Hidden Dangers of Teeth WhiteningIn our continual quest to look our best and rollback the effects of aging, we sometimes use “questionable” methods to achieve the looks we desire, including whitening our teeth!
Because of the sheer number of teeth whitening products available on the market, and the fact that the costs are no longer prohibitive to many because they are far lower than what a dentist would charge, many women are using them, and using them far more often. The results? Often severe pain, increased teeth sensitivity, uneven whitening and gum damage. In some cases, a bluish translucent color results at the edges of the teeth from overuse – and once there, it never goes away!
Billions are spent each year on teeth whitening products; much of it spent on do-it-yourself home kits. Teeth whitening procedures are the most often requested services in dental offices, particularly in patients ages 40 – 60.
A recent survey was conducted among people who use an over-the-counter whiting gel that contained 15% carbamide peroxide, the primary bleaching agent used in these products. Of the 100 people surveyed, more than half reported experiencing mild to moderate teeth sensitivity. And 25% of them experienced sharp pains in their teeth, a condition called “zingers” by dentists.
Often the pursuit of the perfect teeth leads to overuse and abuse of these whitening products. Patients have become obsessive and addictive in their quest for the perfect smile, without realizing the dangers inherent in the overuse of such bleaching chemicals. While most dentists recommend over-the-counter treatment no more than every 4–6 months, many people have made tooth-whitening part of their daily hygiene routine, like brushing their teeth or shaving! There is even a name for addicted teeth bleachers – bleachorexics!
The good news is, if you are prudent with teeth whitening, follow package directions for over-the-counter bleaching agents, and see your dentist regularly to check on any side effects, before they become an issue, you can flash those pearly whites with confidence! Of course, a healthy diet combined with good oral hygiene and regular dental care are natural methods of keeping your teeth healthy – and healthy looking, too!