Most people are looking to make their pearly whites a little pearlier; but before you start breaking out the whitening products, you may want to consider the negative effects that dentists have noticed.
Tooth whiteners contain chemicals that remove stains and discoloration, making teeth look whiter. However, the chemicals used in many products also damage your tooth enamel, leaving your teeth open to tooth decay and, ironically, more susceptible to further discoloration.
photo by Jeremy Jenum
Most whiteners contain hydrogen peroxide, which works by penetrating the enamel and reacting with the material on the tooth that’s causing the discoloration. However, the maximum level of hydrogen peroxide permitted in whitening products isn’t enough to make a significant, long-term difference; so you need to keep using them. Extended use could erode your tooth enamel and even cause chemical burns on your gums.
In addition, discolored teeth could be a sign of an underlying dental problem; so instead of getting the treatment you need, the problem just gets covered up and becomes more severe.
Before you use tooth whitening products, it’s important to see a dentist to make sure your teeth are healthy. Be sure to tell your dentists about your use of these products so they can be on the look-out for any problems.
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