teeth whitening

At some pint of your lifetime, teeth will inevitably lose its color and shine. The reasons are varied and are at times unavoidable too. Will it be possible for you to refrain yourself from drinking tea, coffee, wine, sauces, berries, dark chocolates etc.? It is in fact practically not feasible to avoid all these foods throughout your life. ‘Age’ is another factor that contributes to gradually turning your teeth yellowish.

The popularity of teeth whitening has therefore gained momentum over the years and is still continuing to do so. Whitening methods available today are numerous in number, ranging from home-made ones to over-the-counter kits to professional bleaching service. Therefore, the decision making is crucial as to which procedure to opt for. There are several factors to be taken into consideration for this, such as:

  • What percentage of the bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide) is being used
  • The amount of time that is required to be invested in order to get the desired results
  • Whether you want to use chemicals on your teeth or go for natural remedies
  • If you can manage time out of work for professional treatments in your dentist’s office

The decision regarding which method to go for truly proves to be tough at times. Apart from time constraints, many are concerned with the side effects of bleaching agents on their teeth. Therefore, in this post, we have made an attempt to elucidate the effects of using the over-the-counter whitening strips on your teeth.

Are whitening strips safe for your oral health?

According to some latest research, the use of these strips has an adverse effect on your teeth. How?

✓ Your teeth are made of three layers:

✓ The outer white enamel layer

✓ The underlying dentin layer that is composed of proteins (namely collagen)

And finally, the pulp in the center. It harbors the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that bind the tooth to our gums.

According to the latest research, the hydrogen peroxide that serves as the active bleaching ingredient in whitening products could be affect the protein-rich dentin layer. The study was conducted by Kelly Keenan, an associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University.

The study…

Human teeth was extracted from cadavers and subjected to whitening strips. The manufacturer instructions were clearly followed and accordingly the strips were left in place for an hour. After this the level of collagen and other proteins present in the dentin of the teeth were tracked. It was found that, as compared to untreated teeth, the level of collagen and proteins were much more fragmented. Even, teeth that had undergone whitening through strips thrice, had still fragmented levels of proteins.

One drawback of the study remains in the fact that those were extracted teeth. Functional human teeth may react differently as they will not be dehydrated or demineralized as the extracted ones. In fact, repeated teeth whitening may give rise to issues like gum irritation, increased tooth sensitivity and such other issues. Hence, although the process has been recommended as safe by the ADA (American Dental Association), you are at best advised to be extra cautious about the overuse of strips.

Go for the safer ones

Since teeth whitening is the most commonly requested service in the dental industry, its ill-effects are not quite evident or proven. Therefore, you may use whitening strips but do use ones with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. This ensures that the product has been evaluated by an independent panel of dentists.

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