December 20, 2012

Dangers of Teeth Whitening

Every day, society is confronted with images of celebrities.
Striving to be like their idols, people go on diets, get plastic surgery and bleach their teeth to such extremes that it seems like their smiles glow in the dark.
Most people understand the risks associates with plastic surgery and dieting, but teeth whitening is seen as harmless.

At-home bleaching kits are all the rage, not only because they are cheap, but also because the whitening can be done in the privacy of a person’s home.
However, teeth bleaching can be incredibly damaging.

In an article on ABC Local’s website, Doctor Bobbi Stanley is quoted as saying, "Some of these over the counter products have not been tested and there are lawsuits that are pending for materials that have actually caused gum trauma or caused the tooth to actually dissolve."
Bleaching causes teeth to be more porous. This is one reason people are discouraged from consuming dark colored drinks since it stains teeth.

Many people find that if they stop bleaching, their teeth eventually regress to a shade worse than it was before they started because the bleach makes our enamel more porous.
Some people are tricked into thinking that going to a dentist to get the procedure done is safer, but ultimately, bleaching is bleaching.

The American Dental Association said in a report that bleaching is generally safe when done under the guidance of a professional, but did say that:

“Safety concerns relate to the potential toxicological effects of free radicals produced by the peroxides used in bleaching products. Free radicals are known to be capable of reacting with proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, causing cellular damage. Because of the potential of hydrogen peroxide to interact with DNA, concerns with carcinogenicity and co-carcinogenicity of hydrogen peroxide have been raised, although these concerns so far have not been substantiated through research.”

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent and can cause stomach problems, gum soreness, and when teeth are bleached too often, can create the illusion of having translucent or grayish teeth.
Continuous research about this topic is being conducted and although a link between bleaching and the exposure to harmful free radicals has not been confirmed, it should still be taken into consideration prior to whitening.


  1. As a semi-retired dentist ( 43 years in practice) I never "pushed" bleaching in my practice. When it first came out, I took some courses and quickly realized that the very reasons cited above-free radicals- are dangerous. Sutdies showed that in about a half hour, the peroxide placed on the labial (front) surface of a tooth, showed up on the inner (tongue) side of the tooth. Thus, the chemicals had to pass through the soft "nerve" (dental pulp) tissues at the center of the tooth. That pulpal tissue is connected via tiny bllod vessels with the general circulation. That means the free radicals travel throughout the body. Do they cause cancer? Why take the chance. If you must whiten your teeth, there are other ways, albeit probably more expensive. But talk to your dentist about it.

  2. My family has been brushing with 3% food grade peroxide and baking soda. We have eliminated cavities, gum disease and dentists from our mouths.

  3. I don't believe peroxide itself is a problem, so long as it's un-adulterated.
    Peroxide is an activated form of oxygen, and acts to purify the body.
    It's got nothing to do with chlorine bleach, which is a known carcinagen, so
    don't confuse the two.

  4. Studies from the American Medical Ass. actually shows peroxide breaks down healthy tissue.

  5. I discovered, quite accidentally, that eating an apple every day naturally whitens the teeth.