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Home Teeth-Whitening Kits: Are They Safe?
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Home Teeth-Whitening Kits: Are They Safe?

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Highlights:
  • Hydrogen peroxide chemical penetrates the layers of the teeth to remove compounds causing discoloration
  • But excess concentration of the chemical in teeth whiteners available online may lead to enamel breakdown, gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.
  • So, it is necessary to monitor the safety of online teeth whiteners

Tooth discoloration is abnormal tooth color, hue or translucency either due to the accumulation of stains on the tooth surface or absorption of pigment particles into the tooth structure.

Though discoloration of teeth is harmless, it is one of the most common cosmetic concern for seeking dental care. Various treatments are available, but over-the-counter teeth whitening products available online are the cheapest and most convenient method of removing stains from teeth at the comfort of your home.

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Hydrogen peroxide is a common and effective active ingredient in many commercial teeth whitening products.

Teeth whitening kits containing peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, act as bleaching agents to change the color of the teeth by penetrating the layers of the teeth to remove compounds that cause discoloration.
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The concentration of hydrogen peroxide in store-bought teeth whitening kits can be as high as 10% but whitening treatments offered by dentists have hydrogen peroxide concentrations of up to 40%.

The not-for-profit consumer organization investigated 36 teeth whiteners purchased from online marketplaces and found that 21 of them had 10 times more than the legal amount of hydrogen peroxide (0.1%) permitted for home use in teeth whitening kits and the six most dangerous whiteners had more than a hundred times too much hydrogen peroxide to be legally sold.

Though these dangerous products have been removed from online sellers, these findings raise doubts regarding checks and monitoring carried out by online marketplaces.

Even the British Dental Association (BDA) wants the Office of Product Safety (OPSS) to address these gaps in legal responsibilities as part of its review of product safety and ensure marketplaces remove illegal products from sale as quickly as possible and that they do not reappear.

As higher concentrations of peroxide may lead to more side effects, such as enamel breakdown, tooth sensitivity and gum irritation BDA advises on the law that relates to the use of hydrogen peroxide by dentists as well as by hygienists and therapists on the prescription of a dentist and in products sold directly to the public.

Other simple ways to naturally whiten teeth include:
  • Practice oil pulling
  • Brush with baking soda, activated charcoal, and kaolin clay
  • Limit staining foods and beverages
  • Citric acid found in some citrus fruit peels (lemon, oranges) will help whiten the teeth
  • Using apple cider vinegar as mouthwash
These methods work by gently removing surface stains on your teeth but no studies have evaluated their effectiveness and they have not been tested for side effects.

Whitening treatments offered by dentists are stronger and effective than the natural remedies for severe tooth discoloration.

Overuse of any whitening product can damage your teeth. So, always consult with dentist about personalized best treatment options for effective teeth whitening.

References:
  1. Teeth Whitening - (https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/teeth-whitening)
  2. Don't buy teeth whitening products from online marketplaces - (https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/05/dont-buy-teeth-whitening-products-from-online-marketplaces/)


Source: Medindia

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