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Why Conventional Teeth Bleaching Is Harmful

Dangers in using Harsh Peroxides and Powerful Lasers to whiten your teeth: All current "bleaching" products, whether purchased in a store or used by your dentist, utilize various concentrations of Hydrogen Peroxide to make your teeth white. Even "Light Enhanced Bleaching" with lasers and other types of curing lights, are bound to use peroxides to create the necessary oxidation. (The light energy just makes the harsh peroxides penetrate deeper towards your nerve tissue.) Here's how Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide products can damage your teeth and/or gums: (Carbamide peroxide or carbomer is a hydrogen peroxide precursor, which after contacting even a small amount of water (such as in your saliva), turns into urea and hydrogen peroxide.

Urea is realted to uric acid, which is found in the ailment "gout". Tooth Sensitivity: Enamel is made up of inorganic crystals known as hydroxyapatite. Only 5% of enamel contains organic material, in the form of collagen. Dentin (the next layer, which also protects the nerve tissue in the pulp), contains up to 20% of organic material. When dentin is viewed through a microscope, one notices that it is made up of small "dentinal tubules".

When peroxide-based oxidizing agents are used, a chemical reaction takes place which allows fluids to move through these tubules directly towards the nerve endings in the pulp, creating a high degree of sensitivity to cold, heat, and even very sweet foods. Most of these commercial products also contain "carriers" for the peroxide component, which may include some or all of the following: propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), or glycerin(e).

These chemicals, in conjunction with the peroxide of choice, add to the sensitivity problem. Free Radicals: It is well known to those who are familiar with oxidizing agents that Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) can easily be broken down to Hydroxyl (OH-) and per Hydroxyl radicals. Free Radicals are highly reactive molecules that have been associated with the formation of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. Calcium Loss and Deterioration of Tooth Enamel: Continued exposure to peroxide whitening compounds, especially when exposed to acidic solutions (which can occur simply by drinking a soda or fruit juice) can cause demineralization of tooth enamel. Inevitably this can lead to tooth decay and/or increased sensitivity.

Digestion of Peroxide Solutions: It is very common, especially in commercially-available home bleaching kits, that the peroxide solutions leak out of the pre-formed dental trays, and then become digested by the user. (see Free Radicals above).

Permanent Nerve Damage and Tooth Loss: It is possible for the user to experience nerve damage to the tooth upon continued long-term use of these peroxide whitening agents. This takes place when the peroxide agents penetrate healthy enamel and dentin and flow directly to the pulp chamber. Secondly, users who have gum recession are very susceptible to this type of damage because there is no enamel to protect the exposed root surface, which is made of softer cementum.Treatments of choice to "repair" this problem are root canal or tooth extraction.

Europe and Asia Forbid the use of Peroxides for Tooth Whitening: Why does the US continue to allow these harsh chemicals? The European Community Cosmetic Directive (1999) has established an upper limit for peroxides in oral products at 0.1% by weight. (This level would never create any tooth whitening). The US on the other hand allows 30 times that concentration!! (3.0% by weight). Other countries, such as China and Japan no longer allow any of these damaging products into their country.