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Our smile is an important part of who we are. It is the first thing people notice when we meet. Therefore more people want a white, bright smile to feel good about themselves. Teeth whitening products have become very popular including teeth whitening strips. But are they safe to use? New studies reveal they may not be safe.

Our teeth are not all uniformly white and vary from individual to individual naturally. The reality is most teeth are different hues and shades and many tend towards the yellow spectrum. In the western world, we want uniform white teeth. It has become a symbol of beauty for many. It is believed somewhere around 40 million people in the USA alone used teeth whitening products in 2018. This shows teeth whitening popularity in just the United States. Cosmetic dentists are uniquely prepared to give patients the smile they want. However, many may choose to use over the counter products like teeth whitening strips.

Dangers Of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening gels contain an active teeth whitening ingredient (usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) that has the ability to penetrate your enamel to get to discolored molecules. Oxygen molecules from the whitening agents mix and react with the discolored molecules in your teeth, breaking the bonds that hold them together. The oxygen molecules spread, whitening the entire surface of the tooth. As a result, you are left with a brighter, whiter smile.

Numerous studies have shown that teeth whitening with bleaching products that contain hydrogen peroxide can possibly cause damage to our teeth. These studies specifically looked at how teeth whitening strips, which people can buy at local pharmacies, damage one of the teeth’s three layers.

Teeth whitening strips generally contain hydrogen peroxide as the main active whitening ingredient. This substance is an oxidizing agent that can be used as a sterilizer, although more people may know it as a color-lightening agent. This is also what is used to bleach hair. If a person were to overuse this product or use too much to lighten hair color, it can cause “significant damage” to the scalp and hair.

Researchers have discovered how hydrogen peroxide damages dentin (layer just below the enamel of our teeth). A human tooth contains three (3) different layers: external enamel layer, a dentin layer in the middle, and an inner layer that is mainly connective tissue, which helps maintain the tooth’s position in the mouth.

 Hydrogen peroxide can go right through the enamel and penetrate the dentin, which contains about 90–95 percent of the protein collagen.The research team found that the collagen present in dentin becomes fragmented when exposed to hydrogen peroxide, which leads to the loss of collagen mass in the dentin layer. The scientists are unsure at this time whether this damage is permanent or if there is any way of reversing it. In future research, the researchers also plan to find out whether hydrogen peroxide affects not just collagen, but also other proteins that dentin contains.

Teeth Whitening Strips Conclusion

The main takeaway from this research is to use these products in moderation and under the supervision of a well trained cosmetic dentist. This will ensure you get the smile you want and desrve and also maintain a healthy smile that looks good!

© 2019, Marielaina Perrone DDS. All rights reserved. Henderson Cosmetic Dentist

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