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Teeth Whitening Dangers?

Aug 10, 2012
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Last Updated 8/10/2012 - Teeth whitening is the best thing to have happened for people with stained and discolored teeth. People have been able to make their teeth whiter by taking advantage of the various teeth whitening products and teeth whitening methods available. However, like all good things, teeth whitening has its own set of disadvantages. People who have opted for tooth whitening have experienced different complications that range from mild irritations to severe pain.

In a craze for getting that flashy Hollywood style smile, the majority of people rush into teeth bleaching without realizing if there are repercussions. Although it isnít too dangerious, teeth bleaching can cause problems. People who use various kinds of home remedies for teeth whitening may incur indirect effects to tooth enamel and gums. When people use home remedies, they usually rely on acidic properties of certain fruits. This acid can deteriorate your teeth's enamel and make a person's smile worse than ever.

In regards to over the counter and dental whitening products, prolonged bleaching can lead to severe irritation in the teeth and gums. Teeth whitening products make use of chemicals like Hydrogen Peroxide that need to be used in the right concentration and right quantities to have the desired effects. People who use tooth whitening products at home do not pay much attention to their correct usage. Teeth whitening, like any other treatment or surgery, needs to be done under the supervision of an expert. A dentist is the right person to consult regarding this subject. If done properly, which requires consulting a dental expert, teeth whitening is harmless. It is only when people buy teeth whitening products over the counter and use them without following the proper directions that it is dangerous.

First and foremost, the chemicals that the tooth whitening products use like hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation to the delicate and soft tissues in your mouth. When teeth bleaching is done in a dentistís office, the dentist takes care of this by placing a dental dam to prevent the chemicals from getting in contact with anything besides the teeth. Many people have reported a prolonged and increased sensitivity in their teeth to hot and cold things like coffee or colas. Gum irritation is not uncommon. There is a probability of the teeth whitening product being ingested by the patients, causing nausea, vomiting or a burning sensation.

Recently, there has been talk about a study done in Georgetown University, which says hydrogen peroxide may cause tongue cancer. This study is based on the results of two people in their 20ís getting cancer. It is important to note that the study looked at only 19 people who used teeth whiteners. Researchers theorize that when hydrogen peroxide in the gel leaks from trays it releases cancer-causing "free radical" cells, which may have caused the tongue cancer.

However, Dr. Gerard Kugel, from Tufts Dental School says:

It's been looked at many times over the years in animal studies and in human retrospective studies and there is no evidence of any link between peroxide and oral cancer. We've bleached millions of people, I mean it's almost amazing how many people whiten their teeth with so few problems related to it in contrast to other things we do in dentistry or medicine. To me, it's one of the safest things we do at this time in dentistry. 

Remember, if you are using over the counter teeth whitening products, follow the directions, do not over-use, and use a reputable company.

tags: teeth whitening problems , teeth whitening pain

Reviewed by Dr. Alan Zweig
Dr. Alan Zweig runs a private dental practice in Beverly Hills, CA. With over 30 years of experience in cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Alan Zweig is a teeth whitening veteran. Heís been trusted by major celebrities, business leaders, and patients from over six different continents.

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