Teeth whitening kits can also be dangerous for people with sensitive teeth.

Most dental associations do not recommend at-home UV light kits because not everyone is aware of the health risks. However, it is still best to check with your dentist before preceding any teeth-whitening process that involves strong chemicals.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, overexposure can lead to skin cancer, premature aging, eye damage, and others. It can also cause severe eye and skin damage if you do not follow the proper safety protocols.

FDA considers tanning beds and similar UV radiation as safe, as long as it is regulated. However, prolonged exposure or overexposure to these types of light can still lead to severe problems. You should also wear improper skin, hair, and eye protection during the process.

Breaking It Down Further

To start, let’s explain the science behind tanning beds. First, we know that these huge machines are designed to produce artificial UV rays. These oxidize the melanin found in our skin, which gives it a darkening effect.

Many people prefer tanning beds over other skin-darkening methods because it is relatively safe and convenient. However, it is crucial to note that exposure to artificial UV radiation is no safer than natural ultraviolet rays from the sun.

However, tanning beds can help you control the amount of exposure you receive. It is pretty helpful for people with sensitive skin. For example, tanning beds help pale or ivory-skinned people achieve a darker tan under controlled conditions. 

Going to a tanning salon has become a common practice for many people who wish to achieve a bronzed complexion. However, recent innovations claim that the same tanning beds they have been using for years can also induce other effects.

But to answer our initial question frankly, tanning beds on their own cannot whiten your teeth in the same way that it darkens your skin. So if you think smiling or opening your mouth during an indoor tanning session is going to give you an instantly white smile, just don’t.

can tanning beds whiten your teeth


Overall, ultraviolet or UV rays have a ton of implications in today’s society. For example, we can use it to get a beautiful bronze glow or whiter teeth. Just make sure that you know the difference between two entirely different processes.

It is crucial to observe proper safety tips and protocols to protect yourself from overexposure. If it helps, getting a regular tan can make your teeth appear significantly whiter without actually changing their color. 

As we said, it creates a type of illusion wherein a darker complexion makes the teeth look whiter compared to when you had paler skin. However, you can always invest in tanning salons that have specialized tanning beds for both processes.

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