The desire for a whiter smile is very common, and many products seek to satisfy that need. In fact, whitening toothpaste, strips, gum, and other similar products have grown into an 11 billion dollar industry. While these products offer an affordable way to enhance your smile, recent studies have shown that they damage the protein layer that lies beneath the enamel of your teeth. Learn more about what was covered in the study and how damaging these products are.
How Do Whitening Products Work?
When your teeth become stained, those stains show up in the enamel, which is the outer protective layer that covers each tooth. The products that whiten your smile work in one of two ways: The first is that they contain peroxide which has a deep whitening effect on your teeth.
Alternatively, non-bleaching whitening products use either physical or chemical abrasion to remove stains and whiten the teeth. Ultimately, these over the counter whitening products are inexpensive, easy to use, and are capable of producing noticeable results within weeks.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Dentists like Dr. Edward Hobbs of Longview, TX provide professional whitening treatments which are much stronger than the over the counter versions. Many of these professional whitening products also contain hydrogen peroxide, and it’s widely known that the greater the amount of peroxide, the more powerful the whitening effect. While home whitening products contain about 10% hydrogen peroxide, professional treatments typically have 25-40%.
New Studies Show the Harm Caused By Whitening Products
According to three new studies, the key ingredient in whitening strips, hydrogen peroxide, has been shown to damage the protein-rich dentin tissue of the teeth.
In a study led by Dr. Kelly Keenan, when collagen in the dentin layer was exposed to hydrogen peroxide, the dentin became fragmented, showing that it was breaking the proteins apart.
“Our results showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide concentrations similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear, which is presumably due to the formation of many smaller fragments,” said Keenan.
One Thing Remains Unknown
Although the studies proved that hydrogen peroxide found in whitening products breaks up the collagen in the dentin layer of your teeth, it’s not known whether this protein can be regenerated or not. When enamel is eroded, dentists like Dr. Anthony Dailley can do a bonding procedure to protect the teeth, but whether the inner protein-rich dentin can be restored remains to be seen.
Common Professional Whitening Options
Until the extent of permanent damage caused by peroxide is known, the dental community still ensures patients that their enamel and gums sustain no damage from whitening treatments. These cosmetic treatments are extremely popular and include brands like Zoom!, KOR, and GLO. Many offer both an in-office option as well as a take-home tray that allows you to whiten your teeth in the convenience of your own home.
Nite White® and BriteSmile®
A dentist with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Roman Shlafer, offers two highly effective treatments to whiten your smile. Both use a patented carbamide peroxide formula that’s either left on the teeth or activated with a special light. Ultimately, all of these professional whitening treatments are powerful and capable of whitening your teeth by up to ten shades.
Understanding the Risk Involved in Whitening Treatments
From driving your car each day to having a few drinks to celebrate with friends, many things we do in life involve risk. While this new evidence shows that whitening treatments may damage the dentin layer that lies beneath our enamel, they still may be worth the risk to patients with stained or chronically yellow teeth. Understanding the facts helps us make informed decisions so we can assess the risks that are worth it and those that aren’t.