The Grapevine

Teeth Whitening Strips Dangers: What You Need To Know

Beauty standards perpetuated by advertisements featuring airbrushed women with sparkling white teeth tend to needle women’s insecurities. This nagging feeling urges them to opt for either the chemical teeth whitening process at the dentist’s office or DIY whitening strips. Considering our busy lifestyles, the latter seems more doable.  Also, it’s an easy way to fix yellow teeth brought on by smoking and drinking coffee. 

The dangers involved in the artificial teeth whitening process are plenty, especially when done at home by purchasing the strips online or over-the-counter. These products have lesser hydrogen peroxide than the ones used by dentists. It is important to follow the directions on the label. Apply these strips to your teeth strictly as many times as recommended by the manufacturer since many varieties are out there. 

A research project completed in 2019 by Stockton University in New Jersey analyzed the effect of hydrogen peroxide on the dentin layer of the tooth, found below the enamel. Previously, research had studied how teeth whitening had negatively impacted the enamel only. But newer research is  going further and looking into the slow distingeration of dentin part of the tooth made up of collagen. This particular study attempted to figure out how exactly this happens.  

“The number one takeaway is that collagen seems especially susceptible to hydrogen peroxide. And while collagen can be replaced provided that the pulp is healthy, it is a slow process,” Kelly Keenan, Ph.D., associate professor of various sciences at Stockton University, said. It was found that hydrogen peroxide splits the collagen into smaller pieces, eventually lowering and depleting the necessary nutrient from the teeth.  

Which OTC Teeth Whitening Solution Is Best, And Are Any Of Them Truly Safe? Walk down the toothpaste section of your local drugstore and you’re bound to be bombarded with countless products claiming to make your pearly whites whiter. But with so many products to choose from, you may be wondering which work the best and if these over-the-counter solutions are even safe. Researchers at Stockton University in New Jersey studied the effect of hydrogen peroxide on the dentin area in the teeth made up of the collagen protein. Youtube

Another study published this year in the British Dental Journal highlighted three other over-the-counter teeth whitening materials, in which sodium chlorite was found to be the active ingredient. Side effects were noted. The teeth lose strength and become softer, and increase the likelihood of dental abrasions. 

The British Dental Association (BDA) warned the public that the teeth whitening product companies are not transparent about the chemicals present, despite their claims. The Association had seized DIY teeth whitening kits, which contained more than 33 percent of hydrogen peroxide, exceeding the limit allowed for such products. The presence of a dentist is needed to determine the levels of hydrogen peroxide to be administered and making the choice for yourself is not safe. 

Otherwise, there are other side effects too, such as eradication of the tooth enamel, damage to the gums in the form of blisters or burns, damage to the nerves and mouth infections. 

“At best, people may be wasting their money buying over the counter and online products to whiten teeth. Home whitening kits are likely to take longer and be less effective than treatment from the dentist,” BDA Scientific Adviser Professor Damien Walmsley said.  

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