Teeth whitening is quickly becoming one of the most popular and sought-after cosmetic dental treatments around. Many consumers are now visiting their local dentist for bleaching or laser teeth whitening treatments on a regular basis.
However, as with many beauty trends the rise in demand for teeth whitening has led to the rise in dangerous and illegal alternatives, including the sale of unregulated home whitening kits. We’ve explored five of the most common dangers faced by consumers who take their smile into their own hands.
1. Damage to enamel
Home teeth whitening kits often advertise results in just minutes, and in some cases this is true. However, instant whitening kits can cause irreparable damage to enamel if used frequently.
Unlike professional teeth whitening, home kits sometimes contain chlorine dioxide, which is the same acid used to clean swimming pools. This ingredient delivers a white glow by stripping the stains from the surface of the teeth, but sadly the enamel will often be removed too. This leaves the tooth exposed and can result in unsalvageable damage.
2. Damage to gums
The majority of home teeth whitening kits include hydrogen peroxide, but some contain more than 0.1%. In cases where the chemical concentration is too strong, it’s possible that the process can cause burns to the soft tissue, or even cause irreversible gum recession.
Either form of damage can increase tooth sensitivity and make it uncomfortable to eat or drink, but severe gum recession can also expose the gum and encourage eventual tooth loss.
3. Chemical burns
Many teeth whitening kits require the use of a mouth guard, which helps to contain the chemical gel and prevent spillage. Unfortunately, if a dental professional is not supervising the procedure it’s possible this guard may not fit properly, and some of the gel may leak out onto your mouth or skin.
Any kits containing stronger chemicals could cause severe chemical burns to the skin and gums.
Ill-fitting mouth guards are a common cause of chemical leakage during teeth whitening, but the resulting exposure to hydrogen peroxide can cause both external and internal side effects.
One, particularly concerning internal complication associated with mouth guards, is physical sickness, which is the result of swallowing chemicals during the whitening process.
This problem is exacerbated if a significant amount is ingested, and can lead to burns in the throat, stomach, and even the gut.
5. Mouth infections
Many of the problems caused by home teeth whitening stem from the high chance of chemical burns, and mouth infections are no different.
Chemical burns can quickly and easily leave parts of the mouth and gum exposed, making them vulnerable to the high levels of bacteria living in the mouth.
This problem is significantly more common in consumers who have an ineffective daily dental hygiene routine, due to the excess bacteria found on the tongue or between teeth.
Teeth Whitening Alternatives
If you’re concerned about the dangers associated with home teeth whitening then a visit to your local dentist could be the answer. Professional dentists offer a variety of teeth whitening treatments and tips, but one of the most well-known is professional bleaching.
Unlike home whitening, professional bleaching involves the fitting of a custom-made mouth guard which is created to ensure the gentle chemicals used remain on the teeth and do not leak into the mouth.
A faster alternative is laser teeth whitening, which has become increasingly popular due to its rapid one-hour treatment time.
During laser teeth whitening, bleaching product is painted onto the teeth and then activated by the application of a laser onto the surface of the teeth.
The use of light speeds up the reaction so a colour change of up to six shades can take place in just one hour – faster than even the most efficient of home teeth whitening kits.
Read This Next: Just How Safe are Teeth Whitening Procedures?
Author Bio: Dr. Chig Amin runs a team of experienced dentists who carries out professional teeth whitening procedures and ensures that his patients receive the dental care that meets their needs. You can read about his work and keep up to date by liking Dr. Chig Facebook page.