Is teeth whitening harmful?
There are many teeth whitening methods in modern dentistry and cosmetic industry. In this article we will look at some of the most common teeth whitening tools and methods to determine the potential oral health risks that each of them might have.
In-office teeth whitening
is performed by systems containing mostly hydrogen peroxide in various concentrations. It is activated chemically, by laser or UV light and decomposes to water and oxygen radicals. The oxygen radicals penetrate into the tooth and retrieve the molecules of the accumulated pigments.
Although the procedure is performed by a professional, it may lead to hypersensitivity of the teeth, gum irritation and enamel damage. There are much more serious concerns, as well, that the released during the process, free radicals can interact negatively with our DNA.
At-home whitening supervised by a dentist
Adaptable or customized braces are used for the procedure. They must be placed on the teeth for a few hours, immediately after they are filled with bleaching gel. The active compounds are usually the same as those used in the dentist's office, but their concentration is much lower.
We would conclude that the method is much safer, but we won't be quite right, as we need to consider the fact that our teeth will be in contact with the bleaching agents much longer. There is also a risk of further inflammation of the gums if the preparation leaks out of the braces.
Some toothpastes rely on the already known hydrogen peroxide, while others have quite different principle of operation. It is in the mechanical removal of the aesthetics stainingof the teeth surface with the help of polishing agents.
The toothpastes containing highly abrasive particles create risks of gum stripping and permanent hypersensitivity, as well as abrasion and thinning of the enamel, to the extent that the dentine underneath becomes visible. Since dentin is not white, with similar products we actually achieve an effect that is opposite to the desired one.
There are, however, whitening toothpastes, whose polishing micro-particles have a hardness much lower than that of the tooth enamel. They remove only the coloring debris (of food, drinks, tobacco, drugs) on the tooth surface, without being able to damage it. This turns them into the safest solution for restoring the whiteness of teeth.The enrichment of the cleaning formula with ingredients that form a protective shell around the tooth makes them also one of the best tools for maintaining the natural whiteness.