Teeth Whitening – Are You Gambling With Your Smile?

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A study undertaken by Manchester University last week shockingly revealed that some of the over the counter teeth whitening products that anyone can buy could be having a really detrimental effect on teeth. Not really what people want when they are buying these products. But no new story to dental professionals, who have been saying this for years. So – are you gambling with your teeth?

Teeth Whitening – Are You Gambling With Your Smile?

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening has been a divisive subject since it was first introduced into dentistry. In fact, the percentage of tooth whitening agent was hotly debated and it was even totally banned within the dental profession altogether at one point. Finally, new laws were produced in 2011 to govern how it should be provided.

Illegal Teeth Whitening

Only dental professionals are allowed to provide whitening treatments where the whitening agent is greater than 0.1% Hydrogen Peroxide. So if your local beautician, hairdresser or Facebook contact says that they can provide it, then they are most likely doing it illegally. (Unless an actual dentist, dental therapist or hygienist is providing the treatment.)

These places may say that they have done a course to be taught tooth whitening. But they are STILL ILLEGAL. They are not insured or licensed. If anything goes wrong or there is an emergency you have no comeback. Is that worth it?

Teeth Whitening - smile 1

Damaging Teeth Whitening

Secondly, some of the illegal teeth whitening businesses out there are using dangerous levels of whitening products brought from abroad. Because of the nature of teeth whitening, a lot of damage can be done by using higher levels of the whitening formula. Even dentists themselves aren’t legally allowed to use more than 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. So why risk going to someone who isn’t trained, isn’t fully insured and isn’t legally doing treatment to save money?

Teeth Whitening

And this is where the study from last week is of interest. As over the counter teeth whitening products are only allowed to contain a maximum of 0.1% Hydrogen peroxide, they do not really work with this concentration. So manufacturers have been trying to get around the whitening laws by using other ingredients.

Ingredients such as

  • Sodium Chlorite
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Carbonate Peroxides
  • EDTA

In some cases these ingredients can be really acidic. The way that they whiten teeth is by removing the outer surface of the tooth itself. Which is great for the first few uses, as this can remove stains. But over time the whiter enamel layer of the tooth is eroded. And the inner layer of the tooth, dentine, is exposed.

The dentine is yellower. And is very sensitive. In fact, over time a great deal of damage can be done. As the dentine layer is also a lot softer than its enamel coating. Resulting in worn and yellow looking teeth. Not what the consumer wanted.

Safe Teeth Whitening

Really, the only safe way to have teeth whitening is to visit a dental professional and get good advice. Usually it is advised not to repeat a course of teeth whitening within the same year. But do speak to your own dentist. They are the experts and they are fully trained.

 

Don’t gamble with your teeth. See your dentist regularly. Use a fluoride toothpaste. And a good electric toothbrush such as an Oral B Smart 5 5000 CrossAction.

Why not pin me for later?

Teeth Whitening

 

 

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25 Replies to “Teeth Whitening – Are You Gambling With Your Smile?”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I am pretty sure that charcoal and oil pulling aren’t that useful either!

      Reply
      1. Anita Faulkner - Brazen Mummy Writes says:

        This is fascinating and actually quite scary. I’ve always wondered about teeth whitening as my teeth have never been a lovely white colour, but then I’d probably ruin it by drinking too much coffee anyway! Thanks for the info. #twinklytuesday

        Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      You would be amazed at how many people do go to these unlicensed places though!

      Reply
  1. Fran Jones says:

    It’s frightening how many unlicensed practitioners there are that do fillers, whitening and botox etc. I have whitened my teeth but that was all through the dentist and it made them so sensitive, although they were whiter. Sometimes cutting corners and going for the cheap option just isn’t worth it! #triumphanttales

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It is scary how many people want to save a bit of cash so go to an unlicensed treatment outlet. Not worth it!

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It can be really sensitive. Even when the professionals do it, but they do have methods to help if it is!

      Reply
  2. Isabel says:

    I drink a lot of tea (and sometimes red wine), all reasons why my teeth are yellow. I had them whitened before by a dentist but really it didn’t make much of a difference. So I’ve just resigned to the fact that I’ll never have white teeth and that’s that. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Trouble is, whitening can often make these issues worse. I had really strong peroxide used (when it was legal to do so) and my teeth now got black with red wine. And they were mega sensitive.

      Reply
  3. Fiona Anderson says:

    I’ve been considering professional teeth whiting for some time but often wondered what damage it actually caused in the long run. I found your post so informative on this, thank you! #dreamteam

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Fiona. I think the main thing to take away is even Dentists don’t know what long term effects whitening will have on teeth, which is why the 6% peroxide limit was set in the first place.

      Reply
  4. Anita Faulkner - Brazen Mummy Writes says:

    This is fascinating and actually quite scary. I’ve always wondered about teeth whitening as my teeth have never been a lovely white colour, but then I’d probably ruin it by drinking too much coffee anyway! Thanks for the info. #twinklytuesday

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It’s not something you want to mess with is it? But it is amazing the number of people who do.

      Reply
  5. loopyloulaura says:

    I think tea, coffee and wine plus the whiteness of celeb smiles make us feel more worried about our teeth and likely to want a solution. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Certainly as most things there has become a fashion to have very white teeth. What most ordinary people fail to realise is how much airbrushing and whitening editing goes on for magazines!

      Reply
  6. Jaki says:

    What an incredibly important post – so much info in here that everyone needs to know!! Thanks for joining us – #TriumphantTales

    Reply
  7. Kirsty says:

    Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam I have recently had my teeth whitened. I guess even with a dentist we don’t know the long term potential issues. I am probably too vain for my own good 😉

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      This is why the 6% limit came into being because we really do not know the long term effect.

      Reply

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